Skip to main content

As the cost-of-living bites, city dwellers consider a move to regional Australia 

11 May 2023

Younger Australians optimistic by the extensive job opportunities and fast-tracked career growth regional Australia has to offer.

Despite unprecedented mass population growth in the regions over the past three years, new research commissioned by the Regional Australia Institute shows one in five metropolitan Australians are wanting to make the move to regional Australia as a solution. 

Regional Australia grew by 70,000 people in 2020-2021 due to changing migrations patterns caused by the pandemic. In 2023, regional migration is up 16% on pre-pandemic levels, despite a small uptick of regional Australians returning to the cities.

According to the study, which surveyed more than 1000 residents in major capital cities, the top three reasons for Aussies wanting to leave the city were to reduce the cost of living, avoid traffic, and minimise stress. 

Meanwhile, a sense of space, affordability and improved overall well-being were cited as the main factors attracting city-dwellers to regional Australia.  

The data also revealed shifting attitudes towards regional job opportunities, with over a third (35 per cent) viewing salary prospects in the regions on par with the major capital cities.  

Younger Australians, aged 18-29 years, were the most optimistic about regional job prospects with nearly half recognising the plethora of professional, skilled and entry-level jobs on offer.  

With commuting no longer, a major factor and flexible working arrangements more common, nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed said their ability to work from home has further fuelled the appetite for a move to the regions. However, over half (55 per cent) said they wanted to remain within a two-hour drive of their current city home. 

Regional Australia Institute CEO Liz Ritche says regional centres are prepped and primed for Aussies considering the move.  

“During the pandemic we saw thousands of Australians make the ‘move to more’, trading the hustle and bustle of the city for a life in the regions,” Ms Ritchie said. 

“People are realising a move to regional Australia doesn’t mean compromising your career, income or lifestyle. There are well-paying, professional, skilled and entry-level jobs waiting to be filled in country areas. 

“From Toowoomba to Tamworth, Wollongong to Warrnambool, there are dozens of dynamic regional centres ready to welcome city folk with open arms. There’s never been a better time to move to more.” 

Steven Wright, Practice Manager for NSW Legal Aid, recently moved from Sydney to Broken Hill and says the decision to ‘go bush’ has dramatically progressed his career.   

“The career progression has been incredible. Out here in Broken Hill, I’ve been given more responsibilities and been exposed to greater challenges,” said Mr Wright. 

“The shared experience of living in a remote town connects people in a way that’s incredibly special.  

I wouldn’t change it for the world.” 

To be inspired by the stories of Steven and other Aussies who’ve #MadeTheMove to regional Australia, visit the Regional Australia Institute’s Move to More website  

For media enquiries contact:
Lydia Bilton 
Ph: 0466 624 420
E: [email protected]

Madeleine Hanley
Ph: 0423 366 918
E: [email protected]