Immigrants in the country: torturing the numbers

Statisticians have an expression: torture the data until they confess.  Tickle tables of census results and you are likely to reveal deeper or more nuanced truths.

In my first post on immigrants in regional Australia I showed that the proportion of people who were born overseas is very different in capital cities than it is outside.  Before I got into too much more analysis of rural immigrants and their communities, I wanted to make sure that the difference was not simply due to international students at universities and private institutions, which are almost exclusively located in capital cities.

So I tickled the data a little to learn the truth.  The table below is crude: not all students born overseas are in Australia only to study. Still, the table illustrates the point that even if you take out all foreign born students, the proportion of immigrants in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin are still two or more times higher than elsewhere in the state/territory.  In Perth and Adelaide the proportion was a third to 40%.

 

Foreign born as a per cent of all usual residents

Foreign born who are not students as a per cent of all usual residents

Greater Sydney

40%

34%

Rest of NSW

16%

15%

Greater Melbourne

37%

31%

Rest of Vic.

16%

14%

Greater Brisbane

30%

24%

Rest of Qld

23%

20%

Greater Adelaide

30%

25%

Rest of SA

16%

15%

Greater Perth

40%

34%

Rest of WA

26%

23%

Greater Hobart

18%

15%

Rest of Tas.

15%

14%

Greater Darwin

33%

28%

Rest of NT

16%

14%

 

Data come from the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s 2011 Census generated with the excellent TableBuilders Pro program on the ABS website.

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