3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2015 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/02/2016   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product
MEDIA RELEASE
15 February 2016
Release: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
12/2016
Australia to reach 24 million

Australia's population will reach 24 million, at about 12:50am (AEDT) tomorrow (16 February 2016), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) population clock.

"The population clock is an indication of the current population, based on a projection calculated using births and deaths data (from the ABS) and migration figures (from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection)," said ABS Director of Demography, Beidar Cho.

"We do not know who the 24 millionth Australian is: it could be a newborn or a migrant.”

Journey to 24 million

How did Australia reach 24 million?

At Federation in 1901, Australia's population was 3.7 million. From then, it took Australia 58 years to reach a population of 10 million.

By 1964, the population was increasing by a million every 4-5 years.

Since reaching 20 million in late 2003, there have been around three years between each million person increase, with the population reaching 21 million in 2007, 22 million in 2010 and 23 million in 2013.

Since 2006, net overseas migration has been the driver of Australia's annual population growth. This peaked in 2009, with 66 per cent of our growth being attributed to migration. Our most recent data (June 2015) indicates net overseas migration contributing 53 per cent to Australia's total growth, with the remaining 47 per cent due to natural increase.

State by state

Where do the 24 million people live?

In 1901, only two states had a population of over one million people: New South Wales (1.4 million), and Victoria (1.2 million people).

By 1968, Queensland and South Australia also had over a million people (1.7 million and 1.1 million respectively), whilst New South Wales and Victoria had reached 4.4 million and 3.3 million respectively.

Western Australia experienced high growth from the 1970s, overtaking South Australia's population in 1982 and reaching a population of 2 million in 2005.

In 2015, New South Wales remained the state with the largest population (7.6 million), followed by Victoria (5.9 million). Greater Sydney made up 64 per cent of New South Wales’ population and Melbourne 76 per cent of Victoria’s.

Population composition

What does 24 million people look like?

The structure of Australia's population has changed significantly between the 1970s and today. In 1971, 28.7 per cent of the population were children (0-14 years), 63 per cent were working age (15-64 years) and 8.3 per cent of the population were aged 65+. There were 2.9 children born per woman, the median age of the population was 27.5 years and life expectancy was 68.3 years for males and 74.8 years for females. 20.2 per cent of the population was born overseas.

In 2015. 18.8 per cent of the population were children, 66.2 per cent were working age and 15 per cent were aged 65+. There were 1.8 children born per woman, the median age of the population was 37.4 years and life expectancy was 80.3 years for males and 84.4 years for females. 28.1 per cent of the population was born overseas.

International comparisons

How does Australia's population compare with other countries?

The world population reached 7.3 billion in 2015. China and India are the most populated countries, each with a population of more than 1 billion.

Looking at Australia's close neighbours, New Zealand's population was 4.5 million in 2015, while Indonesia had a population of over 250 million.

While Taiwan's land size is smaller than Tasmania's, they had a similar population to Australia with 23.5 million in 2014.

A number of megacities in the world have reached the 24 million milestone before Australia. In 2015, Shanghai had a population of 24 million and the Greater Tokyo had a population of approximately 37 million.

Further information is available in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 2015 (cat. no. 3101.0) and Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2014 (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001).

For population estimates at the regional level, please see Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2013-14 (cat. no. 3218.0) and Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2014 (cat. no. 3235.0), available for free download from www.abs.gov.au.

Media note:

  • Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Media on 1300 175 070.
  • Please note that ABS spokespeople will be available for interviews today until 5.30pm and from 7am Tuesday morning.



Fact sheet:

When will the population reach 24 million?

According to the ABS Population Clock the Australian population will reach 24 million at around 12:50am (AEDT) on 16 February 2016.

This is based on the population clock on the ABS website, which is an indication only (not an official estimate). The population clock is based on a 12 month projection off a known base, determined by adding the same number of births and subtracting the same number of deaths as the previous year and using an annual forecast of Net Overseas Migration (NOM) based on Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) figures.

