3311.8 - Demography, Australian Capital Territory, 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/1997   
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December 16, 1997
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Latest demographic update of the ACT

The publication, Demography, ACT, 1996, based on the Territory's registrations of births, deaths, marriages and divorces in 1996, was released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Highlights include:


The ACT experienced a population growth rate of 1.0 per cent in 1996 which was just below the Australian growth rate of 1.3 per cent. There was a net population gain from overseas migration of 459 persons but a net population loss from interstate migration of 451 persons.


In 1996 there were 4,396 births in the ACT. Age-specific birth rates indicate that increasing numbers of women are postponing childbirth. The proportion of ex-nuptial births fell slightly from 1995, and is now 25.2 per cent of all births compared with 12.9 per cent in 1986. However, for 84.3 per cent of these births, paternity was acknowledged, up from 69.1 per cent a decade ago.


There were 1,300 deaths of ACT residents registered in 1996. The standardised death rate for the ACT was 6.1 per 1000 population, the lowest rate for any State or Territory in Australia. The leading causes of death were malignant neoplasms (cancer) and heart disease which accounted for 28.9 per cent and 27.4 per cent of deaths respectively. While the median age at death rose for both males (from 66.5 in 1986 to 71.4 years) and females (from 73.5 in 1986 to 77.5 years in 1996), the ACT still maintained the second lowest median age at death of all States and Territories after the Northern Territory (54.1 years for males and 60.8 years for females).

Marriages and Divorces

The 1996 crude marriage rate, at 5.4 per 1,000 population, was the lowest since the rate of 4.1 in 1931. The median age at marriage has been increasing steadily for several years for both men and women and in 1996 stood at 30.0 years of age for the bridegroom and 27.6 years of age for the bride. There were 1,610 divorces granted in the ACT in 1996, 9.9 per cent lower than in 1995 and the second lowest annual number in the last decade. Divorces granted in the ACT also involve many people who live outside the Territory.

Demography, ACT, 1996 (cat. no. 3311.8) is available from ABS Bookshops.