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Australia’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2% between June 1991 and June 2001. Natural increase has been the main contributor to Australia's population growth on an annual basis since 1981-1982 except in 1987-1988 and 1988-1989 when net overseas migration was higher. While natural increase remained fairly stable during the past decade, net overseas migration fluctuated substantially in response to changes in government policy. At 30 June 2001 Australia's population was 19.5 million, an increase of 260,000 from 1999–2000.
Population is defined as the total number of people who reside in Australia. The ABS bases its estimates of the population of Australia on the Census of Population and Housing. Allowances are made for census undercount, overseas visitors are excluded and Australian residents temporarily overseas on census night are added. Estimates of the population are updated quarterly using data on births, deaths, overseas and interstate migration.
Changes in Australia's population are caused by natural increase and net overseas migration. Natural increase is the excess of births over deaths. Net overseas migration is the net permanent and long-term overseas migration plus an adjustment for the effects of category jumping. Category jumping is the term used to describe changes between intended and actual duration of stay of travellers to/from Australia. Category jumping consists of two components—an Australian resident component and an overseas visitor component. The Australian resident component is estimated by comparing the number of residents departing short-term with all residents who left and returned in the following 12 months, to obtain the net number of Australian residents who jump category. Similarly, the number of overseas visitors arriving short-term is compared with all overseas visitors who arrived and departed in the following 12 months, to obtain the net number of overseas visitors who category jump. Estimates of category jumping are derived by subtracting the Australian resident component from the overseas visitor component.
Population estimates have wide application by both government and private enterprise. Population estimates are used by the government to determine the number of seats allocated to each state and territory in the House of Representatives, to allocate Commonwealth funds to each state, territory and local government authority, to plan requirements for hospitals, schools, transport, housing development and other infrastructure and for many other purposes.
The ABS also produces population projections for Australia, for each state and territory and for capital cities/balance of states based on a range of specified assumptions.
Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0)
Contains quarterly estimates of total population by states, territories and Australia. Included are the most recent estimates of population in five-year age groups. Details of births, deaths, overseas and interstate migration as well as marriages and divorces are also included.
Population by Sex and Age, States and Territories of Australia (3201.0)
Contains annual estimates of population for each state and territory classified by sex and single years of age (0 to 84); also grouped ages, sex ratios, median and mean ages of the population; age-sex pyramid for Australia.
Population Projections, Australia (3222.0)
Contains projections of the resident population of Australia, each state and territory and capital city and balances of state by age and sex for each year to 2051.