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3105.0.65.001 - Australian Historical Population Statistics - on Ausstats, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/09/2003  Reissue
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INTRODUCTION

Sources used for Australian Historical Population Statistics have been stated at the bottom of each spreadsheet. Given that different sources may exist for the same data, discrepancies may exist between Australian Historical Population Statistics and these sources.

While periodic updates are envisaged, more up-to-date information may be available from the ABS web site at
<http://www.abs.gov.au>. From the navigation bar select Themes, then Demography.

Comments on Australian Historical Population Statistics, including apparent anomalies and omissions as well as suggestions of existing data for inclusion, would be appreciated and should be sent to
Chrissy Beruldsen <c.beruldsen@abs.gov.au>. If you wish to discuss any issues, Chrissy Beruldsen's phone number is
02 6252 6522.


UPDATES

15/06/2001 - Table 56 amended.
20/08/2001 - Table 1 amended.
05/04/2002 - latest available figures added to Tables 1-6, 16-18, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 32-55, 58, 62-64, 86-95 and 103.

26/09/2002 - Totals in Table 76 amended.
19/08/2003 - Tables 17 and 18 amended from 1991 onwards.
19/08/2003 - New tables 16 and 86 created. Thus, table numbers have changed since the last update.
19/08/2003 - Data from 31 December 1996 onwards have been revised and updated in tables 1-6, 9, 17-19, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 35-38, 57-64, 88-90, 92-95, 97 and 104.
19/08/2003 - Latest available figures added to the above tables and tables 16, 36-42, 43-56, 65, 86 and 87.
04/11/2003 - Tables 4, 5 and 6 amended. Please refer to the Corrigendum spreadsheets for Tables 4, 5, and 6 for details of the corrected figures.

REFERENCING THESE STATISTICS

Reference to the statistics in Australian Historical Population Statistics should be made along the following lines:

Where original sources are referred to:

(original source) as quoted in Australian Bureau of Statistics, (year), Australian Historical Population Statistics (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001), viewed (day month year).

If reference is desired only to Australian Historical Population Statistics:

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, (year), Australian Historical Population Statistics (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001), viewed (day month year).


SOURCES

Data for Australian Historical Population Statistics have been compiled from a wide range of sources, including:

  • Colonial censuses, state censuses, Colonial Statistical Returns and Colonial Statistical Registers
  • Australian Demography Bulletins produced by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics
  • Commonwealth censuses
  • ABS demography publications, and
  • other ABS demography collections.

    Indigenous data have been compiled from 'The Aboriginal Population of Australia' (1980) by L.R. Smith, Experimental Estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 1991-2001 (cat. no. 3230.0), Population Issues, Indigenous Australians, 1996 (cat. no. 4708.0) and Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 2001 (cat. no. 4705.0).

    A summary of 19th century statistics collected by the colonial statistical bureau can be found in the ABS publication Catalogue of Australian Statistical Publications, 1804 to 1901 (cat. no. 1115.0).

    Given that different sources often exist for the same data, discrepancies may exist between Australian Historical Population Statistics and these sources. References to the source(s) of information used are given at the bottom of each spreadsheet.


    COLONIES, STATES AND TERRITORIES

    The terms 'state' and 'territory' have been used to describe states/territories as they exist in the post-Federation period, and the various colonies prior to Federation. For example, data presented in the tables under the heading "NSW" relates to both the colony of New South Wales and the State of New South Wales.

    The states of Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland became independent from New South Wales in the years 1825, 1851 and 1859 respectively, while the states of Western Australia and South Australia came into existence in 1829 and 1836 respectively.

    The Northern Territory came under the control of the Federal Government in 1911 and was no longer included in the estimates for South Australia. The Australian Capital Territory came under the control of the Federal Government in 1911 and was no longer included in the estimates for New South Wales.

    In 1915 Jervis Bay Territory was created and added to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and was no longer included in New South Wales estimates. From July 1993 Jervis Bay Territory was excluded from ACT estimates. Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands were included in the Australian population from July 1993. Together with Jervis Bay Territory these are collectively known as 'Other Territories'.


    POPULATION ESTIMATION

    Population is a generic term intended to describe the different methods of enumeration used from 1788 to the present day. Australian Historical Population Statistics uses four measures of population: actual location census counts, usual residence census counts, population estimates and the estimated resident population (ERP).

    Actual location counts are counts of all people, within the scope of the census, who spent census night in Australia. People are counted where they were at the time of the census, which may not be where they live. In contrast, usual residence counts are counts of all people, based on where they usually live, rather than where they were on census night. Overseas visitors are excluded from usual residence data.