Who will the 24 millionth person be?

There is no official 24 millionth person. It could be:
  • A newborn baby
  • A person moving to Australia for work

Net overseas migration currently accounts for 53 per cent of Australia's total growth, with the remaining 47 per cent due to natural increase (for the year ending 30 June 2015), suggesting that it is less likely to be a newborn baby.

How long has it been since we reached 23 million?

It has been around three years since Australia reached 23 million (March Quarter 2013).

Australia reached:
  • 24 million in March Quarter 2016
  • 23 million in March Quarter 2013
  • 22 million in June Quarter 2010
  • 21 million in December Quarter 2007
  • 20 million in December Quarter 2004
  • 15 million in December Quarter 1981
  • 12 million in 1968
  • 10 million in 1959
  • 5 million in 1918

We can see that in more recent times there has been around 3 years between each million person increase.

When will the population reach 25 million?

It is projected that Australia will reach 25 million in 2018 and will keep increasing by a million persons every 2 to 3 years.

According to the ABS' B Series population projection (cat no 3222.0) Australia will reach;
  • 25 million in 2018
  • 26 million in 2020
  • 27 million in 2023
  • 28 million in 2025
  • 29 million in 2028
  • 30 million in 2030
  • 35 million in 2043
  • 40 million in 2057
  • 48 million in 2082
  • 50 million in 2089
It will take Australia 66 years to double its population from 24 million to 48 million and Australia is projected to reach 50 million in 2089.

How has the population changed since 1901?


1901
(Federation)
1968
(when Australia was approximately half today's population)
2015
Total Australian population
3,788,123
12,008,635
23,781,169
Population growth rate
1.5%
1.8%
1.4%
Number of births
102,945
240,906
303,965
Total Fertility Rate (TFR) (Births per woman)
Not available
2.9
1.8
Sex ratio (Males per 100 females)
110.1
101.3
99
Life expectancy (years)
55.2 (males), 58.8 (females) (1901-1910)
67.6 (males), 74.2 (females), (1965-1967)
80.3 (males), 84.4 (females), (2012-2014)
Median age (The age at which half the population is older and half is younger)
22.5
27.8
37.4
Born in Australia
2,908,303
9,419,542
16,890,250
Born in Australia (%)
76.8%
81.2%
72.0%
Born in UK (includes Ireland in 1901)
679,159
870,548
1,221,260
Born in UK (includes Ireland in 1901) (%)
17.9%
7.5%
5.2%
  • The total Australian population has doubled since 1968 and increased by more than six times since Federation (1901), rising from 3,788,123 on 30 June 1901. The population is also growing more slowly now than in either 1901 or 1968, with the population growth rate being 1.5 per cent in 1901 and 1.8 per cent in 1968, as compared, most recently, to 1.4 per cent in the 12 months to June 2015.
  • Currently around 300,000 babies are born in Australia each year, with 303,965 babies being born in the 12 months to June 2015. The total fertility rate has dropped considerably since 1968, with Australia’s total fertility rate in 2014 being 1.8 babies per woman.
  • The sex ratio in Australia has also changed over time. Currently women, rather than men, make up the majority of the population.
  • Australia also has an older population than it did in the past. In 1901, the median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) was 22.5 years, rising to 27.8 years by 1968. Australia’s median age has since risen to 37.4 years as of 30 June 2015.
  • In 2014, 28 per cent of Australians were born overseas, with the most common overseas country of birth remaining the United Kingdom, followed by New Zealand, China and India.

