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Newsletters - Demography News - January 2004


Based on the latest available data, ABS has announced that Australia's population was projected to reach 20 Million on 4 December 2003. This significant milestone in Australia's demographic history was marked by a celebration at ABS House in Canberra featuring a keynote address by The Hon. Peter Costello M.P., Treasurer. Video and audio files of the Treasurer's speech and a link to the text of the speech can be found on the ABS Population Clock page on the ABS website. Eminent Australian demographer Professor Graeme Hugo, University of Adelaide provided a historical review of Australia's population change. The event was widely reported in the Australian media including special features on Australia's population change, and hundreds of photos of newborn babies.

Due to the variability of population change, it is not possible to identify who the 20 millionth person would have been, or exactly when it happened. It could have been a newborn baby, a new migrant to Australia, or an Australian citizen returning from overseas after a few years. However, to further celebrate this significant population milestone, ABS has offered a congratulatory 20,000,000 certificate signed by the Australian Statistician to all babies born in Australia over a 48 hour period between 12:00 midnight 3 December 2003 and 12:00 midnight 5 December 2003. Parents may apply on behalf of their newborns by sending a photocopy of the child's official birth certificate (issued by the relevant Australian State or Territory Registrar or Births, Deaths and Marriages) showing the child's full name and date of birth, and return address details to:

"20,000,000 Certificate"
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10

Requests for certificates can be made up until 30 June 2004. The 20,000,000 certificates are a celebration gift from the ABS and are not an official birth certificate and cannot be used as proof of identity.

For more information please contact Patrick Corr on (02) 6252 6411 or


The preliminary estimated resident population of Australia at June 2003 was 19.9 million persons, an increase of around 240,500 persons since June 2002. The world population at June 2003 was estimated to be 6.3 billion persons, an increase of around 74 million since June 2002.

For the 12 months ended June 2003 Australia's population growth rate (1.2%) was the same as the world's population growth rate (1.2%). When compared with selected countries it was the same as Hong Kong (1.2%), comparable with New Zealand (1.1%), higher than Japan and Germany (each 0.1%) and lower than Singapore (3.5%).

The June Quarter 2003 issue of
Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) issued 11 December 2003 shows, together with regular data, a comparison of Australia's population growth with the growth experienced by selected overseas countries.

For more information please contact Rachael Hill on (02) 6252 6296 or

The June 2003 issue of Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (cat. no. 3201.0) was released on 19 December 2003. For more information please contact Mike Nunn on (02) 6252 6755 or


In 2002 the median age of all women giving birth was 30.2 years, the highest on record, while the median age of fathers was 32.5 years.

There were 251,000 births registered in Australia during 2002. This was 4,600 births (1.9%) more than 2001 and the highest since 1997. The total fertility rate was 1.75 babies per woman. This rate has been relatively stable since 1998, ranging between 1.73 and 1.76 babies per woman, and remained lower than that of the United States of America (2.1 babies per woman) and New Zealand (2.0), but higher than that of the United Kingdom (1.6), Japan (1.3) and many European countries such as Germany (1.4), Greece (1.3) and Italy (1.2).

Women aged 30-34 years experienced the highest age-specific fertility rate in 2002, with 111 babies per 1,000 women. Fertility of 20-24 year old women has continued to decline, with rates almost halving over the past two decades, from 104 babies per 1,000 women in 1982 to 56 babies per 1,000 women in 2002. Fertility of women aged 25-29 years has also decreased considerably, from 145 babies per 1,000 women in 1982 to 104 babies per 1,000 women in 2002.

The Births, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 3301.0) publication was released on 18 November 2003.

For more information please contact Matthew Montgomery on (02) 6252 6487 or


In 2002, 133,700 deaths were registered in Australia, 5,160 (4%) more than in 2001 (128,500). Registered male deaths (68,900) outnumbered female deaths (64,800) in 2002, giving a sex ratio of 106 male deaths for every 100 female deaths, a decrease from 123 in 1982. In 2002, the Northern Territory had the highest sex ratio at death (161), while the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest (93). Since 1982, male deaths have increased by 9%, while female deaths have increased by 26%. This was due primarily to greater improvement in male mortality, relative to female mortality, at the older ages. Two-thirds of all male deaths and over three-quarters of all female deaths were aged 70 years and over.

Australians can enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world, but there is much variability in mortality statistics between different groups in Australia. Australia's 2000-02 life expectancy at birth of 77.4 years for males and 82.6 years for females was among the highest in the world. However life expectancy at birth varied across the regions of Australia by up to 11 years. In 2000-02, Australia's remote population had a lower life expectancy at birth and higher age-specific death rates than those who lived in major cities. More people living in very remote areas died from diabetes mellitus, accidental drownings and submersion, transport accidents and intentional self-harm than those in major cities.

