3311.5 - Demography, Western Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/01/2003   
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The estimated resident population of Western Australia at December 2001 was 1.9 million which was 9.8% of the Australian total. The main contributors to population growth in 2001 were net overseas migration (15,600) and natural increase (13,200). Western Australia also experienced a loss of 3,600 people to interstate migration. Queensland was the fastest growing state/territory in 2001 with a growth rate of 1.9%. Victoria and Western Australia were next with a growth rate of 1.3%.

At June 2001, the Statistical Division (SD) of Perth had the highest estimated resident population with 1.4 million people. The South West SD had the second highest estimated resident population with 194,900 persons. Approximately 84% of the population of Western Australia lived in these two Statistical Divisions.

The most populous Statistical Local Area (SLA) outside the Perth SD was Mandurah, with an estimated resident population of 49,200. Sandstone, with an estimated resident population of 140, was the least populous SLA in Western Australia.


In 2001, there were 24,000 births registered to mothers usually residing in Western Australia. The Western Australian crude birth rate of 12.6 births per 1,000 estimated resident population was equal to the national rate. Four states/territories had higher crude birth rates - the Northern Territory with 19.1, Tasmania (13.6), Queensland (13.1) and New South Wales (12.8).

In Western Australia, the median age of mothers for all confinements in 2001 was 29.8 years, slightly less than the national figure of 30.0 years. The state/territory with the highest median age was Victoria (30.7 years) and the lowest was the Northern Territory (27.9 years).

The Upper Great Southern SD had the highest total fertility rate (2.56) of all Statistical Divisions in Western Australia while the Perth SD had the lowest (1.66).


In 2001, there were 10,800 deaths registered where the deceased was usually resident in Western Australia. The crude death rate was 5.7 deaths per 1,000 estimated resident population which was the third lowest of all the states/territories after the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The rate was also lower than the national rate of 6.6.

Standardised death rates (SDRs) enable the comparison of death rates between populations with different age structures. Western Australia's SDR of 5.2 compares with a national rate of 5.4. Only the Australian Capital Territory had a lower SDR (5.1).

The highest SDR in Western Australia was in the Kimberley SD (10.2) followed by the South Eastern SD (7.5). In comparison, the rate in the Perth SD was 5.3.


In 2001, Western Australia had a net gain of 15,600 persons due to overseas migration. This equated to 14% of the Australian total, placing Western Australia fourth compared to the other states. New South Wales gained 44,800 persons, Victoria 27,500, and Queensland 18,700 from overseas migration whereas the Australian Capital Territory gained the least (140 persons).


There was a net loss of persons from Western Australia in 2001 (-3,600 persons) resulting from 29,800 arrivals and 33,400 departures. Only Victoria and Queensland recorded positive net interstate migration of 7,700 and 22,000 persons respectively.


There were 9,800 marriages registered in Western Australia during 2001. Nationally there was a fall of 9.1% from the previous year with all states/territories experiencing declines in the number of marriages. Tasmania had the greatest fall (16%), compared with a decline of 11% in Western Australia.

The crude marriage rate for Western Australia was 5.1, slightly lower than the national rate of 5.3. The median age of bridegrooms in Western Australia was 31.3 years, which was the second highest behind the Northern Territory (32.1 years) and higher than the national median age (30.6 years). The median age of brides in Western Australia was 29.0 years, slightly higher than the national figure of 28.6 years. Again, only the Northern Territory had a higher figure (29.9 years).


There were 5,400 divorces granted in Western Australia in 2001. The crude divorce rate was 2.8, the same as the national rate. The median duration of Western Australian marriages was 12.6 years, slightly longer than the national figure of 11.8 years.