1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Australia is large in area, and compared with other countries its population is small relative to its size. For every square kilometre of land there are, on average, around three Australians (a similar rate to both Iceland and Canada) (OECD 2009). But this statistic hides the fact that Australia is a highly urbanised nation, with most of the population concentrated in two widely separated coastal regions. The larger of these is the east to south east region, the smaller lies in the south-west of the continent.

New South Wales is the country's most populous state, accounting for almost one-third of Australia's population at June 2009. Of all Australia's states and territories, the population of Queensland grew the fastest between 1999 and 2009 (by 26%), and the population of Western Australia was the next fastest, growing by 21%. Tasmania had the slowest population growth over the period at 7% (ABS 2010; ABS 2008a).

From Federation until 1976, the percentage of Australians living in capital cities increased steadily from a little over one-third (36%) to almost two-thirds (65%). Since 1977 this proportion has stayed relatively stable at 64% (ABS 2008a).

Population density, Australia - June 2009
Diagram: Population density across Australia, 2009

Source: ABS Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 3218.0)


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