3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 2002-03  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/03/2004   
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Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) at June 2003 was 19.9 million people, an increase of 240,500 people over June 2002. This represents an annual growth rate of 1.2%, the same as the average annual growth rate for the five years to June 2003.

Most states and territories experienced population growth in 2002–03, with the largest increases occurring in Queensland (up 85,800 people), Victoria (up 60,200 people) and New South Wales (up 52,500 people).

Three states recorded annual growth rates greater than or equal to Australia's overall growth rate of 1.2% in 2002–03. These were Queensland, which increased by 2.3%, Western Australia, by 1.4% and Victoria, by 1.2%.

The remaining states and territories recorded lower annual growth rates than Australia, with Tasmania increasing by 0.9%, New South Wales by 0.8%, South Australia by 0.6%, and the Australian Capital Territory by 0.4%. The Northern Territory recorded a population decrease of 0.2%.


At June 2003, capital city Statistical Divisions (SDs) were home to 12.7 million people, around two-thirds (64%) of Australia's population. Altogether the capital city SDs increased by 155,100 people in 2002–03, accounting for 64% of Australia's growth for the year.

The largest growth among capital cities in 2002–03 occurred in the Melbourne SD (up 46,600 people), followed by Brisbane SD (up 42,700 people) and Sydney SD (up 34,500 people).

Brisbane SD was the fastest growing capital city in Australia in 2002–03, increasing by 2.5%, followed by the Perth and Melbourne SDs (each up 1.5% and 1.3% respectively).

Outer suburban growth

Much of Australia's growth occurred in the outer LGAs of capital city SDs. In Sydney SD, the LGAs of Baulkham Hills (A), Blacktown (C) and Liverpool (C) experienced large growth (up 4,100, 3,400 and 2,300 people respectively), while the largest growth within Melbourne SD occurred in the fringe LGAs of Casey (C), Wyndham (C) and Melton (S) (up 10,900, 7,300 and 6,900 people respectively).

The outer suburban LGA of Melton recorded Australia's highest annual growth rate during 2002–03 of 11.8% (6,900 people).

Outer suburban areas in the smaller capital cities also experienced significant growth, such as occurred in the Brisbane Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) of Upper Kedron, Wakerley and Parkinson-Drewvale. In South Australia the largest growth in LGA populations was recorded in the outer suburban LGAs of Salisbury (C) and Onkaparinga (C), while in Perth the fringe LGAs of Wanneroo (C), Swan (C) and Rockingham (C) experienced large growth. Palmerston (C), on the outskirts of Darwin, recorded the largest growth of any Northern Territory LGA, while Gungahlin-Hall - SSD Bal and Amaroo, on the northern fringe of Canberra, and Dunlop, to the north-west, experienced the largest growth amongst SLAs in the Australian Capital Territory.

Inner city growth

Many of Australia's inner city areas experienced high levels of growth during 2002–03. The LGA of Melbourne (C) recorded an annual growth rate of 7.9%, while the LGAs of Perth (C) and Sydney (C) also experienced rapid growth, increasing by 7.2% and 5.9% respectively in 2002–03. Elsewhere in Australia, other inner city areas to experience high levels of growth were the Brisbane SLAs of City - Inner, City - Remainder and Newstead, the Darwin SLA of City - Inner and the Canberra SLAs of City, Turner and Braddon.


Generally, the largest growth outside capital city SDs occurred in coastal Australia. The city of Gold Coast in Queensland recorded the second largest increase in population of all LGAs in Australia during 2002–03 (up 16,100 people), while strong growth continued in many other Queensland coastal areas, such as Pine Rivers (S), Maroochy (S) and Caloundra (C).

In New South Wales, increases in population were recorded in many coastal LGAs outside the Sydney SD, with the largest occurring in Tweed (A), Hastings (A) and Port Stephens (A), while the Victorian LGAs of Bass Coast (S) and Surf Coast (S) continued to experience strong growth in 2002–03. In South Australia, the populations of Alexandrina (DC) and Victor Harbor (C) continued to grow, and in Western Australia the coastal LGAs of Busselton (S), Mandurah (C) and Broome (S) experienced continuing strong growth.


Various regional centres throughout Australia continued to gain population during 2002–03, such as the New South Wales LGAs of Maitland (C) and Queanbeyan (C), the statistical district of Albury-Wodonga on the New South Wales/Victorian border, and the Victorian LGAs of Greater Geelong (C), Greater Bendigo (C) and Ballarat (C).

A number of coastal regional centres, such as Cairns (C) in Queensland and Port Lincoln (C) in South Australia, also experienced growth in 2002–03.


All of the twenty fastest decreasing LGA populations in Australia in 2002–03 were located in state and territory balances (that is those areas outside the capital city SDs). The five fastest declining LGAs were Dundas (S) and Dalwallinu (S) in the balance of Western Australia (down 7.2% and 6.2% respectively), Blackall (S) and Millmerran (S) in the balance of Queensland (down 4.3% and 3.6% respectively), and Karoonda East Murray (DC) in the balance of South Australia (down 3.8%).

The largest decline in population in 2002–03 occurred in the Sydney LGA of Canterbury (C), which decreased by 1,100 people, followed by Whitehorse (C) and Monash (C), both in Melbourne SD (down 800 and 600 people respectively), Waverley (A) and Marrickville (A) both in the Sydney SD (each down 500 people).


For Australia, this publication contains estimates of the resident population of Statistical Local Areas (SLAs), Local Government Areas (LGAs), Statistical Subdivisions (SSDs), Statistical Divisions (SDs), Statistical Districts, states and territories at June 1998, 2002 and 2003, according to the 2003 edition of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). Growth rates for these areas are also provided. Estimates for 1998 are final estimates, based on results of the 2001 Census of Population and Housing, while 2002 are revised estimates, and 2003 estimates are preliminary.

For New Zealand, this publication contains final estimates of the resident population of Regional Councils and Territorial Authorities at June 1998, and preliminary estimates for 2003, based on results of the New Zealand 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings. Growth rates for these areas are also provided.


For the first time, estimates of the resident population as at 30 June 2001 for 29 Northern Territory Community Government Council areas have been produced. For more detail see page 28 and paragraphs 14-21 of the Explanatory Notes.


In commentary based on statistics in this publication, it is recommended that the relevant statistics be rounded. All data are affected by errors in reporting and processing. While unrounded figures are provided in tables, accuracy to the last digit is not claimed and should not be assumed. No reliance should be placed on statistics with small values.