3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016-17 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/04/2018   
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MEDIA RELEASE
24 April 2018
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
What's driving population growth in Australia's cities?

For the first time on record, Sydney’s population grew by more than 100,000 people in one year, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Sydney’s population hit 5.1 million at June 2017, an increase of 101,600 people (2 per cent) since June 2016.

But it was Melbourne that recorded the largest - and fastest growth - of Australia’s capital cities in 2016-17, increasing by 125,400 (2.7 per cent) to reach 4.9 million.

Together, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane accounted for over 70 per cent of Australia’s population growth in 2016-17.

Darwin, Adelaide and Perth on the other hand experienced relatively low rates of population growth, each at 1 per cent or less.

ABS Demography Director Anthony Grubb said that the latest population estimates were the first to include data on the components driving population change in Australia's capital cities and regions – natural increase (births minus deaths), internal and overseas migration.

“It is now possible to not only see how much population is changing in an area, but to understand why this change is occurring”, he said.

In Melbourne, net overseas migration was the major contributor to population growth, adding 80,000 people in 2016-17 (64 per cent of total population change). Natural increase contributed 29 per cent, while net internal migration accounted for 7.3 per cent of population growth.

Net overseas migration was also the major contributor to Sydney's population growth (84,700 people) although, unlike Melbourne, the Harbour City experienced a net internal migration loss (-18,100 people) in 2016-17, meaning more people left Sydney for other parts of Australia than arrived. Sydney lost most people to other parts of New South Wales (40,000 people) and Melbourne (14, 400).

In Brisbane and Hobart, the relative contribution of each component of population change was more even, while in Perth and the Australian Capital Territory, natural increase was the major contributor to growth.

In Adelaide and Darwin, population gains from natural increase were offset by net internal migration losses, so growth in both cities corresponded closely to the gains from net overseas migration.


Population
Natural increase
Net internal migration
Net overseas migration
Population change
June 2017
2016-17
2016-17
2016-17
2016-17
Capital City
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.

Sydney
5 131 326
34 994
-18 120
84 684
101 558
Melbourne
4 850 740
36 284
9 166
79 974
125 424
Brisbane
2 408 223
17 961
12 023
17 998
47 982
Adelaide
1 333 927
5 507
-5 469
9 610
9 648
Perth
2 043 138
16 326
-6 885
11 653
21 094
Hobart
226 884
703
875
844
2 422
Darwin
146 612
1 877
-1 879
698
696
Australian Capital Territory
410 301
3 369
663
2 801
6 833


Further details can be found in Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016-17 (cat. no. 3218.0) available for download from the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au

For more information about population change in Australia's capital cities and local areas, see State Stories.

Media notes:

  • Unless otherwise stated, capital cities mentioned in this release are Greater Capital City Statistical Areas and areas are Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2) as defined in the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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