The Deaths, Australia 2002 (cat. no. 3302.0) publication was released on 2 December 2003.

For more information please contact Jacqui Cristiano on (02) 6252 5117 or

The Causes of Death, Australia 2002 (cat. no. 3303.0) publication was also released on 2 December 2003.

For 2002, Malignant neoplasms and ischaemic heart diseases were the leading underlying causes of death for both males and females in 2002, responsible for 48% of deaths in Australia. The standardised death rate from malignant neoplasms for males was 241 per 100,000 in 2002, a 14% decrease from 1982. Over the same period, the standardised death rate for females from malignant neoplasms has decreased by 7% to 150 per 100,000.

In 2002, the standardised death rate from external causes for males was 57 deaths per 100,000, compared to a rate of 23 for females. These external causes included suicide, where the 2002 standardised death rate for males was almost four times that of females (19 per 100,000 compared to 5 respectively). Suicide accounted for 2,320 deaths in 2002, a 5% decrease in the number reported in 2001 (2,450).

In 2002, there were an estimated 645,500 years of potential life lost for males and 357,300 years for females. This is a measure based on the number of deceased aged between 1 and 78 years inclusive.

For more information please contact Peter Burke on (07) 3222 6069 or


People are more likely to be married by a civil celebrant than ever. Over the past twenty years, the proportion of marriages performed by civil celebrants has steadily increased. In 1982, 39% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants. In 2002, civil celebrants performed 55% of all registered marriages.

In 2002, 105,400 marriages were registered in Australia, 2% more than the twenty year low of 2001 (103,100). The number registered in 2002 was still less than in 1992 (114,800) and 1982 (117,300).

The Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 3310.0) publication was released on 26 November 2003. Divorce data are not yet available for 2002. This data will be released via the ABS web site when available in 2004.

For more information please contact Olivia Agius on (02) 6252 6573 or


In March 2003, the World Health Organisation issued an emergency travel advisory in response to the global threat of SARS. Combined with the impact of the anticipation and commencement of military action in Iraq, this had a significant impact on overseas arrivals and departures, particularly short-term movement. From March 2003 to the end of July 2003, the number of short-term visitor arrivals (1,698,700 movements) and short-term resident departures (1,286,000 movements) decreased by 10% and 13% respectively when compared to the previous year. May 2003 experienced the largest decline in short-term visitor arrivals (down 69,000 movements) and short-term resident departures (down 58,200 movements), with a decrease of 21% and 20% respectively compared to May 2002. Short-term movements during June and July 2003 also experienced a decline when compared to 2002 monthly data, although not as large as those recorded between March and May.

At the end of July 2003 the World Health Organisation declared the international outbreak of SARS to be over and international travel began to recover. In August 2003, short-term resident departures (296,900 movements) recorded an increase (5%) for the first time since the commencement of the SARS outbreak when compared to the corresponding month in 2002. In September 2003, there was also an increase (8%) of short-term visitor arrivals (385,600 movements) compared to September 2002. To date, the monthly figures for short-term movements have continued to record increases compared to 2002 monthly data.

For more information regarding Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0). For more information please contact Chrissy Beruldsen on (02) 6252 5640 or


The ABS previously announced its intention to cease the release of Short-term Visitor Arrivals to Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 3401.0.55.001) with the release of the December 2003 issue. Recent user feedback has identified emerging and continuing demand. These statistics are modelled estimates using recent overseas arrivals based on passport movement transaction and past disaggregrations from incoming passenger cards.

The title of the release will be changed to Short-term Visitor Arrival Estimates (cat. no. 3401.0.55.001) and will continue to be released on a monthly basis in 2004.

For more information see "What's new in tourism?" on the ABS Tourism theme page.


The ABS published new Net Overseas Migration figures for the financial years 2001-02 and 2002-03 on 11 December 2003 after a review of methodology (see Australian Demographic Statistics June quarter 2003). The new methodology is now in place and will be improved as more information becomes available. The new 2002-2003 estimates of Net Overseas Migration are preliminary. These will be revised in September 2004 after the accumulation of 15 months data after the June 2003 quarter. Similarly, preliminary quarterly estimates for 2004-2005 to be released over the coming 12 months will be revised in September 2005.

Available data on international movements have shown that a large number of people come into the country with the intention of staying long-term, have then made a second movement across the border within a 12 month period. A similar situation occurs with those residents of Australia who leave the country for more than 12 months. Conversely a large number of people arrive in Australia stating their intention to stay for less than 12 months (or in the case of Australian residents, stay away from Australia for less than 12 months), then subsequently stay on for more than 12 months.

Revised Net Overseas Migration for 2001-02 was approximately 110,600 (down 23,100 from previously published). Preliminary Net Overseas Migration for 2002-03 was 125,300 (up by 14,700 from 2001-02).

