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Newsletters - Demography News - December 2001

In this issue


Almost a quarter of a million (249,600) births were registered in Australia in 2000, the first increase since 1992.The fertility rate of 1.75 babies per woman in 2000, the same as in 1999. Over the past 25 years (from 1976) the fertility rate in Australia has remained below 2.1, the level required for a woman to replace herself and her partner.

Fertility rate varied substantially across the States and Territories, from 1.6 babies per woman in the Australian Capital Territory to 2.2 in the Northern Territory. If current fertility rates were to continue, 24% of all Australian women would remain childless at the end of their reproductive life. The highest childlessness proportion for women would be in the Australian Capital Territory (33%) followed by Victoria (31%).

Of all the capital cities, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra had the lowest fertility rate at 1.6 babies per woman each (averaged over 1998-2000). Darwin had the highest at 1.9. Generally, capital cities had a lower fertility rate than the balances of the States/Territories. The balance of Queensland had the lowest fertility (1.9) while the balance of the Northern Territory had the highest (2.4).

The median age of women having a baby (where half of mothers were younger and half were older) has continued to increase over the last 30 years, from 25.4 years in 1971 to 26.6 years in 1980 and 29.8 years in 2000. The median age of fathers also increased over time to 32.2 years in 2000, 2.4 years older than mothers. Indigenous mothers were younger with a median age of 24.5 years in 2000.

Further information is available in Births, Australia 2000 (Cat. No. 3301.0) released on 31 October 2001.


There were 128,300 deaths registered in Australia in 2000. The death rate continued to decline despite the ageing of the Australian population. The expectation of life at birth, calculated from the registered deaths during 1998-2000, has been the highest ever recorded in Australia, at 77 years for males and 82 years for females.

Life expectancy at birth for males and females varied across the States and Territories and the Statistical Divisions of Australia. For the States and Territories, the highest life expectancy at birth for males was in the Australian Capital Territory (78 years) and for females in Western Australia (83 years). Northern Territory had the lowest life expectancies (70 years for males and 75 years for females). Regional life expectancy estimates varied by up to 11 years. Male life expectancy at birth was highest in Canberra (79 years) followed by Outer Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth (each 78 years). Female life expectancy was highest at 83 years in Lower Great Southern (Western Australia), Midlands (Western Australia), Perth (Western Australia) and Moreton (Queensland). Both male and female life expectancy were lowest in the Northern Territory outside Darwin (69 years and 73 years respectively) and the Kimberley (69 years and 76 years).

Indigenous life expectancy at birth was estimated at 56 years for males and 63 years for females, nearly 20 years less than for the total population.

Further information is available in Deaths, Australia 2000 (Cat. No. 3302.0) and Causes of Death, Australia 2000 (Cat. No. 3303.0), released on 11 December 2001.


The preliminary estimated resident population of Australia at June 2001 was 19,386,700. The population increased by about a quarter of a million persons since June 2000. Because of a lack of international migration data, Net Overseas Migration has been assumed.

For the 12 months ended June 2001 Australia's population growth rate (1.2%) was slightly below the world's population growth rate (1.3%). When compared with selected countries it was the same as New Zealand (1.2%), comparable with Hong Kong (1.3%), higher than Japan and the United Kingdom (each 0.2%) and lower than Singapore (3.6%) and Papua New Guinea (2.5%).

The June Quarter 2001 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (Cat. no. 3101.0) issued 13 December 2001 shows, together with regular data, a comparison of Australia's population growth with the growth experienced by selected overseas countries.


Of Tasmania's 29 Local Government Areas, 10 are projected to grow under each of three projection scenarios, while 12 are projected to decline. However, the projections reveal little change in the relative regional population distributions in the next twenty years, with for example the Greater Hobart Statistical Division expected to maintain its 41% share if the State's population. Over the projection period, Tasmania's median age is projected to change from 36 years at 30 June 1999 to between 44 and 45 years in 2021. The age structure at the end of the projection period will be significantly different, with 0 -14 year olds accounting for 15 to 16 % of the State population (21% in 1999), and persons 65 years and over, representing 22 to 23 % of the projected population in 2021 (13% in 1999). For further information, see Population Projections, Tasmania, 1999-2021 (Cat. no. 3222.6) released on 10 October 2001. Full data is available in electronic form from AusStats.


