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STATE AND TERRITORY HIGHLIGHTS
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory
At 30 June 2012, just over 15 million people, close to two-thirds of Australia's population, resided in a capital city. The combined population of capital cities increased by 1.4 million people in the five years to 2012.
Greater Melbourne recorded the largest growth of all capital cities, increasing by 406,600 people, followed by Greater Sydney (up 347,100 people), Greater Perth (271,500) and Greater Brisbane (233,200). Greater Melbourne grew by an average of more than 1,500 people per week, while the population of Greater Sydney increased by over 1,300 people per week.
The population of Australia's capital cities grew by 10.2% from 2007 to 2012, faster than the rest of Australia (6.8%). Greater Perth had the fastest growth of all capital cities at 17%, ahead of Greater Darwin (13%) and Greater Brisbane (12%). The slowest growth was in Greater Hobart (5.0%).
OUTER SUBURBAN GROWTH
Many areas which experienced strong growth were located on the fringes of capital cities, where more land tends to be available for subdivision and housing development. The four SA2s with the largest growth in the country between 2007 and 2012 were all on the outskirts of Greater Melbourne. The population of South Morang increased by 25,800, followed by Point Cook (19,900), Tarneit (15,300) and Craigieburn - Mickleham (12,900).
The SA2 in New South Wales with both the largest and fastest population increase was Parklea - Kellyville Ridge, in the north-west growth corridor of Greater Sydney (up 11,400 people, or 81%).
In Western Australia, the SA2s of Baldivis, on the southern outskirts of Greater Perth, and Ellenbrook in the north-east, recorded the largest growth in the state, increasing by 11,000 and 10,600 people respectively.
In Queensland, the largest growth occurred in the outer suburban SA2 of North Lakes - Mango Hill (up 10,300 people) in the north of Greater Brisbane. Redbank Plains in the south-west also had large growth, increasing by 6,300 people.
Outer suburban areas in the smaller capital cities also had some of the strongest growth in their states or territories in the five years to 2012. The areas with the largest population increases in South Australia were the outer-Adelaide SA2s of Pooraka (up 5,000 people) and Aldinga (4,100). In the Australian Capital Territory, Franklin, Harrison and Forde, on the territory's northern fringe increased by 4,000, 3,500 and 3,200 people respectively, while on the outskirts of Greater Darwin, Rosebery - Bellamack increased by 2,300 people. In Tasmania, the outer suburban Margate - Snug had the largest growth in the state, increasing by 1,300 people.
The inner-city SA2s of Perth City and Melbourne had population increases among the largest in Australia between June 2007 and June 2012, increasing by 7,700 and 7,600 people respectively. Other inner-city areas to experience large growth included Waterloo - Beaconsfield (up 4,700 people) and nearby Sydney - Haymarket - The Rocks (3,000), Southbank and nearby North Melbourne (both up 2,800), and Adelaide (2,700).
Darwin City was the fastest-growing of all inner-city SA2s, increasing by 68% to 5,100 people. Inner-city Melbourne and adjoining Docklands also grew rapidly, up 47% and 45% respectively.
Urban infill is the development of a site within an already-developed area, either by building housing on land that was previously vacant or used for non-residential purposes, or by replacing low-density housing with higher-density dwellings. Infill development is becoming more common on transport corridors, near commercial hubs and in suburbs where there are older houses on large blocks of land.
In addition to some inner-city areas, urban infill contributed to strong population growth in SA2s such as Concord West - North Strathfield (up 6,400 people) and Parramatta - Rosehill (4,200) in New South Wales, and Dandenong (4,200) and Clayton (2,500) in Victoria. Other areas where urban infill contributed to large growth included Cannington - Queens Park (4,100) and Nollamara - Westminster (4,000) in Western Australia, and The Parks (2,800) in South Australia.
GROWTH ALONG THE COAST
Generally, the most prominent growth outside of capital cities occurred along the coast of Australia, particularly in Queensland. The SA2 of Upper Coomera - Willow Vale on the Gold Coast had the largest increase outside of Greater Brisbane in the five years to 2012, up 8,900 people. This was followed by Deeragun, west of Townsville's central business district, which grew by 7,400 people. Several other SA2s on Queensland's Gold Coast experienced large growth, including Coomera (up 4,700 people), Pacific Pines - Gaven (4,700) and Ormeau - Yatala (4,600). Pimpama and Coomera on the Gold Coast had rapid growth, increasing by 92% and 91% respectively.
On Australia's western seaboard, Busselton in the south grew by 4,000 people. Nearby Gelorup - Dalyellup - Stratham and Australind - Leschenault, both in Bunbury, had the next largest growth, increasing by 3,600 and 3,400 people respectively.
In Victoria, the coastal SA2 of Torquay in Geelong had the largest growth outside of Greater Melbourne, up 3,800 people or 30%. The nearby SA2s of Grovedale (up 2,300 people) and Highton (2,200) also had strong growth.
On the New South Wales coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour - Flinders, both in the Illawarra region, increased by 3,600 and 2,200 people respectively.