For more information please see the main features of Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2003 (cat. no. 3101.0) and Demography Working Paper 2003/5, Net Overseas Migration: Adjusting for Actual Duration of Stay or Absence or contact Phil Browning on (02) 6252 7612 or


To estimate quarterly net interstate migration for 1996 to 2001 a combination of 1996 Census and Medicare movement data was used to determine, for selected ages, 'expansion factors' for inflating quarterly Medicare changes of address data. These factors allow for the fact that changes of address advised to Medicare may not adequately cover all interstate movements of persons of these ages.

Using 2001 Census interstate migration information ABS investigated the calculation of new expansion factors. The effects of different sets of expansion factors on intercensal error had they been used for the period 1996 to 2001 were considered. The best performing set of factors was chosen for use in estimating interstate migration for 2001 to 2006. The new expansion factors were introduced for the June quarter 2003.

For more information please contact Matthew Montgomery on (02) 6252 6487 or


ABS will continue to release and print the quarterly publication, Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) in 2004. Unfortunately this publication was mistakenly omitted from the list of Publications to be Released in 2004 which was issued with ABS 2004 publication subscription renewals. ABS is contacting 2003 subscribers to this publication to offer continuing subscription for the printed publication. Clients also have the option of subscribing to a publication delivered by email, periodically purchasing an electronic copy of the publication from the ABS website or subscribing to a free email notification service.

In addition, from 2004, the ABS will be converting the previously printed publication on Marriages and Divorces (cat. no. 3310.0) into an electronic release on the ABS website, on AusStats and ABS@. The release of a printed publication will cease. To accompany the electronic release of marriage and divorce statistics, a special article summarising the key results each year will be included in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). Further details will be advised in future editions of this ABS Demography News.


'Understanding Demographic Data,' the popular one-day seminar offered by ABS Demography, will be held in Canberra in March 2004, and courses are planned for Perth and Sydney later in the year. The March 2004 Canberra course will cater mainly for ACT government representatives and courses catering for other organisations will be scheduled for later in the year.

The seminar provides an understanding of the demographic data framework and the processes which shape the population, and includes practical exercises in the analysis of demographic data. Key issues covered include:
        • Relationship of Census counts to Estimated Resident Population
        • Components of population growth: births; deaths; internal and overseas migration
        • How the ABS produces population estimates and projections, including for Indigenous people and small areas
        • The relevance of demographic data to society and the economy
        • Tools for demographic analysis, with practical exercises
        • Population dynamics such as population momentum, ageing and migration effects on the population profile.

Course notes and a copy of
Australian Demographic Statistics are provided. The cost per participant is $350, which includes a light lunch. A discount of $25 applies for those who register a month in advance.

To register for the Canberra course, contact Victoria Allen on (02) 6207 0277, or For more information on courses held in the rest of Australia, please contact Ian Appleby on (02) 6252 6141 or


ABS is pleased to support the 2004 Australian Population Association Conference (APA) as Principal Sponsor. The conference "Population and Society: Issues, Research and Policy" is being held in Canberra on 15-17 September 2004. The aims of this conference are to: provide an opportunity to present and discuss current and future population issues and their implications; stimulate discussion and debate about population policy futures; involve a wide range of individuals and organisations interested in population issues; encourage networking for those working on population matters; and provide support for young researchers and professionals.

A call for papers and registration of interest brochure is now available. Mark your diaries now and see for further information.


The ABS Demography section produces estimates of population by age, sex, country of birth, Indigenous status, registered marital status, geographical distribution and estimates of families and households. Projections of the population, families and households, according to specified demographic assumptions, are published on a regular basis and produced on request. Statistics are also regularly produced on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, overseas arrivals and departures and internal migration. The Demography area also produces estimation benchmarks for population surveys conducted by the ABS. In addition to reporting on statistics, courses are conducted and an email newsletter is sent to national and international government and commonwealth agencies and other major clients, including the media and non-profit organisations.


If you are seeking demography or any other ABS data, you can:

To subscribe to publications on a regular basis, email or call 1300 366 323.

Individual publications and other products can be purchased by:

To receive an email notice of future releases of ABS Demography News, unsubscribe or change your email address, please email

If you wish to discuss statistical issues, contacts are as outlined below. (02) 6252 6573 (02) 6252 5117
Migration - international and (02) 6252 6522
Overseas Arrivals and (02) 6252 5640
Marriages and divorces - (02) 6252 7030
Marriages and divorces - (02) 6252 6296
Households and (02) 6252 6487
Indigenous - (02) 6252 6663
Indigenous - (02) 6252 5129
Population (02) 6252 6573
Population - general and (02) 6252 6557

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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