1338.1 - NSW State and Regional Indicators, Dec 2008 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2009   
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Population statistics measure the size, growth, composition and geographic distribution of people; as well as the components which shape population change - notably births, deaths and migration.


Almost one in three Australians live in NSW. At June 2007, the NSW population reached 6.89 million people, an increase of 71,900 people (1.1%) since June 2006. The largest component of this population growth was net overseas migration - a gain of 54,900 people. Natural increase (births minus deaths) accounted for a further increase of 44,300 people. During the same period, NSW recorded a net loss of 27,300 people to other states and territories.

Graph: Components of Population Change, NSW—2004–07

NSW's population is predominantly urban with 63% (4.34 million people) living in the Sydney Statistical Division (SD). A further 20% (1.36 million people) were located in other coastal Local Government Areas (LGAs). This reflects the population's preference for living in major urban areas or near the sea.

NSW has an ageing population. The proportion of the population aged 65 years or older continues to expand as more 'baby boomers' enter their retirement years. In 2007, nearly 14% of the NSW population were aged 65 years or over, an increase of nearly one percentage point since 1997. The median age of the population of NSW has also continued to increase. At June 2007, the median age for people in NSW was 37.0 years, an increase of 2.2 years since 1997.


Based on the June 2006 experimental estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 29% (148,200 people) of Australia's Indigenous population lived in NSW.

The Indigenous population is generally younger than the non-Indigenous population. In 2006, over one-third (38%) of NSW's Indigenous population were aged 0-14 years, twice the proportion recorded for non-Indigenous children (19%). In contrast, just over 3% of Indigenous people were aged 65 years or older compared with 14% of non-Indigenous people.

AGE POPULATION PYRAMID, By Indigenous status, NSW — 2007
Diagram: AGE POPULATION PYRAMID, By Indigenous status, NSW—2007

As a result, there is a large difference in the median ages of these population groups. In 2006, the median age for Indigenous people in NSW was 20.7 years, an increase of 0.8 years since 1996. This is significantly younger than the 37.2 years recorded in 2006 for non-Indigenous people.


Australia has a very mobile population with a constant flow of people moving between states and territories. In 2006-07, NSW experienced a net interstate migration loss of 27,300 people, with 81,100 people arriving and 108,400 departing the state. Interstate departures outnumbered arrivals across all age groups.

Interstate mobility was highest among younger people. In 2006-07, the largest net migration loss in NSW was for people aged 15-24 years (-6,800). Interstate mobility peaked for people aged 25-34 years (19,800 arrivals and 25,600 departures), then declined steadily for people in all age groups over 35 years.

Graph: Interstate Migration, By age, NSW—2006–07


The total fertility rate (TFR) for women in NSW has been declining since the early 1960s when it was above three births per woman. By 1976 it had fallen to below 2.1 births per woman, the TFR required to maintain a stable population and by 1986 it had further declined to 1.9. Low overall fertility characterised the next 20 years to 2006 when the TFR was recorded as 1.8.

During the last 20 years another feature of fertility has been the shift of the peak age of mothers at childbirth. In 1986 NSW women aged 25-29 years had the highest age specific fertility rate (142.3 births per 1,000 women). By 2006 the peak fertility rate had shifted to women aged 30-34 years (120.0). Between 1986 and 2006 fertility rates in general decreased for women in all age groups under 30 years. In line with this fertility shift, the median age of mothers giving birth has also increased from 27.6 years in 1986 to 31.0 years in 2006.

Graph: Age-specific fertility rates(a), NSW—1986–2006


ABS 2006 Census of Population and Housing

ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departures Collection (cat. no. 3401.0)

Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0)

Australian Historical Population Statistics (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001)

Births, Australia (cat. no. 3301.0)

Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0)

Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (cat. no. 3238.0)

Life Tables, New South Wales (cat. no. 3302.1.55.001)

Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0)

Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (cat. no. 3201.0)

Regional Population Growth, Australia (cat. no. 3218.0)