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Regional population

Statistics about the population and components of change (births, deaths, migration) for Australia's capital cities and regions

Reference period
2020-21 financial year

Key statistics

  • People living in the capitals decreased by 26,000 (-0.1%). 
  • The decline comprised net overseas (-84,700) and internal (-49,200) migration losses, and natural increase (107,900).
  • Melbourne had the largest decline (-60,500), Brisbane grew the most (21,900).
  • Regional Australia grew by 70,900 (0.9%).

Any reference to population refers to Estimated Resident Population (ERP).

Any reference to capital city refers to Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA), and any reference to area refers to Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2). 

Statistics in this release are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capital cities

Population change

 ERP at 30 June 20212020-21 (no.)2020-21 (%)
Sydney5,361,466-5,151-0.1
Melbourne5,096,298-60,505-1.2
Brisbane2,582,00721,8700.9
Adelaide1,378,4131,8950.1
Perth2,141,83416,1690.8
Hobart238,375-334-0.1
Darwin146,982-327-0.2
Canberra431,6113980.1
Total capital cities17,376,986-25,985-0.1

 

Components of population change

Population change at the regional level has three main components: natural increase, internal migration and overseas migration. 

  • Natural increase was highest in Sydney followed by Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
  • Net internal migration loss was largest in Sydney and Melbourne, while net internal migration gain was largest in Brisbane and Perth.
  • All capital cities experienced net overseas migration loss, which was largest in Melbourne followed by Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

Regions

The areas with the largest growth were:

  • Riverstone - Marsden Park (up by 7,400 people) in Sydney's outer north-west
  • Cobbitty - Leppington (5,400) in Sydney's outer south-west
  • Cranbourne East (5,000) in Melbourne's outer south-east 


The areas with the highest growth rates were:

  • Throsby (38%) in Canberra's outer north-east
  • Rockbank - Mount Cottrell (34%) in Melbourne's outer west
  • Mickleham - Yuroke (28%) in Melbourne's outer north 

 
The areas with the largest and fastest decline were all in Greater Melbourne:

  • Melbourne (city) declined by 5,900 people (-11%)
  • Clayton, in the south-east, declined by 2,700 (-9.4%)
  • inner-city Carlton declined by 2,600 (-10%)


Outside of the capital cities: 

  • Pimpama (up by 2,800 people) on Queensland's Gold Coast had the largest growth 
  • Pimpama also had the highest growth rate (13%)
Areas with the largest growth
SA2SA4ERP at 30 June 20212020-21 (no.)
Riverstone - Marsden ParkSydney - Blacktown48,0637,360
Cobbitty - LeppingtonSydney - South West42,3865,352
Cranbourne EastMelbourne - South East60,4895,027
Rouse Hill - Beaumont HillsSydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury40,3334,260
Mickleham - YurokeMelbourne - North West19,0294,127
Areas with the highest growth rates
SA2(a)SA4ERP at 30 June 20212020-21 (%)
ThrosbyAustralian Capital Territory1,83438.1
Rockbank - Mount CottrellMelbourne - West15,27434.3
Mickleham - YurokeMelbourne - North West19,02927.7
RipleyIpswich11,64519.4
Pallara - WillawongBrisbane - South8,02418.6
  1. Excludes SA2s with less than 1,000 people at June 2020.

 

Centre of population

Australia's centre of population: 

  • was around 50 kilometres east of the small service town of Ivanhoe in western New South Wales, reflecting the concentration of population in south-east Australia
  • moved around 2.2 kilometres north in 2020-21, reflecting growth to the north and decline in Melbourne
     

    Map showing Australia's Centre of Population, June 2020 and June 2021

    Map showing Australia's Centre of Population, June 2020 and June 2021

    Map showing Australia's Centre of Population, June 2020 and June 2021

    This image shows the location of Australia’s centre of population on a map of Australia. The area of the centre of population is zoomed in to an SA2 level, showing the locations of the centre of population as at 30 June 2020 and 30 June 2021. These locations are, Far West SA2, north of Hay SA2 and north-west of Griffith Region SA2 in NSW.

    Population density

    Australia's population density at June 2021 was 3.3 people per square kilometre (sq km). 

