25 Million Population Milestone

When will Australia’s population reach 25 million?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Population Clock the Australian population will reach 25 million just after 11pm on 7 August 2018 Australian Eastern Standard Time.

How do we arrive at that number?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Population Clock is an indication of the current population, it is not an official population estimate.

The ABS Population Clock projects out from a known base to provide a real-time projection of Australia's current population. It is determined by adding the same number of births and subtracting the same number of deaths as the previous year, and using an annual forecast of net overseas migration based on Department of Home Affairs’ figures.

The current projection is based on the estimated resident population at 31 December 2017 and assumes growth since then of:

  • one birth every 1 minute and 42 seconds,
  • one death every 3 minutes and 16 seconds,
  • one person arriving to live in Australia every 1 minute and 1 second,
  • one Australian resident leaving Australia to live overseas every 1 minute and 51 seconds, leading to
  • an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 23 seconds.

How long has it been since we reached 24 million? Previous milestones?
Australia reached:
  • 24 million in January 2016
  • 23 million in February 2013
  • 22 million in May 2010
  • 21 million in December 2007
  • 20 million in October 2004
  • 15 million in October 1981
  • 12.5 million in 1970 (half of 25 million)
  • 10 million in 1959
  • 5 million in 1918

When will we reach 26 million?
Over the last three years, Australia’s population has grown by around 400,000 people per year. If this trend continued, we expect to reach 26 million in the next two to four years. The ABS is currently working on updated population projections based on the final results of the 2016 Census, and using the most recent trends in the data. These projections will be released on 22 November 2018, in Population Projections, Australia (cat. no. 3222.0).

Why are the ABS’ population statistics a reliable source of data?
Australia’s population estimates are based on the five-yearly Census of Population and Housing, and updated with births, deaths and migration data.

What are the population statistics used for?
  • Allocating funds to the states and territories
  • Allocating the number of seats for the House of Representatives
  • Planning for infrastructure, transport, community services and the environment by public, private and community sectors

Can the ABS change or influence the rate of population growth?
No. Population growth is dependent on birth and death rates and net migration.

How much of Australia’s population growth is due to migration?
Over 2017, Australia’s population increased by 388,000 people, with 240,000 (62%) of this growth due to net overseas migration. The remainder (148,000, or 38%) is due to natural increase.

What are the most common overseas countries of birth today?
In 2016, there were 6.9 million Australians born overseas. The most popular countries of overseas-born Australians were England (14%), New Zealand (9%) and China (8%).

How has the population changed since 1901?

1901
(Federation)
1970
(when Australia had half today's population)
2017
(31 December)

Total Australian population
3,788,123
12,507,349
24,770,709
Population growth rate (annual)
1.5%
2.0%
1.6%
Number of births
102,945
257,516
308,488
Total fertility rate (births per woman)
Not available
2.9
1.8
Sex ratio (males per 100 females
110.1
101.2
98.4
Life expectancy (years)
55.2 for males, 58.8 for females (1901-1910)
68.3 for males, 74.8 for females (1971)
80.4 for males, 84.6 for females (2014-2016)
Median age (a)
22.5
27.5
37.3
Born in Australia
2,908,303
10,000,000
17,254,110
Born in Australia (%)
77%
80%
72.0%
Born in UK (includes Ireland in 1901)
679,159
1,100,000
1,197,970
Born in UK (includes Ireland in 1901) (%)
17.9%
8.0%
5.0%

(a) The median population is the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

The total Australian population has doubled since 1970 and increased by around six times since Federation in 1901, rising from 3.8 million. The population is growing slightly faster now (1.6% over the 2017 calendar year) than it was in 1901 (1.5%), but more slowly than in 1970 (2.0%).

Currently around 308,000 babies are born in Australia each year. The total fertility rate has dropped considerably since 1970 (2.9 babies per woman), with Australia’s total fertility rate in 2017 being 1.8 babies per woman.

The sex ratio in Australia has also changed over time. Currently women, rather than men, make up the majority of the population, with 98 males per 100 females. In 1901, males outnumbered females by 110 males to 100 females.

Australia also has an older population than it did in the past. In 1901, the median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) was 22.5 years, rising to 27.5 years by 1970. Australia’s median age has since risen to 37.3 years in 2017.

In 2016, 28% of Australians were born overseas, with the most common overseas country of birth remaining the United Kingdom, followed by New Zealand, China and India.

By state/territory

1901
1970
2017 (30 June)

New South Wales
1,361,736
4,522,330
7,861,068
Sydney
496,990
2,751,830
5,131,326
Sydney as % of New South Wales
36%
61%
65%
Victoria
1,203,000
3,444,936
6,323,606
Melbourne
501,580
2,447,600
4,850,740
Melbourne as % of Victoria
42%
71%
77%
Queensland
502,279
1,792,743
4,928,457
Brisbane
120,650
847,220
2,408,223
Brisbane as % of Queensland
24%
47%
49%
South Australia
356,074
1,157,987
1,723,548
Adelaide
162,200
826,850
1,333,927
Adelaide as % of South Australia
46%
71%
77%
Western Australia
188,566
991,354
2,580,354
Perth
70,700
671,900
2,043,138
Perth as % of Western Australia
37%
68%
79%
Tasmania
171,703
387,720
520,877
Hobart
36,060
151,230
226,884
Hobart as % Tasmania
21%
39%
44%
Northern Territory
4,765
78,811
246,105
Darwin
Not available
32,900
146,612
Darwin as % of Northern Territory
Not available
42%
60%
Australian Capital Territory
Not applicable
131,468
410,301
Capital Cities as % of Australia
37%
63%
67%
Australia
3,788,123
12,507,349
24,598,933


In 1901, only two states had a population of more than one million people; New South Wales, with 1.4 million people, followed by Victoria, with 1.2 million people. By 1970, Queensland and South Australia also had more than a million people, with New South Wales and Victoria having grown to more than 4 million and more than 3 million respectively. In 2017, New South Wales remained the state with the largest population, with 7.9 million people, followed by Victoria with 6.3 million.

As Australia’s population has grown, an increasing proportion of us now live in the capital cities of the states and territories. In 1901, most Australians lived outside the capital cities of their state, with 36% of New South Wales living in Sydney and 42% of Victoria living in Melbourne. By 2017, most of the 24.6 million Australians were living in capital cities, 65% of New South Wales living in Sydney and 77% of Victoria living in Melbourne. The only states where a majority of the population lives outside the capital city were Tasmania (44% living in Hobart) and Queensland (49% living in Brisbane).