1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Sep 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/09/2010   
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Birds and Bees
Let me tell ya 'bout them

We all know Western Australia is a great place to live, but it can be even more pleasurable when you have a special someone to share it with, if you get my drift.

It seems that West Aussies are an amorous bunch, with figures from Australian Demographic Statistics Dec 2009 (3101.0), of which Births are a major contributing factor, showing that WA recorded the fastest population growth rate of all states and territories in Australia for 2009, continuing to lead all-comers since beginning the streak back in 2007.

Western Australia’s population grew by another 2.65% for the year to December 2009, comfortably beating off the likes of Queensland (2.44%) and the Northern Territory (2.21%), with Tasmania bringing up the rear with an unromantic 0.89%. Overall population growth has begun to slow however, with the latest figures representing a small downturn since the rampant days of 2008 where WA recorded a mighty 3.30% population increase for the year, and Australia’s growth rate peaked at 2.16%.

For the 2009 calendar year, WA brought a record high of 30,884 newborns into the world, which certainly makes for a lot of screaming babies, sleepless nights and stinking nappies (I speak from experience with my youngest contributing to these figures and associated results).

Christmas Presents

Worryingly, according to Australian Social Trends June 2010 (4102.0), in Australia in 2008, parents of 89,000 children aged 0-12 indicated that they currently had an unmet need for formal child care. Demand for formal child care is sure to increase in the future with continued population growth and the fact that there is an increasing participation of women in the workforce, meaning less stay-at-home mums. Parents and parents-to-be will be relieved to know that from 2004 to 2007 there was a 19% increase in the number of child care businesses in an effort to cope with the extra rugrats. In response to Helen Lovejoy’s persistent questioning from The Simpsons, it seems that somebody is thinking of the children.

This increase in population from births was partially offset however, by one of the two “inevitables” in life, and I don’t mean ‘taxes’. In 2009 WA had 12,568 people “seeing the light”. As a result, the 2009 Natural Increase (number of Births minus number of Deaths) rate for WA is a modest 0.83%.

But population increase is not solely attributable to Natural Increase. The majority of population growth comes from Net Overseas Migration (NOM), that is, the number of overseas arrivals less the number of overseas departures. Again, Western Australia leads the way, in percentage terms at least, with a 1.72% increase for 2009, with Victoria finding itself coming second with a 1.44% NOM rate, both states well above the national rate of 1.28%.

The third and final component of population growth is Net Interstate Migration, which as the term suggests, is the number of interstate arrivals minus the number of interstate departures. WA (0.10%) runs a distant second behind Queensland (0.30%) for 2009. The GFC appears to have had a widespread effect with overall interstate migration decreasing substantially since 2008, when job-seekers were moving away in droves from NSW (-0.33%) and SA (-0.33%), and to a lesser degree, Victoria (-0.02%).

Or perhaps they were simply heading to WA, Queensland and the Northern Territory to find some of the afore-mentioned “action” on offer?!

Naomi Summers
Article by: Marcus Arundale
Doing his bit for the population of WA.