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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2006   
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Contents >> Chapter 5 - Population >> Population size and growth

POPULATION SIZE AND GROWTH

Australia's estimated resident population at June 2004 was just over 20.1 million, an increase of 1.2% over the previous year (table 5.1). This figure has increased by 12% over the past decade. Australia's growth rate of 1.2% for the 12 months to June 2004 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


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

1999
250.0
128.3
121.7
96.5
18,925.9
214.6
1.15
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
254.6
133.6
121.0
117.6
20,111.3
238.7
1.20

(a) Includes Other Territories.
(b) Numbers of births and deaths are on year of occurrence basis and differ from those shown in the births and deaths section 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).


When compared with other countries, Australia's population growth rate was similar to New Zealand (1.1%); higher than Canada (0.9%), the United States of America (0.9%), and Hong Kong (0.7%); 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 (2.4%) and Malaysia (1.9%). China (0.6%), ranked as the largest population, 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 2004 and project a fall to 64th position by 2050.


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



2003
2004
Growth rate
2050
2004
2050
Country
million
million
%
million
no.
no.

Australia
19.9
20.1
1.2
26.4
52
64
Canada
32.2
32.5
0.9
41.4
35
43
China
1,291.5
1,298.8
0.6
1,424.2
1
2
Germany
82.4
82.4
0.0
73.6
14
22
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
6.8
6.9
0.7
6.2
98
116
India
1,049.7
1,065.1
1.5
1,601.0
2
1
Indonesia
234.9
238.5
1.5
336.2
4
5
Japan
127.2
127.3
0.1
99.9
9
17
Malaysia
23.1
23.5
1.9
43.1
46
42
New Zealand
4.0
4.0
1.1
4.8
122
125
Papua New Guinea
5.3
5.4
2.4
10.7
107
92
Singapore
4.3
4.4
1.8
4.6
119
130
Thailand
63.3
63.7
0.7
69.3
19
25
United Kingdom
60.1
60.3
0.3
64.0
21
29
United States of America
290.3
293.0
0.9
420.1
3
3

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0); US Census Bureau, 'International Data Base', viewed 21/07/05, <http://www.census.gov>.


Australia's estimated resident population of 20.1 million at 30 June 2004 has grown by nearly 2.2 million persons 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 has increased by 16.4 million persons. Graph 5.3 shows the growth in Australia's population since European settlement in 1788.

Graph 5.3: POPULATION OF AUSTRALIA

Table 5.4 shows that population growth has not occurred evenly across the states and territories. The proportion of Australia's population resident in each state and territory has changed over time. From 1954 to 2004 the proportion of the Australian population living within New South Wales, the most populous state, decreased (from 38% to 33%), as did Victoria (from 27% to 25%), South Australia (9% to 8%) and Tasmania (3% to 2%). All other states and territories show an increase over this same time. The proportion of Australia's population living in Queensland increased from 15% in 1954 to 19% in 2004. Likewise, during the same period Western Australia experienced an increase from 7% to 10%, the Australian Capital Territory from less than 1% to 2% and the Northern Territory from less than 1% in 1954 to 1% in 2004. Western Australia became the fourth most populous state in 1983, overtaking South Australia.


5.4 POPULATION, By states and territories

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

1954
3,423.5
2,452.3
1,318.3
797.1
639.8
308.8
16.5
30.3
8,986.5
1964
4,107.9
3,105.5
1,610.7
1,038.0
808.4
364.3
51.5
80.3
11,166.7
1974
4,894.1
3,755.7
2,008.3
1,241.5
1,127.6
406.2
102.9
186.2
13,722.6
1984
5,402.7
4,076.5
2,523.9
1,360.0
1,391.2
437.8
142.2
245.1
15,579.4
1994
6,060.2
4,487.6
3,187.1
1,466.1
1,703.0
472.9
173.4
301.5
17,854.7
2001
6,575.2
4,804.7
3,628.9
1,511.7
1,901.2
471.8
197.8
319.3
19,413.2
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
6,731.3
4,972.8
3,882.0
1,534.3
1,982.2
482.1
199.9
324.0
20,111.3

(a) Includes Other Territories from 1997. Prior to 1997 Jervis Bay territory was included with the ACT, and Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands were excluded from population estimates for Australia.

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0); Australian Historical Population Statistics (3105.0.65.001).