    Population estimates from Federation to 1971 were based on unadjusted (for under enumeration) census counts on an actual location basis, updated for post-censal years according to registered births and deaths by state/territory of registration, and interstate and overseas migration. From 1971 onwards the concept of ERP, which links people to their place of usual residence, was introduced. The ERP is derived from usual residence census counts, to which are added the estimated net census undercount and Australian residents estimated to have been temporarily overseas at the time of the census. Overseas visitors in Australia are excluded from this calculation.

    Early population estimates were obtained through colonial 'musters' and, from 1828, through a series of relatively regular colonial censuses. The dates of these colonial censuses are shown in Table 1. In 1910, on the basis of the early 'musters' and other colonial records, an annual series of population totals for the states was published for all years commencing from December 1788, the year of the first European settlement in Australia. They are disaggregated by sex from 1796. The first simultaneous censuses of all the Australian colonies was taken in 1881 and the first national census was taken in 1911. It was followed by others in 1921, 1933, 1947, 1954 and 1961. Since 1961 censuses have been conducted at five yearly intervals.

    Annual estimates of the population by single years of age and sex for Australia as a whole commenced in 1921 and for the states in 1962. Prior to these years counts of the population by age and sex were available only in census years.

    All ERP, natural increase, net overseas and net interstate migration data prior to September Quarter 2001 are final.


    Table 1 Australian censuses, 1828 to 1996

    Year
    NSW
    Vic.
    Qld
    SA
    WA
    Tas.
    NT
    ACT
    Australia

    1828
    Nov.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1833
    2 Sep.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1836
    2 Sep.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1841
    2 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    27 Sep.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1844
    . .
    . .
    . .
    26 Feb.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1846
    2 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    26 Feb.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1847
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    31 Dec.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1848
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    10 Oct.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1851
    1 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    1 Jan.
    . .
    1Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1854
    . .
    26 Apr.(a)
    . .
    . .
    30 Sep.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1855
    . .
    . .
    . .
    31 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1856
    1 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1857
    . .
    29 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    31 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1859
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    31 Dec.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1861
    7 Apr.
    7 Apr.
    7 Apr.(a)
    7 Apr.
    7 Apr.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1864
    . .
    . .
    1 Jan.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1866
    . .
    . .
    . .
    26 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1868
    . .
    . .
    2 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1870
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    31 Mar.
    7 Feb.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1871
    2 Apr.
    2 Apr.
    1 Sep.
    2 Apr.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1876
    . .
    . .
    1 May
    26 Mar.
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1881(b)
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.(c)
    . .
    3 Apr.
    1886
    . .
    . .
    1 May
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    . .
    1891
    5 Apr.
    5 Apr.
    5 Apr.
    5 Apr.
    5 Apr.
    5 Apr.
    5 Apr.
    . .
    5 Apr.
    1901
    31 Mar.
    31 Mar.
    31 Mar.
    31 Mar.
    31 Mar.
    31 Mar.
    31 Mar.
    . .
    31 Mar.
    1911
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.
    3 Apr.(a)
    3 Apr.
    1921
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    4 Apr.
    1933
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1947
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1954
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1961
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1966
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1971
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1976
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1981
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1986
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    30 Jun.
    1991
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    1996
    2001
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.
    6 Aug.
    7 Aug.

    (a) Previously included with NSW.
    (b) The first simultaneous censuses of all Australian colonies.
    (c) Included with SA for the censuses of 1866, 1871 and 1876. The NT was transferred to the Commonwealth on 1 January 1911.


    INDIGENOUS POPULATION

    Until 1967, section 127 of the Constitution required the exclusion of 'Aboriginal natives' from estimates of the population of Australia. These were interpreted as people having more than 50% Aboriginal 'blood'.

    This provision was repealed with the proclamation of the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) Act 1967 so that officially since 10 August 1967 population statistics were to include 'full-blooded' Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Population estimates were backdated to 1961 to include them. However, births and deaths of the Aboriginal population have only been included in data since 1966.

    In censuses from 1971 onwards Aboriginal people were no longer asked to state their degree of Aboriginal descent. In 1996, for example, the census question asked 'Is the person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?' Changing social attitudes, political developments, improvements in census coverage and a broader definition of 'Aboriginal' and 'Torres Strait Islanders' are likely to have contributed to the rapidly rising numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that have been recorded since 1971.


    For further information refer to the ABS Occasional Paper Population Issues, Indigenous Australians, 1996 (cat. no. 4708.0).

    Indigenous population estimates

    Experimental estimates of the Indigenous population were first produced by the ABS in 1994 for the years 1986 to 1991 (cat. no. 3230.0). Estimates for 1991 to 1996, based on the 1996 Census, were published in 1998 (cat. no. 3230.0). Estimates of the Indigenous population are experimental in that the standard approach to population estimation is not possible because of the volatility in Indigenous census counts and reliable data on Indigenous births, deaths and internal migration are not generally available.

