Population growth slowed due to falls in overseas migration

Media Release

Australia's population grew by 0.5 per cent during the year ending 31 December 2020, according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Demography Director Beidar Cho said: “2020 was a year of unusually low population growth in Australia, due to the effects of COVID-19 on overseas migration. During 2020, Australia’s population grew by 0.5 per cent (136,300 people) to 25.7 million, compared with a growth of 1.5 per cent in 2019.”

Natural increase accounted for 97.6 per cent of annual population growth, while net overseas migration accounted for the remaining 2.4 per cent. This is a shift from the long run trend of net overseas migration driving the majority of Australia’s population growth.

With COVID-19 international travel restrictions still in place, net overseas migration was down 98.7 per cent compared with the previous year, driven by a decrease in overseas migration arrivals (59.9 per cent).

There were 243,500 overseas migration arrivals and 240,200 departures during the year ending 31 December 2020, resulting in net overseas migration of 3,300 people. Just over half of these movements were in the three months to March 2020, prior to the closure of Australia’s international border.

In 2020, there were 294,400 births and 161,400 deaths in Australia. Natural increase during this period was 133,000 people, a decrease of 4.5 per cent from the previous year.

This release includes an article about population changes in 2020.

For regional population estimates see Regional Population, Australia, available for free download from the ABS website.

Annual population change by state and territory
 Population at 31 Dec 2020 ('000)Change over previous year ('000)Change over previous year (%)
New South Wales8172.535.60.4
South Australia1770.89.40.5
Western Australia2670.224.50.9
Northern Territory246.61.30.5
Australian Capital Territory431.53.20.8

(a) Includes Other Territories comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island. 

Media notes

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