COMPONENTS OF POPULATION GROWTH

Over the last 50 years the population has more than doubled from a resident population of 9 million in 1954 to over 20 million in 2004. Natural increase has been the main component of population growth in Australia over the past 50 years, 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.

The yearly growth rates due to natural increase and net overseas migration from 1954 to 2004 are shown in graph 5.5.

Graph 5.5: COMPONENTS OF POPULATION GROWTH



Fifty years ago, Australia was in the midst of a baby boom. In 1954 the rate of natural increase was 13.4 persons per 1,000 population, peaking at 14.3 in 1961. After 1962, declining fertility led to a fall in the rate of natural increase. The rate of natural increase rose in the late-1960s, reaching a peak of 13.1 persons per 1,000 population in 1971; a decade later it had fallen to 8.6. In 1996 the rate of natural increase fell below 7.0 for the first time in Australia's history. This downward trend continued, reaching 6.1 persons per 1,000 population in 2004. ABS population projections suggest that continued low fertility, combined with an increase in deaths due to an ageing population, would result in natural increase falling below zero sometime in the mid-2030s.


In 2004 the crude death rate was 6.6 deaths per 1,000 population, falling from 9.1 in 1954. The crude birth rate has declined from 22.5 births per 1,000 population recorded in 1954 to 12.7 in 2004. The lowest ever birth rate, just over 12.6 births per 1,000 population, was recorded in 2003. Crude birth and death rates from 1954 to 2004 are shown in graph 5.6.


Graph 5.6: COMPONENTS OF NATURAL INCREASE


POPULATION AGE AND SEX STRUCTURE

Over the last 50 years the absolute number of persons has increased in all age groups. However, the proportion of the total population in older age groups has increased while the proportion in younger age groups has declined. Graph 5.7 shows the proportions of the population by age group and sex in 1954 and 2004, illustrating the ageing of Australia's population. Australia's population is ageing because of sustained low fertility - which has resulted in proportionally fewer children in the population - and increased life expectancy.

5.7 AGE DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION - 1954 and 2004
Graph 5.7: AGE DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION - 1954 and 2004

(a) The 85+ age group includes all ages 85 years and over and is not directly comparable with the other 5-year age groups.

Source: Australian Historical Population Statistics (3105.0.65.001); Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (3201.0).


In 1954 there were 105,700 more males than females in Australia's population, while in 2004 there were 122,200 more females than males. Since 1979 Australia has been home to more females than males.

In 1954, people under 15 years of age represented 28.6% of Australia's population. Those aged 15-64 years represented 63% and those aged 65 years and over represented 8%. Although Australia's population has continued to grow since 1954, the proportion of people aged 15-64 years increased to 67% in 2004. During this period the proportion of children 0-14 years decreased to 20%, although their absolute numbers increased, while the proportion of the population aged 65 years or more increased to 13% (graph 5.8).

Graph 5.8: POPULATION, By age group



The median age of the Australian population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) has increased by 5.9 years in the last 20 years from 30.5 years in 1984 to 36.4 years in 2004. Graph 5.9 shows the median ages of the population for the states and territories in 1984 and 2004.


Graph 5.9: MEDIAN AGE OF POPULATION



In 2004 the population of South Australia had the highest median age of all states and territories (38.5 years) followed by Tasmania (38.4 years) and New South Wales (36.6 years). The Northern Territory (30.6 years) had the lowest median age.


Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age over the 20 years to 2004, increasing by 8.5 years from 29.9 years in 1984 to 38.4 years in 2004. The next largest increase was South Australia at 7.1 years, increasing from 31.4 years in 1984 to 38.5 years in 2004.

There were just over 2.6 million people (13% of the total population) in Australia aged 65 years or more in June 2004, an increase of 58,500 people (2%) from June 2003 with all states and territories experiencing growth in this age group. The Northern Territory (6%), the Australian Capital Territory (3%) and Western Australia (3%) experienced the greatest increase in persons aged 65 years or more.


5.10 POPULATION AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER, Proportion and growth

Proportion of population in 2004
Growth of population between 2003 and 2004
%
%

New South Wales
13.5
1.8
Victoria
13.3
2.1
Queensland
12.0
3.2
South Australia
15.0
1.6
Western Australia
11.6
3.3
Tasmania
14.3
2.1
Northern Territory
4.4
6.3
Australian Capital Territory
9.3
3.5
Australia(a)
13.0
2.3

(a) Includes Other Territories.

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


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