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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Population >> Population size and growth

This section examines the size, growth, distribution and age structure of the Australian population. There is an emphasis on changes over time, especially changes in the growth rate of the population.

As shown in table 5.1, Australia's estimated resident population at June 2001 was just under 19.5 million, an increase of 1.4% over the previous year.


5.1 ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION AND COMPONENTS OF POPULATION CHANGE(a)

Population

Births(a)
Deaths(a)
Natural
increase(a)
Net permanent and long-term movement
Category jumping(b)
Net overseas migration(c)
At end of
period
Increase(d)
Increase
Year ended 30 June
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
%

1996
250.4
126.4
124.0
109.7
-5.5
104.1
18,310.7
239.0
1.3
1997
253.7
127.3
126.4
94.4
-7.3
87.1
18,537.9
227.1
1.2
1998
249.1
129.3
119.9
79.2
7.2
86.4
18,759.6
221.7
1.2
1999
250.0
128.3
121.7
96.5
-11.4
85.1
18,984.2
224.6
1.2
2000
249.3
128.4
120.9
107.3
-8.2
99.1
19,225.3
241.2
1.3
2001
248.7
128.9
119.8
n.y.a.
n.y.a.
109.7
19,485.3
259.9
1.4

(a) Numbers of births and deaths are on a year of occurrence basis and differ from those shown in the births and deaths sections of this chapter.
(b) An adjustment for the effect of persons whose duration of stay (category) differs from their stated intentions, entailing a reclassification from short-term to permanent/long-term or vice versa.
(c) Net overseas migration is the sum of the net permanent and long-term movement plus category jumping.
(d) The difference between total growth and the sum of natural increase and net migration during 1996–2001 is due to preliminary intercensal discrepancy.

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).


Australia's growth rate of 1.3% for the 12 months to June 2000 was the same as the overall world growth rate. As shown in table 5.2, growth rates for Japan (0.2%), Germany (0.3%), the United Kingdom (0.3%) and New Zealand (0.5%) were considerably lower than that of Australia. In contrast, the populations of Singapore (with a growth rate of 3.6%), Papua New Guinea (2.5%), Hong Kong (SAR of China) (1.8%), Indonesia (1.7%) and India (1.6%) grew at faster rates than Australia's population.


5.2 POPULATION SIZE AND RATE OF GROWTH FOR SELECTED COUNTRIES

Population as at June

1999
2000
Increase
Country
million
million
%

Australia
19.0
19.2
1.3
China
1,250.5
1,261.8
0.9
Canada
31.0
31.3
1.0
Germany
82.6
82.8
0.3
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
7.0
7.1
1.8
India
997.9
1,014.0
1.6
Indonesia
221.1
224.8
1.7
Japan
126.3
126.6
0.2
Korea, Republic of
47.0
47.5
0.9
New Zealand
3.8
3.8
0.5
Papua New Guinea
4.8
4.9
2.5
Singapore
4.0
4.2
3.6
Taiwan
22.0
22.2
0.8
United Kingdom
59.4
59.5
0.3
United States of America
273.1
275.6
0.9
World
6,002.5
6,080.1
1.3

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0); Statistics New Zealand, 'National Population Estimates'; US Bureau of the Census, 'International Data Base'.


Population size

Australia's population of 19.5 million at June 2001 was around 2.2 million greater than in 1991 and over 15.7 million more than the 1901 population of 3.8 million. Graph 5.3 shows the growth in Australia's population since 1788. The main component of Australia's population growth has been natural increase (the difference between births and deaths), which has contributed about two-thirds of the total growth since the beginning of the 20th century. Net overseas migration has also contributed to natural increase, albeit indirectly, through children born to migrants. Components of population growth are discussed in more detail in the next section.

Graph - 5.3 Population of Australia



Table 5.4 shows that population growth has not occurred evenly across the states and territories. At Federation, South Australia had nearly twice the population of Western Australia, which in turn had only slightly more people than Tasmania. However, in 1982 Western Australia surpassed South Australia as the fourth most populous state.


