Regional Australia's population has officially grown by more than the capital cities for the first time since the drought year of 1981.
The release of the official numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics certifies the pandemic-induced escape to the country.
Regional Australia's grew by 70,900 people during 2020-21, in contrast to a decline of 26,000 for the capital cities.
That's a boost to the country of the population equivalent of a Bundaberg in Queensland.
ABS director of demography Beidar Cho said: "Regional New South Wales (up 26,800) and regional Queensland (24,100) led the way in terms of population growth over 2020-21, with regional Victoria (15,700) also increasing."
In contrast, Melbourne declined by 60,500 people and Sydney by 5200.
In 2020-21, the overall decrease of 26,000 reflects increases in four capital cities (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra) offset by declines in the other four.
This was the first overall population decline for the capitals ever recorded by the ABS.
A recent report said only a shortage of housing is going to slow the trend.
It has been well recorded now the impact of city-wide lockdowns and the ability to work from home led many city residents to consider the country as offering a better lifestyle choice.
MORE READING: Aussies still own the lion's share of agriculture.
International border closures also closed the door to migration to the cities.
Despite Sydney and Melbourne having overall population losses, the largest growth areas in the country were outer-suburban areas within these two capitals where population growth was driven by net internal migration gains.
Riverstone - Marsden Park in Sydney's outer north-west grew by 7400 people over 2020-21, while Cranbourne East in Melbourne's south-east grew by 5000.
In Queensland the hotspot was Pimpama, South Australia's focus was on Munno Para West - Angle Vale, Western Australia looked to Ellenbrook and Tasmania to Rokeby.
Inner city populations declined the most over 2020-21.
The largest declining area was inner Melbourne, whose population decreased by 5900, while Sydney - Haymarket - The Rocks declined by 1700.
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