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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 >> Geographic distribution of the population

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF THE POPULATION

Most of Australia’s population is concentrated in two widely separated coastal regions - the south-east and east, and the south-west. Of the two regions, the south-east and east is by far the largest in area and population. The population within these regions is concentrated in urban centres, particularly the state and territory capital cities.

Australia's population density at June 2005 was 2.6 people per square kilometre (sq km), compared with 2.5 people per sq km in 2000. Of the states and territories, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest population density at June 2005 with 138 people per sq km (reflecting the fact that the city of Canberra constitutes a large proportion of the Australian Capital Territory's area), followed by Victoria with 22 people per sq km. The Northern Territory had a population density of only 0.1 people per sq km, the lowest of all the states and territories (reflecting more recent settlement, distance from areas settled earlier, large arid areas and, perhaps, climate).

Population density at June 2005 was highest in the city centres, particularly in the Sydney Statistical Division where the three most densely populated Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) in Australia were located. These were Sydney (C) - Central (8,400 people per sq km), Waverley (A) (6,600 people per sq km) and North Sydney (A) (5,800 people per sq km). Fourth on the list and Victoria's most densely populated SLA was Port Phillip (C) - St. Kilda (5,600 people per sq km). The SLA of New Farm in inner Brisbane (5,400 people per sq km) was Australia's fifth-most densely populated SLA. The geographic distribution of Australia's population at June 2005 is shown in map 5.15.

5.15 POPULATION DISTRIBUTION(a) - June 2005
5.15 POPULATION DISTRIBUTION(a) - June 2005 5.15 POPULATION DISTRIBUTION(a) - June 2005

REGIONAL POPULATION CHANGE

At June 2005, capital city Statistical Divisions (SDs) were home to 12.9 mill. people, or around two-thirds (64%) of Australia's population. The capital city SD of Melbourne experienced the largest increase in population of capital cities between 2000 and 2005, followed by Brisbane and Sydney. In terms of percentage growth, however, Brisbane was the fastest growing capital city between 2000 and 2005, with an average annual growth rate of 2.3% per year. Perth experienced the second highest average annual growth rate over this period (1.5%). Table 5.16 illustrates the changes in population of Australia's major regions over the five-year period 2000-05.

Generally, the largest growth outside capital city SDs occurred in Australia's coastal regions. Of these regions, the largest increase in population between 2000 and 2005 occurred in Gold Coast-Tweed, up by an average 14,500 people per year (or 3.3% per year). Mandurah to the south of Perth recorded the fastest growth over the same period with an average growth rate of 5.1% per year. This growth was also faster than any capital city. Hervey Bay experienced the second fastest growth (up 4.3% per year) followed by Sunshine Coast (3.5% per year). The population of Kalgoorlie/Boulder decreased by an average 0.6% per year between 2000 and 2005.

5.16 ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION, By major regions(a)

Average annual change 2000-05
June 2000
June 2005

'000
'000
no.
%

CAPITAL CITY STATISTICAL DIVISION

Sydney
4,069.1
4,254.9
37,160
0.9
Melbourne
3,422.7
3,634.2
42,302
1.2
Brisbane
1,619.3
1,810.9
38,333
2.3
Adelaide
1,102.4
1,129.3
5,365
0.5
Perth
1,372.9
1,477.8
20,974
1.5
Greater Hobart
196.5
203.6
1,434
0.7
Darwin
105.1
111.3
1,237
1.2
Canberra
314.8
324.8
1,988
0.6

STATISTICAL DISTRICT

Newcastle (NSW)
486.0
510.9
4,967
1.0
Wollongong (NSW)
266.2
275.9
1,942
0.7
Nowra-Bomaderry (NSW)
29.9
32.9
605
2.0
Bathurst-Orange (NSW)
74.7
78.2
703
0.9
Lismore (NSW)
30.9
31.3
81
0.3
Coffs Harbour (NSW)
45.4
49.7
855
1.8
Port Macquarie (NSW)
37.2
41.1
783
2.0
Tamworth (NSW)
42.2
43.3
213
0.5
Dubbo (NSW)
34.8
35.8
198
0.6
Wagga Wagga (NSW)
52.0
53.5
289
0.6
Albury-Wodonga (NSW/Vic.)
94.2
100.3
1,209
1.3
Geelong (Vic.)
157.5
165.8
1,653
1.0
Warrnambool (Vic.)
29.2
31.1
384
1.3
Ballarat (Vic.)
82.6
88.8
1,238
1.5
Bendigo (Vic.)
78.3
84.4
1,212
1.5
Shepparton (Vic.)
44.0
47.2
644
1.4
La Trobe Valley (Vic.)
75.0
74.9
-10
-
Mildura (Vic.)
44.4
47.6
643
1.4
Sunshine Coast (Qld)
179.6
212.9
6,658
3.5
Bundaberg (Qld)
56.2
60.9
954
1.6
Hervey Bay (Qld)
38.7
47.8
1,813
4.3
Rockhampton (Qld)
67.4
69.1
353
0.5
Gladstone (Qld)
38.6
42.5
780
1.9
Mackay (Qld)
63.8
70.7
1,380
2.1
Townsville (Qld)
131.1
148.8
3,533
2.6
Cairns (Qld)
112.3
123.4
2,215
1.9
Toowoomba (Qld)
107.5
119.1
2,329
2.1
Gold Coast-Tweed (Qld/NSW)
409.8
482.0
14,454
3.3
Mandurah (WA)
57.6
74.0
3,274
5.1
Bunbury (WA)
48.3
56.2
1,572
3.1
Kalgoorlie/Boulder (WA)
29.7
28.9
-178
-0.6
Geraldton (WA)
30.8
31.2
83
0.3
Launceston (Tas.)
98.4
103.2
965
1.0
Burnie-Devonport (Tas.)
77.7
79.3
304
0.4
Canberra-Queanbeyan (ACT/NSW)
355.8
371.4
3,136
0.9

(a) Based on 2005 Australian Standard Geographical Classification boundaries.
Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).

INTERSTATE MIGRATION

The main factor changing the distribution of Australia's population has been internal migration. During 2004-05, 358,800 people moved from one state or territory to another. This is a decline of 27,600 people compared with the previous year.

In 2004-05 Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory all experienced net interstate migration gains, while New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory experienced net interstate migration losses. Queensland has experienced positive net interstate migration for more than 30 years; in contrast, New South Wales has experienced net losses every year since 1978-79. As table 5.17 illustrates however, any losses due to interstate migration in 2004-05 were offset by growth due to natural increase and/or net overseas migration.

5.17 POPULATION GROWTH - 2004-05

Rate
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.(a)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Natural increase
0.63
0.59
0.70
0.40
0.71
0.45
1.28
0.90
0.63
Net overseas migration
0.55
0.65
0.44
0.44
0.83
0.14
0.19
-0.08
0.55
Net interstate migration
-0.38
-0.05
0.81
-0.23
0.07
0.04
-
-0.50
. .
Total population growth
0.80
1.20
1.95
0.61
1.62
0.63
1.48
0.32
1.18

(a) Includes Other Territories.
Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).


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