Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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Assoc. Prof Andrew Taylor

Demographer, Northern Institute

Assoc. Prof Andrew Taylor


Australia’s COVID-19 Population ‘Tree Change’: Myth, reality, opportunity or challenge?

During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been widespread media reporting of an ‘exodus’ from Australia’s largest cities and a surge of migration to regional areas.

The pandemic ‘tree change’ is purported to have driven rapid rises in population, house prices and rents in some regional areas during 2020-21. But how different is this to what transpired before the pandemic? Who is gaining most and who is missing out? In this presentation I examine detailed migration data to identify hotspots for population growth during the pandemic and provide some thoughts on what the national picture might mean for our regions in terms of longer-term opportunities and challenges.


Andrew is a demographer at Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute. He researches the causes and consequences of population change in northern regions. Andrew sits on national demographic expert advisory groups with the Centre for Population and Australian Bureau of Statistics.