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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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Contents >> Population >> Population size and growth

POPULATION SIZE AND GROWTH

The Census of Population and Housing is the principal source of information about Australia’s population. It has been held every five years since 1961 with the most recent census conducted in August 2006. The Census provides a base from which Australia’s estimated resident population is calculated. The Census population count is adjusted for visitors from overseas, Australian residents temporarily overseas on census night and an estimate of both the number of people missed and those counted more than once. To obtain estimated resident population figures for dates between censuses, births and net overseas migration are added to the Census-based figure, and deaths are subtracted. For state and territory figures, interstate migration estimates are also applied.

Australia's estimated resident population at June 2005 was just over 20.3 million (mill.), an increase of 1.2% from the previous year (table 5.1). This growth rate was the same as the overall world growth rate (table 5.2).

5.1 COMPONENTS OF POPULATION CHANGE AND ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION(a)
Components of population change
Population


Year ended
30 June
Births(b)
Deaths(b)
Natural
increase(b)
Net overseas migration(c)
At end of
period
Increase(d)
Increase
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
%

2000
249.3
128.4
120.9
107.3
19,153.4
227.5
1.20
2001
247.5
128.9
118.6
135.7
19,413.2
259.9
1.36
2002
247.4
130.3
117.2
110.6
19,641.0
227.7
1.17
2003
247.4
132.2
115.2
116.5
19,872.6
231.7
1.18
2004
252.1
133.2
118.9
100.0
20,091.5
218.9
1.10
2005
255.8
131.4
124.5
123.8
20,339.8
248.3
1.24

(a) Includes Other Territories. Other Territories comprise Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
(b) Births and deaths are on year of occurrence basis and differ from those shown in the Births and Deaths sections of this chapter.
(c) Includes migration adjustments from June 2001.
(d) The difference between total growth and the sum of natural increase and net overseas migration during 1999-2001 is due to intercensal discrepancy.
Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).

Compared with other countries, Australia's growth rate was higher than New Zealand (1.0%), Canada (0.9%), United States of America (0.9%) and Hong Kong (0.6%); considerably higher than the United Kingdom (0.3%), Japan (0.1%) and Germany (0.0%); and well below the growth rates for Papua New Guinea (2.3%) and Malaysia (1.8%). China (0.6%), the world's most populous nation, had a growth rate half that of Australia.

Figures provided by the US Census Bureau's International Data Base for 227 countries rank Australia's population 52nd in size for the year 2005 and project a fall to 64th position by 2050.

5.2 POPULATION, GROWTH RATE AND RANK, By selected countries
Estimated population
Projected population
Rank



2004
2005
Growth rate
2050
2005
2050
Country
mill.
mill.
%
mill.
no.
no.

Australia
20.1
20.3
1.2
28.1
52
64
Canada
32.5
32.8
0.9
41.4
35
43
China
1,298.8
1,306.3
0.6
1,424.2
1
2
Germany
82.4
82.4
0.0
73.6
14
22
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
6.9
6.9
0.6
6.2
98
116
India
1,065.1
1,080.3
1.4
1,601.0
2
1
Indonesia
238.5
242.0
1.5
336.2
4
5
Japan
127.3
127.4
0.1
99.9
10
17
Malaysia
23.5
24.0
1.8
43.1
46
42
New Zealand
4.0
4.0
1.0
4.8
122
125
Papua New Guinea
5.4
5.5
2.3
10.7
106
92
Singapore
4.4
4.4
1.6
4.6
120
130
Thailand
63.7
64.2
0.7
69.3
19
25
United Kingdom
60.3
60.4
0.3
64.0
22
29
United States of America
293.0
295.7
0.9
420.1
3
3
World
6,376.9
6,451.1
1.2
9,224.4
. .
. .

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0); Population Projections, Australia, 2004 to 2101 (3222.0); US Census Bureau, 'International Data Base', last viewed June 2006, <http://www.census.gov>.

Australia's estimated resident population of 20.3 mill. at June 2005 has grown by nearly 2.3 mill. people or 12.5% during the past decade. The growth of Australia's population has two components: natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) and net overseas migration (net permanent and long-term migration). For state and territory estimates, a third component - net interstate migration - is also included. Since Federation in 1901, Australia's population increased by 16.6 mill. people. Graph 5.3 shows the growth in Australia's population since European settlement in 1788.

5.3 POPULATION 5.3 POPULATION

Population growth has occurred unevenly across all states and territories (table 5.4). Consequently, the proportion of Australia's population resident in each state and territory has changed over time. From 1955 to 2005, the proportion of the Australian population living in New South Wales decreased (from 37.9% to 33.3%), as did Victoria (from 27.4% to 24.7%), South Australia (8.9% to 7.6%) and Tasmania (3.4% to 2.4%). The proportion of Australia's population living in all other states and territories increased over the same period, with Queensland increasing from 14.7% to 19.5%, Western Australia from 7.1% to 9.9%, the Australian Capital Territory from 0.4% to 1.6% and the Northern Territory from 0.2% to 1.0%. Western Australia overtook South Australia to become the fourth most populous state in 1983.