    An explanation of the conceptual basis of estimating the Indigenous population is given in Demographic Estimates and Projections: Concepts, Sources and Methods.


    BIRTHS

    Birth statistics refer to births registered during the year shown, unless otherwise indicated. There is usually an interval between the occurrence and registration of a birth, and, as a result of delay in registration, some births occurring in one year are not registered until the following year, or even later. However, most births are registered soon after they occur.

    Birth statistics prior to 1969 are presented on the basis of state or territory of registration. From 1969 they are presented on the basis of the state or territory of usual residence of the mother, regardless of where in Australia the birth occurred or was registered.

    Births to mothers usually resident in Australia which took place overseas are not included. Births to mothers usually resident overseas which occurred in Australia are included in the state or territory where the birth was registered. In 2001, in Australia there were 511 births to women who usually lived overseas.


    DEATHS

    Death statistics refer to deaths registered during the year shown, unless otherwise indicated. There is usually an interval between the occurrence and registration of a death, and as a result some deaths are not registered in the year in which they occur. However, most deaths are registered soon after they occur.

    Death statistics prior to 1971 are presented on the basis of state or territory of registration. From 1971 they are presented on the basis of the state or territory of usual residence of the deceased, regardless of where in Australia the death occurred or was registered. Deaths of overseas visitors are classified according to the state or territory in which the death was registered. In 2001, 369 deaths of overseas usual residents were registered in Australia.

    War time

    Deaths of Australia's troops overseas in World War I were excluded. Similarly, in World War II, Australian troops who died overseas were not included in death and natural increase statistics, but they were removed from the population estimates.


    MIGRATION

    Overseas migration

    Data on overseas arrivals and departures relate to the number of movements of travellers rather than to the number of travellers.

    Prior to July 1976 net overseas migration was calculated by subtracting the number of total departures (permanent, long-term and short-term) from Australia from the number of total arrivals (permanent, long-term and short-term) to Australia. From July 1976 net overseas migration has been calculated as permanent and long-term arrivals less permanent and long-term departures, plus an adjustment for the effect of category jumping. This adjustment is necessary because net permanent and long-term migration figures can be affected by changes in travel intentions from short-term to permanent/long-term or vice versa. For further details see Demographic Estimates and Projections: Concepts, Sources and Methods.

    Recently, deficiencies have been identified in the measurement of category jumping. This led to the decision to set category jumping to zero for ERP and migration statistics rebased by the ABS for the periods September quarter 1997, pending a review. For further information refer to the ABS Demography working paper Estimated Resident Population and Measurement of Category Jumping.

    Prior to July 1971, intercensal discrepancies were incorporated into the overseas and interstate migration components of population change. For the period July 1971 to June 1976 no intercensal discrepancy exists due to the method used to produce resident population estimates. From July 1976 intercensal discrepancy is recorded as a separate component of population change.

    Prior to 1959, overseas arrivals and departures were classified as either permanent or temporary. Revised questions for travellers were introduced in 1958 which enabled arrivals and departures previously classified as permanent to be sub-divided (as from 1 January 1959) into two categories, permanent movement and long-term movement.

    War time

    During World War I, troops leaving Australia were regarded as emigrants, while those returning were regarded as immigrants. This largely explains the record loss in 1916, and the second highest migration gain (after 1988) in 1919. In contrast, during World War II, troop movements between September 1939 and June 1947 were excluded from calculations of migration.

    Interstate migration

    Australia has never had a comprehensive register of interstate movers and therefore estimates of migration between the states and territories have been based on other data sources, such as numbers of air, rail, sea and bus passengers travelling interstate, child endowment recipients, electoral rolls, and family allowance data.

    From 1986, data on interstate migration have been derived from information on interstate change of address advised by Medicare benefit recipients to the Health Insurance Commission in the process of administering Medicare. The ABS adjusts the Health Insurance Commission data to make allowance for the number of persons who do not inform the Commission of their change of residence. Further details are available in Demographic Estimates and Projections: Concepts, Sources and Methods.

    Prior to July 1971, intercensal discrepancies were incorporated into the overseas and interstate migration components of population change. For the period July 1971 to June 1976 no intercensal discrepancy exists due to the method used to produce resident population estimates. From July 1976 intercensal discrepancy is recorded as a separate component of population change.

    Country of birth

    Country of birth classifications used by the ABS and preceding statistical agencies have changed over time. Tables presented in Australian Historical Population Statistics display the country of birth classifications in existence at the time of production of the data.


    MARRIAGES

    Marriage statistics refer to marriages registered by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages of each state/territory during the years shown. There is usually an interval between the celebration and the registration of a marriage. As a result of the delay in registration, some marriages celebrated in one year are not registered until the following year.