AusStats is a web based information service providing you with the ABS' full standard product range (both free and charged material) on-line. It also includes data cubes presented using multidimensional datasets in SuperTABLE format, time series spreadsheets and external links. AusStats now includes:

Demographic statistics currently available on AusStats via data cubes and time series spreadsheets include:
    • Population projections for States/Territories to 2051.
    • Population projections for Statistical Local Areas and postal areas throughout Australia
    • Household and family projections for Statistical Local Areas throughout Australia.


The aim of this one day course is to provide an understanding of the framework of demographic data and the processes which shape the population. The course covers the relationship between Census data and Estimated Resident Population data; components of population growth; population projections; estimating the population of small areas; some tools for analysing demographic data and population dynamics. The course costs $342 per participant and includes a light lunch, course notes and a copy of Australian Demographic Statistics, Cat. no. 3101.0.

The course continues to be well received and is contributing to a better understanding and use of ABS's demographic data among a wide range of clients from Commonwealth, State and Local Government bodies, business and community groups.

The next courses are scheduled for Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin, Alice Springs and Melbourne. If you would like more information or to register, please email or telephone the contact person listed below for the relevant centre.

Canberra course on 15 March 2002 - Tina Ryan or 02 6207 0105.
Adelaide course on 10 April 2002 - Krystyna McKinley krystyna or 08 8237 7367,
Darwin course on 16 April 2002 - Megha Raut or 08 8943 2122,
Alice Springs course on 18 April 2002 - Megha Raut or 08 8943 2122, and
Melbourne courses on 4 and 5 June 2002 - Carol Soloff or 03 9615 7384.

For general inquiries please contact Sue Taylor or 02 6252 6141.


Associated with the introduction of new passenger card processing arrangements from August 2000, there have been major delays in the provision of final overseas arrivals and departure data by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) .

Because of the use of overseas arrivals and departures data in population estimates which affects State and Territory Government funding, DIMIA is giving priority to processing passenger cards for July 2001 and subsequent months before finalising processing of earlier months - August 2000 through to June 2001. Firm release dates of final OAD data are not available. Further information on the expected release of final OAD data will be updated on the Demography Theme page on the ABS web site <>, and in future issues of Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (ABS Cat. No.3401.0)

Because of the delays, Migration, Australia 2000-01 (Cat. no. 3412.0) has been withdrawn from publication. It is proposed to include 2000-01 data in appropriate supplementary tables in the 2001-02 issue of this publication.


Proposed outputs and their timing are outlined in Demography Working Paper 2001/6 - Rebasing Australia's Demographic Estimates Using The 2001 Census Of Population And Housing has now been placed on the ABS web site for comment.


The ABS proposes to incorporate unauthorised arrivals into population estimates from the release of the 2001 Census-based population estimates onwards. Unauthorised arrivals are proposed to be included after they have been in Australia for 12 months, or at the time of their release (or escape) into the community, whatever is earlier. Unauthorised arrivals who are removed from Australia within 12 months will not be included in population estimates.

Further information is contained in Demography Working Paper 2001/8 - Incorporating Unauthorised Arrivals into Population Estimates available on the ABS web site. Comments on the proposed method are sought by the end of January 2002.

Australian Population Association Conference

The 11th biennial conference of the Australian Population Association (APA) will be held at the University of New South Wales in Sydney from 2-4 October 2002. The APA invites expressions of interest in presenting papers or posters, in organising sessions, in sponsorship of the conference, or in attending. The Call for Papers and Registration of Interest brochure is available on the APA web site


Coinciding with the release of Estimated Resident Population by Statistical Local Area (SLA) in February each year, the ABS prepares estimates of the population involved in boundary changes between the current and the previous versions of the Australian Standard Geographic Classification (ASGC). The population changes are listed in the appendix of Regional Population Growth, ABS Cat. no. 3218.0. A full concordance data set linking the current ASGC with the previous ASGC in terms of these total population changes at the SLA level is available upon request. For more information contact Andrew Howe or 08 8237 7370).


Patrick Corr has replaced John Paice as Director, ABS Demography. Patrick was previously located in the ABS Office in Sydney.


The demography component produces estimates of the 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 for individual clients. Statistics are also regularly produced on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, overseas arrivals and departures and internal migration. For the ABS and other population surveys, benchmarks to facilitate estimation are provided. In addition to reporting on statistics, courses are conducted and an email newsletter is sent to major clients.


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If you wish to discuss statistical issues, contacts are as outlined below. 6252 6573 6252 7546
Migration - international and 6252 6522
Marriages and divorces - 6252 7430
Marriages and divorces - 6252 6296
Households and 6252 6141
Indigenous - 8943 2141
Indigenous - 6252 5129
Population - general or 6252 6557

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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