5.4 POPULATION, By state and territory

30 June
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.(a)
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
'000

1955
3,490.7
2,517.2
1,350.0
819.6
657.1
314.1
18.2
32.8
9,199.7
1965
4,175.4
3,164.4
1,644.5
1,067.6
825.5
367.9
53.9
88.5
11,387.7
1975
4,932.0
3,787.4
2,051.4
1,265.3
1,154.9
410.1
92.9
199.0
13,893.0
1985
5,464.5
4,120.1
2,571.2
1,371.2
1,418.6
442.8
148.5
251.4
15,788.3
1995
6,127.0
4,517.4
3,265.1
1,469.4
1,733.8
473.7
177.6
304.8
18,071.8
2002
6,634.1
4,857.2
3,711.0
1,518.7
1,924.6
472.6
198.7
321.5
19,641.0
2003
6,682.1
4,911.4
3,801.0
1,526.3
1,949.9
477.3
198.5
323.4
19,872.6
2004
6,720.8
4,963.0
3,888.1
1,532.7
1,978.1
482.2
199.8
324.1
20,091.5
2005
6,768.9
5,023.2
3,977.1
1,542.1
2,011.0
485.7
203.4
325.8
20,339.8

(a) Includes Other Territories from September quarter 1993. Other Territories comprise Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Prior to September quarter 1993, Jervis Bay Territory was included with the ACT, and the territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands were excluded from population estimates for Australia.
Source: Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2006 (3105.0.65.001); Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).

COMPONENTS OF POPULATION GROWTH

Over the last 50 years the population more than doubled from 9.2 mill. in 1955 to 20.3 mill. in 2005. Natural increase has been the main component of population growth in Australia over this period, contributing around two-thirds of the total increase. Net overseas migration, while a significant source of growth, is more volatile, fluctuating under the influence of government policy as well as political, economic and social conditions in Australia and the rest of the world.

Yearly growth rates due to natural increase and net overseas migration from 1955 to 2005 are shown in graph 5.5.

5.5 COMPONENTS OF POPULATION GROWTH 5.5 COMPONENTS OF POPULATION GROWTH

Fifty years ago, Australia was in the midst of a baby boom. In 1955, the crude rate of natural increase was 13.7 people per 1,000 population. The rate then increased to a peak of 14.3 in 1961, after which, declining fertility led to a fall in the rate of natural increase. The rate of natural increase rose again in the late-1960s, reaching a peak of 12.7 people per 1,000 population in 1971. A decade later the rate had fallen to 8.5. In 1996 the rate of natural increase fell below 7.0 for the first time in Australia's history. This downward trend continued, reaching the lowest recorded rate of natural increase (6.0 people per 1,000 population) in 2002 and 2003. In recent years there has been a slight rise in the rate to 6.6 people per 1,000 population in 2005. Nonetheless, ABS population projections suggest that continued sub-replacement fertility, combined with an increase in deaths due to an ageing population, will result in natural increase falling below zero around the middle of this century.

In 2005 the crude death rate was 6.4 deaths per 1,000 population, falling from 8.9 in 1955. The crude birth rate declined from 22.6 births per 1,000 population in 1955 to 13.0 in 2005. The lowest crude birth rate during this period, 12.6 births per 1,000 population, was recorded in 2003. Crude birth and death rates from 1955 to 2005 are shown in graph 5.6.

5.6 COMPONENTS OF NATURAL INCREASE 5.6 COMPONENTS OF NATURAL INCREASE

POPULATION AGE AND SEX STRUCTURE

Over the last 50 years the absolute number of people increased in all age groups. However, the proportion of the population in older age groups increased while the proportion in younger age groups declined. Graph 5.7 shows the proportions of the population by age group and sex in 1955 and 2005, illustrating the ageing of Australia's population. Australia's population is ageing because of sustained low fertility, resulting in proportionally fewer children in the population, and increased life expectancy, resulting in proportionally more older people in the population.

5.7 AGE DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION - 1995 and 2005
5.7 AGE DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION - 1995 and 2005 5.7 AGE DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION - 1995 and 2005


In 1955 there were 112,900 more males than females in Australia's population, while in 2005 there were 96,900 more females than males. Since 1979 Australia has been home to more females than males. At June 2005, the sex ratio of Australia's population was 99.1 males per 100 females.

People aged 0-14 years represented 29.0% of Australia's population in 1955, while those aged 15-64 years represented 62.6% and those aged 65 years and over represented 8.4%. Although Australia's population continued to grow since 1955, the proportion of children aged 0-14 years decreased to 19.6% by 2005. In contrast, the proportion of people aged 15-64 years increased to 67.3% by 2005 and the proportion of the population aged 65 years or more increased to 13.1% (graph 5.8).

5.8 PROPORTION OF POPULATION, By age group 5.8 PROPORTION OF POPULATION, By age group

The change in the age structure of Australia's population over time is illustrated by the change in the median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger). In 2005 the median age of the Australian population was 36.6 years, an increase of 5.8 years over the median age of 30.8 years in 1985. Graph 5.9 shows the median ages of the population by states and territories in 1985 and 2005.

5.9 MEDIAN AGE OF POPULATION 5.9 MEDIAN AGE OF POPULATION


In 2005 the population of South Australia had the highest median age of all states and territories (38.8 years), closely followed by Tasmania (38.7 years). The Northern Territory (30.9 years) had the lowest median age in 2005.

Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age over the 20 years to 2005, increasing by 8.6 years from 30.1 years in 1985 to 38.7 years in 2005. The next largest increase was South Australia at 7.1 years, from 31.7 years in 1985 to 38.8 years in 2005.

In 2005 there were just over 2.7 mill. people aged 65 years or more in Australia, an increase of 63,100 people (2.4%) over 2004. All states and territories experienced growth in this age group, with the Northern Territory (6.8%) and the Australian Capital Territory (3.9%) experiencing the greatest increases (table 5.10).

5.10 POPULATION AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER

Proportion of population in 2005
Population growth from 2004 to 2005
%
%

New South Wales
13.7
2.1
Victoria
13.5
2.3
Queensland
12.1
3.1
South Australia
15.2
1.8
Western Australia
11.8
3.2
Tasmania
14.5
2.2
Northern Territory
4.6
6.8
Australian Capital Territory
9.6
3.9
Australia(a)
13.1
2.4

(a) Includes Other Territories.
Source: Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (3201.0).

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