    The most densely populated areas were: 

    • inner-city Melbourne (19,900 people per sq km)
    • Potts Point - Woolloomooloo (16,400) and Pyrmont - Ultimo (15,600), both in inner Sydney

    Population grid

    Population density can also be explored at a finer level by breaking Australia up into 1 km² grid cells.

    Grid cells can be grouped into population density classes, ranging from no population to very high.

    • Sydney had the largest combined area in the high and very high density classes (189 km²), followed by Melbourne (70 km²) and Brisbane (16 km²).
    • Perth (1 km²) and Canberra (2 km²) were the only other capital cities to have areas in the high or very high density classes.
    Total area (km²) in population density classes by capital city
     No populationVery lowLowMediumHighVery High
     (0)*(Less than 500)*(500-2000)*(2000-5000)*(5000-8000)*(More than 8000)*
    Sydney6,6073,89381985613455
    Melbourne1,9825,8871,0031,0625614
    Brisbane4,8789,752794437151
    Adelaide1882,37139229900
    Perth2,5022,77971941410
    Hobart4561,1051151800
    Darwin2,159942541700
    Canberra1,7683312045520

    * people per square kilometre

    New South Wales

    Population change

    Greater Sydney declined by 5,200 people (-0.1%), the rest of the state increased by 26,800 (1.0%).

    The areas with the largest growth were:

    • Riverstone - Marsden Park (up by 7,400 people) in Sydney's outer north-west
    • Cobbitty - Leppington (5,400) in Sydney's outer south-west 
    • Rouse Hill - Beaumont Hills (4,300), in Sydney's north-west 
       

    The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

    • Riverstone - Marsden Park (18%) 
    • Austral - Greendale (15%) in Sydney's outer south-west
    • Cobbitty - Leppington (14%)
       

    Components of population change

    While natural increase (36,900 people) was a positive contributor to Greater Sydney's population change, a large net internal migration loss (-34,800) and some net overseas migration loss (-7,200) resulted in overall population decline.

    • Riverstone - Marsden Park had the largest natural increase (1,200 people) and the largest net internal migration gain (6,100 people).
    • Parramatta - Rosehill, to the west of Sydney's city centre, had the largest net overseas migration gain (570 people).
    • Sydney - Haymarket - The Rocks had the largest net overseas migration loss (-1,000 people).
       

    Centre of population

    The centre for New South Wales: 

    • was near the Hawkesbury River at June 2021, in the suburb of Sackville North
    • moved 190 metres north over 2020-21, reflecting the decline in Sydney and growth along the NSW coast
       

    The centre for Sydney: 

    • was in the Parramatta River at June 2021, close to the suburb of Ermington 
    • moved around 140 metres west over 2020-21, led by strong growth in outer north-western and south-western suburbs

    Population density

    The areas with the highest density at June 2021 all surrounded Sydney's central business district: 

    • Potts Point - Woolloomooloo (16,400 people per sq km) 
    • Pyrmont - Ultimo (15,600) 
    • Darlinghurst (15,000) 

    Victoria

    Population change

    Greater Melbourne declined by 60,500 people (-1.2%), the rest of the state increased by 15,700 (1.0%). 

    The areas with the largest growth were:

    • Cranbourne East (up by 5,000 people) in Melbourne's outer south-east
    • Mickleham - Yuroke (4,100) in Melbourne's outer north 
    • Rockbank - Mount Cottrell (3,900) in Melbourne's outer west 
       

    The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

    • Rockbank - Mount Cottrell (34%) 
    • Mickleham - Yuroke (28%) 
    • Wollert (18%) in Melbourne's outer north
       

    Components of population change

    A large net overseas migration loss (-54,400 people) led to Greater Melbourne recording a significant decline in population, with natural increase (27,400) offset by net internal migration loss (-33,500).

    • Cranbourne East had the largest natural increase (1,100 people) and the largest net internal migration gain (4,100 people).
    • No areas had a gain from net overseas migration, inner city Melbourne had the largest net overseas migration loss (-5,700 people).
       