1901
1968
2014
New South Wales
1,361,736
4,359,325
7,513,975
Sydney
496,990
2,630,690
4,840,628
Sydney as % of New South Wales
36%
60%
64%
Victoria
1,203,000
3,324,180
5,838,748
Melbourne
501,580
2,331,000
4,440,328
Melbourne as % of Victoria
42%
70%
76%
Queensland
502,279
1,728,996
4,720,471
Brisbane
120,650
810,410
2,274,560
Brisbane as % of Queensland
24%
47%
48%
South Australia
356,074
1,121,811
1,685,484
Adelaide
162,200
795,000
1,304,631
Adelaide as % of South Australia
46%
71%
77%
Western Australia
188,566
915,042
2,558,372
Perth
70,700
611,800
2,021,203
Perth as % of Western Australia
37%
67%
79%
Tasmania
171,703
379,649
514,770
Hobart
36,060
145,830
219,243
Hobart as % Tasmania
21%
38%
43%
Northern Territory
4,765
67,537
243,663
Darwin
Not available
26,300
140,386
Darwin as % of Northern Territory
Not available
39%
58%
Australian Capital Territory
Not applicable
112,095
385,397
Capital Cities as % of Australia
37%
62%
67%
Australia
3,788,123
12,008,635
23,464,086
  • In 1901, only two states had a population of over one million people: New South Wales, with 1.4 million people, followed by Victoria, with 1.2 million people. By 1968, Queensland and South Australia also had over a million people, with New South Wales and Victoria having grown to over 4 million and over 3 million respectively. In 2015, New South Wales remained the state with the largest population, with 7.6 million people, followed by Victoria with 5.9 million.
  • As Australia’s population has grown, an increasing proportion of us now live in the capital cities of the states and territories. In 1901, most Australians lived outside the capital cities of their state, with 36 per cent of New South Wales living in Sydney and 42 per cent of Victoria living in Melbourne. By 2014, most of the 24 million Australians were living in capital cities, with 64 per cent of New South Wales living in Sydney and 76 per cent of Victoria living in Melbourne. The only states where a majority of the population lives outside the capital city are Tasmania (43 per cent living in Hobart) and Queensland (48 per cent living in Brisbane).


How does Australia compare internationally?

The table below features Australia's close neighbours and countries with similar populations (as at 2015).

Selected countries
Estimated Resident Population
Annual Growth rate
Median age
sex ratio
(males per 100 females)
Total fertility rate (average number of children per woman)
Life expectancy at birth
World
7,349,472,000
1.2
29.6
101.8
2.5
70.5
Australia
23,781,000
1.4
37.4
99
1.8
80.3 (males), 84.4 (females)
New Zealand
4,529,000
0.7
38.0
96
2.1
81.6
United Kingdom
64,716,000
0.6
40.0
97
1.9
80.5
Canada
35,940,000
1.0
40.6
98
1.6
81.8
Indonesia
257,564,000
1.2
28.4
101
2.5
68.6
Taiwan (a)
23,434,000
0.3
39.3
99.7
1.2
76.9 (males), 83.4 (females)
China
1,376,049,000
0.5
37.0
106
1.6
75.4
Japan
126,573,000
-0.2
46.5
95
1.4
83.3
(a) Data for Taiwan is as at year end 2014
Source: Australian Estimates - Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). Selected country and world estimates - United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: the 2015 Revision. Taiwan Estimates - the National Statistics Republic of China (Taiwan).
  • The world population reached 7.3 billion in 2015, with China and India being the most populated countries each with a population over 1 billion. Looking at Australia's close neighbours, New Zealand's population was 4.5 million in 2015, while Indonesia had a population of over 250 million. Taiwan's population was similar to Australia's at 23.5 million, though Taiwan's land size is smaller than Tasmania's.
  • There are megacities in the world which have reached the 24 million milestone before Australia. In 2015 Shanghai had a population of 24 million and Tokyo Megalopolis had a population of approximately 37 million.
  • The life expectancy for Australia is one of the highest at 80.3 years for males and 84.4 years for females. New Zealand and Taiwan had similar life expectancies, while Indonesia's life expectancy was lower at 68.6 years.
  • Australia's next population census is on 9 August 2016. It is expected that a majority of people will complete their census form on line.