3311.5 - Demography, Western Australia, 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2000   
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December 15, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Western Australia's growth exceeds national rate

In 1999, Western Australia continued the trend of the last 20 years in exceeding the national rate of population growth. Western Australia was the third fastest growing State/Territory with a population growth rate of 1.4%, compared with the Australian rate of 1.1%. Those States/Territories with a higher rate were Queensland (1.6%) and the Northern Territory (1.5%).

The estimated resident population of Western Australia at December 1999 was 1,871,021, an increase of 26,301 on the previous year. Over half (54%) of this growth was from natural increase (births minus deaths) which contributed 14,095 people, with net overseas migration contributing 12,196 people (46%).

In 1999, United Kingdom born migrants accounted for 21% of permanent arrivals to Western Australia. The New Zealand born and South Africa born accounted for a further 16% each.

At June 1999, over 80% of the population of Western Australia lived in the Statistical Divisions (SDs) of Perth and the South West. These divisions account for less than 2% of the total area of the State. The most populous local government area outside the Perth SD was Mandurah, with an estimated resident population of 43,957. Murchison, with an estimated resident population of 145, was the least populated local government area.

Western Australia's total fertility rate continued its slow decline from 1.91 in 1989 to 1.76 in 1999. However, fertility rates varied across the State with the Perth SD having the lowest rate of 1.66 and many country areas having rates over 2.06 (the replacement level).

In the last twenty years, the proportion of births outside marriage in Western Australia has more than doubled, from 14% of all births in 1979 to 34% in 1999. The proportion of these where paternity is acknowledged has also increased from 55% in 1979 to 89% in 1999.

Western Australians are marrying later in life, with the median age for those marrying for the first time in 1999 being 28.5 years for men and 26.5 years for women. In 1989, these ages were 26.3 and 24.1 years, respectively. Rates of marriage have fallen: the crude marriage rate in 1989 was 6.8 per 1,000 population compared with 5.5 per 1,000 population in 1999. The highest rate ever recorded was 11.4 in 1942.

Demography, WA 1999 (cat. no. 3311.5) is available in ABS bookshops. This release and the main features of the publication may be found on this website. If you wish to order a copy of this publication contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.