Population of Australia: 23 Million, 23 April, 2013
Australia’s population growth has accelerated in recent months and will reach the population milestone of 23 million earlier than expected. With twice as many births as deaths, and with overseas migration arrivals having increased by 13.8% in a year, Australia is now growing by 1,048 people per day.
ased on these current growth trends, Australia will hit 23 million at 9:57pm (AEST) on Tuesday 23 April 2013.
Australia’s population reached 11.5 million in 1966 and so it has taken less than 47 years to double to 23 million. The global population doubled at a slightly faster rate, hitting 3.5 billion in 1968 and reaching 7 billion in late 2011, a period of just over 43 years.
The latest demographic data from the ABS shows that Australia’s national population growth rate has increased from 1.6% to 1.7% per year. This is above that of the world (1.1%), well above China (0.5%), UK (0.6%), USA (0.9%) and even above countries that traditionally had high birth rates such as Vietnam (1.1%), India (1.4%) and Malaysia (1.6%).
While an annual population growth rate of 1.7% doesn’t sound huge, it is well above the forecast of a decade ago (around 1%) and equates to a population increase equivalent to one new Canberra or three new Darwin’s per year.
Australia’s total fertility rate has risen each year over the last 3 years and is now 1.9. The total number of births continues to set new records and in the last 12 months has exceeded 300,000 for the first time ever (303,600).
While the birth rate has been growing, the death rate has been declining. The Standardised Death Rate (deaths per 1,000 population) has fallen to 5.59 (although the Individualised Death Rate is still 100%!)
While total annual births exceed 300,000, annual deaths number 149,100.
Permanent overseas arrivals are expected to break the half-million mark this year, falling just short of this at 488,100 in the last 12 months. Permanent departures rose slightly to 260,100 giving a Net Overseas Migration figure of 228,000, an increase of almost one-third (32.2%) on the previous year.
The proportion of population growth contributed by migration has increased in a year from 54% to 60% and the proportion from natural increase has declined from 46% to 40%.
In just two decades Australia’s median age has increased nearly 5 years (from 32.7 to 37.5 today).
In the last 5 years the proportion of our population aged under 20 has declined by a percentage point to be just 1 in 4 Australians (25%) while the proportion aged over 60 has increased by a similar amount to be 1 in 5 (20%). Based on these current demographic trends, by 2028, for the first time in Australia’s history there will be more people aged over 60 than aged under 20.
The fastest growing state continues to be Western Australia, with a growth rate that has increased from 3.3% to 3.4% while Tasmania has Australia’s lowest population growth rate, which has contracted again to 0.1%.
The population of Tasmania increased by just 500 people in the last year while WA is now growing by more than 1,500 people per week!
Victoria currently has the highest numerical growth, having increased by 94,800 in the last year ( or 1,823 people per week), just ahead of Queensland at 91,400 and NSW at 86,000.
Analysis of interstate migration data shows that Queensland continues to be Australia’s most loved state, with arrivals from other states and territories into Queensland exceeding 1,700 per week, a total of 88,866 last year, ahead of NSW with 79,972. However NSW had the highest departures to other states, with almost 1,900 people per week seeking a better life interstate (98,350 in a year).
NSW performed the worst nationally with a net loss of 18,378 to other states, while Queensland performed best with a net gain of 11,796 from other states. The three other states with a net loss were Tasmania (2,552), South Australia (2,357) and the Northern Territory (1,492).
Queensland was the No. 1 destination of three states (NSW, WA and NT) and NSW was also top for three (Victoria, Qld and ACT) ahead of Victoria’s two (SA and Tas.).
As 60% of Australia’s growth comes from net overseas migration, the 23 millionth is statistically most likely to be a permanent overseas arrival. The number one source country for permanent arrivals into Australia currently is the United Kingdom, accounting for 1 in 5 arrivals. Almost two thirds of permanent arrivals (63%) come under work visa categories, compared to just under a third (30%) on family visas, and 7% on humanitarian visas. And of the working arrivals, they are more likely to be male, and aged in their 20’s and 30’s.
Therefore, based on the current demographic probabilities, our 23 millionth is most likely to be a young male Briton named Chris (the UK’s most popular boys name in the early 1980’s)!
However births are setting new records and at more than 300,000 are, in total numbers, a greater source of growth than net migration. Therefore the 23 millionth from a numerical perspective is most likely to be a baby, and is more likely to be a boy than a girl (there are 105 males born for every 100 females in Australia) named Jack (the current most popular baby boy’s name) born to a 31 year old mother and a 33 year old father (the median age of all parents has been rising) in Western Sydney (the fastest growing area of our largest city).
Australia has been growing by a million people roughly every two and a half years. Even if the population growth rate stays the same, the speed of adding each new million will accelerate as the population base increases (for example our current birth rate of 1.9 is producing record birth numbers, even though in 1961 we had a birth rate of 3.5- because our population today is more than twice as large as it was then.) Even allowing for a slight slowing of the population growth rate, Australia’s population will exceed 40 million in the late 2050’s although if the growth rate continues its current strength, this milestone could easily be reached by the mid 2050’s.
Sources: ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, ABS Population Clock, McCrindle Research.