    Centre of population

    The centre for Victoria:

    • was in the suburb of Coburg North at June 2021, north of Melbourne’s central business district
    • moved 70 metres west over 2020-21, reflecting strong growth in Melbourne's outer western suburbs


    The centre for Melbourne: 

    • was in the suburb of Malvern at June 2021, near the Monash Freeway
    • moved 60 metres west over 2020-21, reflecting strong growth in Melbourne's outer west 

    Population density

    The areas with the highest density at June 2021 were: 

    • inner-city Melbourne (19,900 people per sq km) 
    • the nearby inner suburbs of Carlton (12,700) and South Yarra - East (9,600)

    Queensland

    Population change

    Greater Brisbane increased by 21,900 people (0.9%), the rest of the state increased by 24,100 (0.9%). 

    The areas with the largest growth were:

    • Pimpama (up by 2,800 people) on the Gold Coast 
    • Caloundra - West (2,200) on the Sunshine Coast 
    • Ripley (1,900), a suburb of Ipswich
       

    The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

    • Ripley (19%) 
    • Pallara - Willawong (19%) in Brisbane's south 
    • Pimpama (13%)
       

    Components of population change

    Natural increase (17,400 people) was the largest contributor to Greater Brisbane's population change, closely followed by net internal migration gain (15,000). 

    • Jimboomba on Brisbane's southern fringe had the largest natural increase (520 people).
    • Pimpama had the largest net internal migration gain (2,300 people). 
    • No areas had a gain from net overseas migration, St Lucia south of Brisbane's central business district had the largest net overseas migration loss (-870 people).
       

    Centre of population

    The centre for Queensland:

    • was in the rural suburb of Booubyjan at June 2021, south-west of Maryborough
    • moved 950 metres south-east over 2020-21, reflecting strong population growth in South East Queensland
       

    The centre for Brisbane: 

    • was in the suburb of Highgate Hill at June 2021, to the south-west of Brisbane's central business district
    • moved 60 metres south-west over 2020-21, indicating higher growth in Brisbane's outer south-west

    Population density

    The areas with the highest density at June 2021 were all inner Brisbane suburbs: 

    • Kangaroo Point (7,800 people per sq km) 
    • Fortitude Valley (7,700)
    • West End (7,300)

    South Australia

    Population change

    Greater Adelaide increased by 1,900 people (0.1%), the rest of the state increased by 1,200 (0.3%). 

    The areas with the largest growth were:

    • Munno Para West - Angle Vale (up by 1,100 people) on the northern outskirts of Adelaide 
    • Mount Barker (880) in the Adelaide Hills 
    • Gawler - South (440) in Adelaide's outer north 
       

    The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

    • Munno Para West - Angle Vale (7.0%) 
    • Virginia - Waterloo Corner (6.2%) in Adelaide's outer north 
    • Mount Barker (4.3%) 
       

    Components of population change

    While both net overseas (-3,100 people) and internal (-200) migration were negative for Greater Adelaide, natural increase (5,300) led to overall population increase.

    • Munno Para West - Angle Vale had the largest natural increase (260 people) and largest net internal migration gain (850 people).
    • No areas had a gain from net overseas migration, inner city Adelaide had the largest net overseas migration loss (-480 people).
       

    Centre of population

    The centre for South Australia:

    • was in the suburb of Northgate at June 2021, in Adelaide's inner north-east 
    • moved 130 metres south over 2020-21, towards Adelaide's central business district


    The centre for Adelaide: 

    • was on the banks of the River Torrens, north of Botanic Park at June 2021, in the suburb of Adelaide
    • moved 20 metres east over 2020-21, reflecting slightly higher growth around Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills
       

    ​​​​​​​Population density

    The areas with the highest density at June 2021 were: 

    • Unley - Parkside (2,900 per sq km) in Adelaide's inner south-east
    • Glenelg (2,900 people), a coastal suburb in Adelaide's south-west 
    • Prospect (2,800) north of Adelaide's central business district 

    Western Australia

    Population change

    Greater Perth increased by 16.200 people (0.8%), the rest of the state increased by 1,900 (0.3%). 

    The areas with the largest growth were:

    • Ellenbrook in Perth's north-east (up by 1,700 people) 
    • Baldivis (1,500) in Perth's outer south-west 
    • Forrestdale - Harrisdale - Piara Waters (1,500) in Perth's south-east 
       

    The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

    • Casuarina - Wandi (8.4%) south of Perth 
    • Alkimos - Eglinton (8.2%) in Perth's outer north-west 
    • North Coogee (6.7%) in Perth's south-west 
       

    Components of population change

    Natural increase (15,100 people) was the largest contributor to Greater Perth's population change, while net internal migration (6,500) was also positive.

