SYDNEY, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Regional migration in Australia is at a five-year high with younger people setting the trend, according to data released on Thursday from one of the nation's leading banks and a prominent think tank.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and the Regional Australia Institute (RAI)'s Regional Movers Index (RMI) recorded a 16.6 percent jump in the number of people moving away from the capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne during the first three months of this year.
RAI chief executive Liz Ritchie said the influx of "Millennials" (aged 24 to 40) and "Gen-Xers" (aged 40 to 56) were welcome additions to the countryside as they "often bring with them business skills to grow the local community, as well as families who integrate into the local school system and community sporting activities".
Ritchie said regional living was proving especially appealing to growing families seeking "bigger living spaces at a cheaper cost".
CBA Executive General Manager of Regional and Agribusiness Paul Fowler said regional areas were providing strong job opportunities for people aged in those demographics.
"Regional Australia is thriving, fuelled by strong investment across a broad range of industries including agriculture, manufacturing, retail and hospitality," Fowler said.
"There are labor shortages in many parts of regional Australia and businesses are attracting skilled and unskilled workers to serve growing demand for products and services," he said.
Fowler said rural communities, such as Moorabool in the state of Victoria and the Western Downs in the state of Queensland, were among the most popular destinations with growth rates of more than 55 percent.
He said Millennials made up the biggest proportion of people moving to Moorabool, and it also attracted a relatively high proportion of Gen-Xers at 24 percent.
Western Downs attracted a relatively large share of "Gen Alpha" (aged 24 and under), comprising 19 percent along with "Baby Boomers" (aged 56 to 75), who made up 12 percent of new arrivals.
Other popular destinations for people leaving the capital cities include the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Geelong in Victoria and Wollongong and Newcastle in NSW. ■