3311.8 - Demography, Australian Capital Territory, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2002   
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The estimated resident population (ERP) of the ACT at December 2001 was 322,600 people (159,000 males and 163,600 females). In the last decade the population has increased by 10.7% from 291,400 people in 1991, at an average rate of 1.0% per year.

The Gungahlin-Hall Statistical Subdivision (SSD) experienced the largest increase in population between June 2000 and June 2001, up 2,600 people (11.8%), followed by Belconnen SSD (up 720 people) and North Canberra (up 500 people).

Total population growth in the ACT in 2001 was 3,300 people. This represented an annual growth rate of 1.0% (compared with 1.3% in 2000).

Natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) contributed 2,500 people to the ACT population in 2001. Net overseas migration added a further 140 people to the population, while the net loss due to interstate migration was 80 people.

Consistent with the national trend, the population of the ACT continues to age. At June 2001 the median age of the ACT population was 33.3 years, compared to 29.5 years in 1991.


There were 3,900 births registered to mothers usually resident in the ACT in 2001. This was a decrease of 3% from the number recorded in 2000, and a decrease of 17% from the number recorded in 1991.

The total fertility rate (TFR), which represents the number of children a female would bear during her lifetime based on current age-specific fertility rates, was 1.51 in 2001, the lowest fertility rate of the states and territories. Within the ACT, the total fertility rate ranged from 1.18 in the North Canberra SSD to 1.96 in the Gungahlin-Hall SSD.

The median age of parents in the ACT has increased over time, from 28.9 years for mothers and 31.2 years for fathers in 1991, to 30.4 years for mothers and 32.4 years for fathers in 2001. Since 1997, the peak age group for mothers to give birth has been 30-34 years.

In the ACT in 2001 there were 2,800 nuptial confinements which accounted for almost three-quarters of all confinements. Of these, 1,200 were first nuptial confinements. The proportion of exnuptial births in the ACT (27% in 2001) has consistently remained below the national level (31% in 2001).


In 2001 there were 1,400 registered deaths of persons usually resident in the ACT. The standardised death rate was 5.1 deaths per 1,000 population, lower than the national rate of 5.4. The indirect standardised death rate ranged from 3.9 deaths per 1,000 population in the Gungahlin-Hall SSD to 6.1 in the South Canberra SSD.

The life expectancy at birth in the ACT in 2001 was 78.5 years for males and 82.9 years for females, the highest of all states and territories and higher than the national life expectancy at birth of 77.0 years for males and 82.4 years for females.

There were 12 infant deaths in the ACT in 2001, compared with 17 in 2000 and 36 in 1991. The infant mortality rate (the number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births) was 3.0 in 2001, below the national rate of 5.3.


Net overseas migration to the ACT has fluctuated considerably over the last decade. The ACT gained 140 persons through overseas migration in 2001, compared with a gain of 260 persons in the previous year.

Since 1994 the ACT has recorded a net loss due to interstate migration. In 2001, the net loss was 80 persons, the smallest loss recorded since 1994. These figures contrast with the large net interstate migration gains recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


In 2001 there were 1,600 marriages registered in the ACT, a decrease of 9% from the 1,700 marriages registered in the previous year. The crude marriage rate (the number of marriages registered per 1,000 population) declined from 5.6 in 2000 to 4.9 in 2001.

First marriages made up two-thirds (67%) of all marriages in the ACT during 2001. There were 280 (18%) marriages in which one party had been married previously, and 230 (15%) in which both parties were remarrying.

There has been a long-term increase in the median age at marriage for both brides and grooms in the ACT and Australia-wide. However, between 2000 and 2001 there was little change in median age for both ACT brides and grooms, at around 28.3 and 30.1 years respectively. The median ages of grooms and brides in the ACT were slightly lower than the national median ages (by 0.5 years for grooms and 0.3 years for brides).


In 2001 there were 1,700 divorces granted in the ACT, an increase of 8% from the number granted in the previous year.

The median age at divorce continued to increase in 2001 for the ACT and Australia-wide. In the ACT in 2001 the median age increased to 41.9 years for males and 39.6 years for females, an increase of 2.8 and 3.6 years respectively from 1991.

For couples divorcing in the ACT in 2001 the median duration of marriage was 12.3 years and the median duration of marriage to separation was 8.8 years. These were higher than the national medians of 11.8 years and 8.3 years respectively.

In 2001, the greatest proportion of applications for divorce were made by wives, accounting for 41% of all divorces in the ACT. At the national level, there were fewer joint applications (23%) than in the ACT (29%), while 47% of applications were made by wives and 30% by husbands.