5.4 POPULATION

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

1901
1,361.7
1,203.0
502.3
356.1
188.6
171.7
4.8
. .
3,788.1
1911
1,660.4
1,319.4
617.5
410.8
287.8
188.6
3.3
1.8
4,489.5
1921
2,103.4
1,535.7
766.4
497.1
333.9
212.0
3.9
2.6
5,455.1
1931
2,554.5
1,799.5
926.8
575.8
432.2
224.0
5.0
8.6
6,526.5
1941
2,798.3
1,933.5
1,038.3
600.3
474.8
239.7
10.1
15.0
7,109.9
1951
3,278.0
2,276.6
1,227.7
732.4
580.3
286.2
15.6
24.9
8,421.8
1961
3,918.5
2,930.4
1,527.5
971.5
746.8
350.3
44.5
58.8
10,548.3
1971
4,725.5
3,601.4
1,851.5
1,200.1
1,053.8
398.1
85.7
151.2
13,067.3
1981
5,234.9
3,946.9
2,345.2
1,318.8
1,300.1
427.2
122.6
227.6
14,923.3
1991
5,898.7
4,420.4
2,961.0
1,446.3
1,636.1
466.8
165.5
289.3
17,284.0
1999
6,438.6
4,700.7
3,508.6
1,499.2
1,854.4
472.0
194.2
313.8
18,984.2
2000
6,520.2
4,759.0
3,570.3
1,506.8
1,879.9
472.1
197.4
317.0
19,225.3
2001
6,609.3
4,822.7
3,635.1
1,514.9
1,906.1
472.9
200.0
321.7
19,485.3

(a) The population for Australia includes Other Territories in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Other Territories include Jervis Bay Territory, previously included with the ACT, as well as Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, previously excluded from population estimates for Australia.

Source: 1901-91: Australian Historical Population Statistics - on AusStats (3105.0.65.001); 1999-2001: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).


Population growth

Population growth results from natural increase and net overseas migration (net permanent and long-term arrivals and departures plus an adjustment for category jumping (see footnote (b) to table 5.1)).

Australia's population grew from 3.8 million at the beginning of the 20th century to 19.5 million in 2001. During the 1950s Australia experienced consistently high rates of growth, with an average annual increase of 2.3% from 1950 to 1959, while during the 1930s Australia experienced relatively low growth (0.9%).

Natural increase has been the main source of the growth since the beginning of the 20th century, contributing two-thirds of the total increase between 1901 and 2001. 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.

The yearly growth rates due to natural increase and net overseas migration from 1901 to 2001 are shown in graph 5.5.

Graph - 5.5 Components of Population Growth



In 1901 the rate of natural increase was 14.9 persons per 1,000 population. Over the next four decades the rate increased (to a peak of 17.4 per 1,000 population in the years 1912, 1913 and 1914), then declined (to a low of 7.1 per 1,000 population in 1934 and 1935). In the mid to late 1940s the rate increased sharply as a result of the beginning of the baby boom and the immigration of many young people who then had children in Australia, with a plateau of rates of over 13.0 persons per 1,000 population for every year from 1946 to 1962.

Since 1962, falling fertility has led to a fall in the rate of natural increase. In 1971 the rate was 12.7 persons per 1,000 population; a decade later it had fallen to 8.5. In 1996 the rate of natural increase fell below 7 for the first time, with the downward trend continuing from then on. ABS population projections indicate that continued low fertility, combined with the increase in deaths from an ageing population, will result in natural increase falling below zero sometime in the mid 2030s.

Since 1901, the crude death rate has fallen from 12.2 deaths per 1,000 population to 6.6 in 2001. Crude birth and death rates from 1901 to 2001 are shown in graph 5.6.

Graph - 5.6 Components of Natural Increase



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