3311.5 - Demography, Western Australia, 1997  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/01/1999   
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January 18, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

WA population continues to grow and age - ABS

Demography WA 1997, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, presents a comprehensive description of the demographic structure of Western Australia by drawing on 1997 data to examine demographic trends.

Highlights include:
    • The population of Western Australia was 1.81 million people at 31 December 1997, an increase of 1.6% from 1996. This was less than the 2.1% growth in the Northern Territory and 1.7% in Queensland but well above the national increase of 1.1%.
    • The population increase from 1996 was 29,194 people, 48.1% being from natural increase, 41.5% from overseas migration and 10.4% from interstate migration.
    • The population of WA has continued to age, 10.4% being 65 years and over in 1997 compared with 9.3% in 1987.

    • The crude birth rate continued to fall to 13.8 births per 1,000 population, and the net reproduction rate of 0.853 shows that fertility is below replacement level.
    • Most births still occur within registered marriages. In 1997, 69.2% of women giving birth were in a registered marriage.
    • Ex-nuptial births have continued to rise from 19.8% of all births in 1987 to 30.8% in 1997. At the same time the proportion of ex-nuptial births for which paternity is acknowledged has risen from 71.0% to 84.9%.
    • In 1997, the median age of Indigenous mothers was 23.9 years compared with 29.2 years for all mothers.

    • The median age at death has increased from 71.4 years for males and 77.3 years for females in 1987 to 73.6 years for males and 80.8 years for females in 1997. The median age at death for the Indigenous population in 1997 was 48.6 years for males and 57.6 years for females.
    • Deaths of infants under one year of age constituted 5.7% of all Indigenous deaths compared with 1.2% for the total WA population.

    • People are marrying later, the age at which men marry for the first time increasing from 26.0 years in 1987 to 28.1 years in 1997. The ages for women increased from 23.7 to 26.1 years.


    • The median age at divorce has increased by 3.4 years for men and 3.6 years for women between 1987 and 1997. Two factors are increasing age at marriage and the median duration of marriages increasing from 11.0 years in 1987 to 12.0 years in 1997.

Details are in Demography WA 1997 (cat. no. 3311.5) available in ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication may be found at this site.