    Under the Marriage Act 1961, marriages may be celebrated by a minister of religion registered as an authorised celebrant, by a district registrar or by other persons authorised by the Attorney-General. The celebrant must be given notice of the intended marriage of at least one month but within six months before the marriage. A celebrant must transmit an official certificate of the marriage for registration to a District Registrar in the state or territory in which the marriage took place.

    In 1973, the minimum age at which a person may marry without parental consent was reduced from 21 to 18 years, although women were legally free to marry from 16 years with parental consent. Further amendment to the Marriage Act in 1991 designated the minimum age at which both sexes are legally free to marry to be 18 years. Persons between the ages of 16 and 18 years may marry with parental or guardian consent and an order from a judge or magistrate. Any two persons under the age of 18 years may not marry each other.


    DIVORCES

    Divorce data are compiled by the ABS from information supplied by the Family Court in respect of each application which resulted in the granting of a decree absolute. The Family Law Act 1975 came into operation throughout Australia on 5 January 1976, repealing the Matrimonial Causes legislation which had been operative since 1961. Under Family Law legislation the irretrievable breakdown of marriage is the only ground on which a divorce is granted. This ground is established by the husband and wife having lived apart for 12 months or more and there being no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation. Applications for nullity of marriage under Family Law legislation must be on the ground that the marriage is void because of failure to meet a legal requirement such as that neither party be already lawfully married to another person. There is no provision for judicial separation under Family Law legislation.

    Successful applicants for a divorce are initially granted a decree nisi. This becomes absolute after one month unless it is rescinded, appealed against or the Court has not declared its satisfaction as to proper arrangements having been made for the welfare of children involved.

    Divorce data are presented according to state or territory of registration, based on the location of the Family Court where the divorce was granted and registered. Due to the large number of divorces granted in the ACT where usual residence was in another state, the rates for the ACT are not representative of the ACT population. The number of divorces shown for the ACT is dependent on the number of cases heard by the Family Court in the ACT. As there is no residential requirement under Family Law, applicants may be resident of any state or territory in Australia.


    ACCURACY OF DATA

    In commentary based on statistics in this publication, it is recommended that the relevant statistics be rounded. All data are affected by errors in reporting and processing. Registered birth, death, marriage and divorce data are also affected by delays in registration. While unrounded figures are provided in tables, accuracy to the last digit is not claimed and should not be assumed. No reliance should be placed on statistics with small values.


    SYMBOLS AND OTHER USAGES


    ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
    ACTAustralian Capital Territory
    nanot available
    neinot elsewhere identified
    nfdnot further defined
    NSWNew South Wales
    NTNorthern Territory
    ppreliminary figure or series subject to revision
    rrevised
    QldQueensland
    SASouth Australia
    SARSpecial Administrative Region
    Tas.Tasmania
    Vic.Victoria
    WAWestern Australia
    . .not applicable
    nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)


    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


    SUPPRESSION OF SMALL CELLS

    Data prior to 1971 are displayed as previously published. For census tables from 1971 onwards, cell values of less than 3 have been randomised to assist in the preservation of confidentiality of information.


    RELATED ABS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS

    ABS releases (with ABS's catalogue numbers shown in brackets) and other publications that may be of interest include:
  • Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0)
  • Australian Demographic Trends, 1997 (cat. no. 3102.0)
  • Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0)
  • Australians: Historical Statistics, Editor Wray Vamplew; Fairfax, Syme and Weldon Associates (1987)
  • Births, Australia (cat. no. 3301.0)
  • Catalogue of Australian Statistical Publications, 1804 to 1901 (cat. no. 1115.0)
  • Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0)
  • Demography (for each state and territory) (cat. no. 3311.1-8)
  • Demography, 1900 to 1971, Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (Ref. no. 4.9)
  • Demographic Estimates and Projections: Concepts, Sources and Methods, Statistical Concepts Library, ABS website
  • Experimental Estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 30 June 1991 - 1996 (cat. no. 3230.0)
  • Experimental Projections of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population, 30 June 1996 - 2006 (cat. no. 3231.0)
  • Immigration and Ethnicity, Charles A. Price, Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (1996)
  • Marriages and Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3310.0)
  • Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0)
  • Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0)
  • Population by Age and Sex (for each state and territory) (cat. no. 3235.1-8)
  • Population by Age and Sex: Australian states and territories (cat. no. 3201.0)
  • Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 2001 (cat. no. 4705.0)
  • Trans-Tasman Migration: Trends, Causes and Consequences, Editor Gordon A. Carmichael, Bureau of Immigration Research (1993)
  • The Aboriginal Population of Australia, Smith, L.R., Australian National University Press, Canberra (1980)
  • Year Book, Australia (cat. no. 1300.0)

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