GROWTH IN INLAND AREAS
Some inland SA2s outside of capital cities had strong growth in the five years to June 2012. In Victoria, large inland growth occurred in Drouin (up 3,000 people) in the state's west Gippsland, and Ballarat - South (2,700), while in New South Wales, Orange - North in the state's Central West increased by 2,600. Other inland areas to experience large growth included the Queensland SA2s of Emerald (up 2,200 people) in the Fitzroy region, and Highfields (2,100) to the north of Toowoomba, and Murray Bridge (2,000) in South Australia.
Rapid growth also occurred in some of the country's inland SA2s, including the mining regions of East Pilbara (up 67%), Leinster - Leonora (40%), Murray (38%) and Ashburton (33%) in Western Australia. Drouin (up 27%) and Alfredton (26%) in Victoria, and Chinchilla (22%) in Queensland also grew rapidly.
Many of the largest population declines between June 2007 and June 2012 were in well-established areas within Australia's capital cities. One possible explanation for this is that the population of these areas has aged and households have moved through the life cycle. The SA2 of Mill Park - South on the north-eastern outskirts of Greater Melbourne had the largest decline in the country, down 760 people. Also on the outskirts of Greater Melbourne, Mill Park - North and Eltham decreased by 570 and 420 people respectively. Other SA2s with large declines included Minto - St Andrews in Greater Sydney's south-west (down 610 people), and Modbury Heights in Greater Adelaide's north (down 560).
Within the Australian Capital Territory, a number of older suburbs decreased in population. SA2s with large declines included Kambah (down 510 people), neighbouring Wanniassa (down 410), and Kaleen (down 380) while there were fast declines in the adjoining southern SA2s of Macarthur (down 7.2%), Gowrie (down 7.0%) and Fadden (down 6.6%).
Outside of Australia's capital cities, a number of inland, rural areas declined, including Broken Hill (down 610 people) and Deniliquin Region (down 420) in New South Wales, and the neighbouring SA2s of Gannawarra (down 540), Buloke (down 500), Yarriambiack (down 400) and Loddon (down 390) in Victoria's north-west.
POPULATION CHANGE BY REMOTENESS AREAS
The Remoteness Structure of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard identifies five Remoteness Area (RA) categories for Australia, ranging from Major Cities to Very Remote. As at June 2012, 70% of the population resided in Australia's major cities. In comparison, just 2.3% lived in remote or very remote Australia. Very remote areas and major cities were the fastest-growing RAs in Australia, both up 10% in the five years to June 2012. The remaining RAs grew slower than Australia as a whole (9.0%), with remote areas growing at the slowest rate (4.8%).
The state or territory (excluding the Australian Capital Territory) with the highest proportion of it's population living in the major cities RA was Western Australia at 77%, while Tasmania was the state with the highest proportion living in the inner regional RA (66%), which includes Hobart. Of all the states and territories, the Northern Territory had the highest proportions in the outer regional RA (56%), which includes Darwin, as well as the remote (21%) and very remote (23%) RAs.
Within the states and territories (excluding the Australian Capital Territory), the major cities RA had the fastest growth between 2007 and 2012 in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. In South Australia and Tasmania, the inner regional RA was the fastest-growing, while in the Northern Territory, the outer regional RA grew the fastest. In Western Australia, the very remote RA, which includes many of the state's mining regions, grew the fastest.
Population density varies greatly across Australia, ranging from very low in very remote areas to very high in inner-city areas. Australia's population density at 30 June 2012 was 3.0 people per square kilometre (sq km), up from 2.7 at June 2007. Among the states and territories, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest population density at 160 people per sq km, followed by Victoria with 25, New South Wales with 9.1 and Tasmania with 7.5. The remaining states and territories all had population densities below the Australian figure, with the Northern Territory having the lowest at just 0.2 people per sq km.
Population density at June 2012 was highest within capital cites, particularly in Greater Sydney. Eight of the country's top ten most densely-populated SA2s were in Greater Sydney, including Pyrmont - Ultimo, which had the highest population density in Australia, at 13,900 people per sq km, Potts Point - Woolloomooloo (13,600), Darlinghurst and Surry Hills (both 13,100). These areas all surround Sydney's central business district.
Within Greater Melbourne, the SA2s with the greatest population densities were inner-city Melbourne (10,100 people per sq km) and neighbouring Carlton (8,400). In Greater Brisbane, New Farm (6,000 people per sq km) and nearby Kangaroo Point (5,900) had the highest population densities.
At the other end of the scale, 200 SA2s in Australia had population densities of less than one person per sq km, the majority of which were in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales.
The SA2 with the largest increase in population density in the five years to 2012 was inner-city Melbourne, which added an extra 3,200 people per sq km. This was followed by Franklin (up 1,800 people per sq km) in the Australian Capital Territory, Pyrmont-Ultimo (1,700) in inner-Sydney, and Forde (1,700), also in the Australian Capital Territory.
CENTRE OF POPULATION
The centre of population is one way in which the spatial distribution of Australia's population can be described. This point marks the average latitude and longitude around which the population is distributed.
Australia's centre of population at 30 June 2012 was 34 kilometres east of the small service locality of Ivanhoe, in western New South Wales. This location reflects the concentration of population in south-east Australia. The centre of population moved 17 kilometres north-west between 2007 and 2012. This shift reflects rapid population growth in Queensland and Western Australia over this period.
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