Thursday, 30 July, 2015


Why do people leave the Hunter and what brings them home again? In a recent HUNTERPulse survey, we asked Hunter householders who had left the Hunter and returned why and compared the 2015 results to 2010.

Some things stayed the same between the years:

Hunter people stay - only about one-third (36%) of people born in Hunter have ever lived outside the Region.

They don’t stay away long - over half of those who moved away only lived outside the Hunter for 5 years or less (slightly longer in 2015 than 2010, but not significantly more).

Half of those who left moved for work reasons, the other half for a variety of other reasons.

But the biggest change was that work is now significantly more common as the reason for returning to the Hunter (30% of returnees in 2015 compared with 10% in 2010), while family ties and returning ‘home’ has become relatively less common (38% in 2015 compared with 51% in 2010), although it is still the number one reason.

We also found four key changes over the past five years in the impact of changed labour market conditions on those people coming to the Hunter.

  • There were slightly fewer ‘immigrants’ in 2015 – a little over one-third in 2010 and 2015
  • Those who originally came from outside the Hunter have lived here over 20 years (on average) in 2015, just under 15 years on average in 2010. This is not statistically significant but together with other data reflects the influx of people during the mining boom and relatively fewer of them now.
  • Looking for work is now very much the strongest reason to have moved to the Hunter, whereas in 2010 it was only just stronger than better lifestyle here, followed by joining spouse or partner.
  • Among those who were born outside the Hunter, in 2015 96 per cent have come here and stayed, whereas in 2010 it was a second or more occasion of living here for 15 per cent (significant decrease) – again likely a reflection of the mobile construction/mining workforce and changes in the labour market.

In 2015 only, we asked people whether they are considering moving away from the Hunter Region over the next 12 months… While overall only 7 per cent said ‘yes’, there was a significant difference between those aged 18-35 (20%) and those over 35 (around 3%).

Not surprisingly, the proportion was higher among those who are working than those not in the labour force. And, of course, the main reason is for work (100% of the 25-34s).

Keep an eye on our monthly news to keep your finger on our HUNTERpulse results.