Australia’s population continues to grow strongly
The ABS has just released their quarterly update on population growth, Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0). What does it show?
This is the September quarter update. We normally look at population change in financial years, so this update adds the first quarter of the 2013/14 financial year.
Australia’s population grew by 100,500 people in the September quarter last year, and 405,400 on the same time the previous year. This represents a growth rate of 1.8%, the same as shown in the previous quarter.
This is still near record growth in absolute terms – only the 2008 and 2009 years were higher, and these years combined with the last 2 are the only times Australia’s growth has ever exceeded 400,000 per year. Of course in percentage terms, growth during the 1850s gold rush and post WWII migration were significantly higher but we had a smaller population then so in absolute terms it’s lower at the moment.
About 40% of growth (164,000) is due to natural increase (the excess of births over deaths), while the remainder (241,000) is due to net overseas migration (excess of arrivals over departures). See my previous blog for a breakdown on how asylum seeker arrivals affect this (they don’t).
One interesting trend we’ve been watching for a while is the difference between building growth and population growth. There has long been a disconnect between the two, with the 2008-9 peak in population growth still having about 150-160,000 dwellings built per year. However preliminary data we have for the 2013-14 financial year to date suggests a large increase in building – we may be headed for 200,000 dwellings being built in 2013-14, as we already have 100,000 in the first 6 months. This would mean that building is playing catch-up with population growth and we may go back to having a decline in average household size after the next Census.
Western Australia continues to grow much faster than any other state in percentage terms, with 3.1% growth in the year ended September 2013.
However growth has slowed a little in WA and QLD in the last year, and picked up a little in VIC and NSW.
Victoria again added more people than any other state, though it’s only 2,000 people more than NSW. There is no likelyhood that Victoria’s population will overtake NSW in the forseeable future, but a very real chance that Melbourne will overtake Sydney. We’ll get an update on this shortly, with the release of Regional Population Growth (3218.0), and there will be several blogs on this coming shortly.
One factor which the local media here in Melbourne have picked up on is the large amount of interstate migration now coming to Victoria.
While often in the past more people have left Victoria than entered, Victoria’s net interstate migration is now consistently and increasingly positive, and has been for the past 6 years. In the year ended September, there was a net gain of 6,900 people from interstate – and for the first time in living memory, this is HIGHER than the interstate migration gain to Queensland (6,700). Queensland in the last 2 decades has averaged 15-20,000 net interstate migrants a year, so this has slowed right off.
Nevertheless, interstate migration is only a minor proportion (6%) of overall population growth in Victoria. As it always does, NSW lost migrants interstate (about -12,000), along with SA (-3,900) and Tas (-1,800), while WA gained about the same number as Victoria (6,800) and an increasing share of overseas migration.
Shortly, we get an update on local population growth by LGA, and urban area. Stay tuned!
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