    • Ellenbrook had the largest natural increase (650 people) and the largest net internal migration gain (1,100 people). 
    • No areas had a gain from net overseas migration, inner city Perth had the largest net overseas migration loss (-520 people).
       

    Centre of population

    The centre for Western Australia:

    • was in the Avon Valley National Park at June 2021, 30 kilometres west of the town of Toodyay
    • moved 480 metres south-west over 2020-21, towards Perth’s central business district
       

    The centre for Perth: 

    • was in the suburb of Como at June 2021, near the banks of the Swan River
    • moved 70 metres south over 2020-21, reflecting slightly stronger growth to the south of the city

    Population density

      The areas with the highest density at June 2021 were: 

      • Scarborough and Perth City (both 3,500 people per sq km) 
      • Tuart Hill - Joondanna (3,400), in Perth's inner north

      Tasmania

      Population change

      Greater Hobart declined by 330 people (-0.1%), the rest of the state increased by 1,100 (0.4%). 

      The areas with the largest growth were:

      • Rokeby on the eastern shore of the Derwent River (up by 310 people) 
      • Brighton - Pontville (250) on Hobart's northern fringe 
      • Howrah - Tranmere (200) on the eastern shore of the Derwent River 


      The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

      • Rokeby (4.5%) 
      • Brighton - Pontville (4.1%) 
      • Longford (3.6%) south of Launceston 
         

      Components of population change

      Natural increase (860 people) was offset by net internal migration loss (-830), and with a small net overseas migration loss (-370) Greater Hobart recorded a small decline in population.

      • Rokeby had the largest natural increase (up 100 people) and the largest net internal migration gain (210 people). 
      • No areas had a gain from net overseas migration, Sandy Bay had the largest net overseas migration loss (-160 people).
         

      Centre of population

      The centre for Tasmania:

      • was in Woods Lake at June 2021, in the state's Central Highlands
      • moved 100 metres north over 2020-21, reflecting population decline in Greater Hobart and growth in the state's north
         

      The centre for Hobart: 

      • was just south of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens at June 2021, in the suburb of Queens Domain
      • moved 60 metres north-east over 2020-21, reflecting stronger growth in the city's north and north-east

      Population density

      The areas with the highest density at June 2021 all surrounded Hobart's central business district: 

      • West Moonah (2,200 people per sq km) 
      • Moonah (1,900) 
      • Sandy Bay (1,800) 

      Northern Territory

      Population change

      Greater Darwin declined by 330 people (-0.2%), the rest of the territory remain unchanged (0%).

      The areas with the largest growth were:

      • Palmerston - South (up by 670 people) in Darwin's east
      • Lyons (200) on the northern fringe of Darwin
      • Humpty Doo (90) south-east of Darwin
         

      The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

      • Palmerston - South (10%) 
      • Lyons (3.0%) 
      • Virginia (1.6%) in Darwin's south-east
         

      Components of population change

      Natural increase (1,700 people) was offset by net internal migration loss (-1,600), and with a small net overseas migration loss (-380) Greater Darwin recorded a small decline in population.

      • Palmerston - South had the largest natural increase (170 people) and the largest net internal migration gain (500 people). 
      • No areas had a gain from net overseas migration, inner city Darwin had the largest net overseas migration loss (-100 people).
         

      Centre of population

      The centre for the Northern Territory:

      • was approximately 40 kilometres south-west of the town of Katherine at June 2021
      • moved 710 metres south-east and away from Greater Darwin over 2020-21, due to population decline in the capital


      The centre for Darwin: 

      • was in the suburb of Wishart at June 2021, south of the Stuart Highway
      • moved 130 metres south-east over 2020-21, towards the fast-growing Palmerston area

      Population density

      The areas with the highest density at June 2021 were: 

      • Stuart Park (2,700 people per sq km) an inner suburb of Darwin 
      • Wagaman (2,600) on the northern fringe of Darwin 
      • Parap (2,600) an inner suburb of  Darwin 

      Australian Capital Territory

      Population change

      The number of people living in the Australian Capital Territory increased by 400 (0.1%).

      The areas with the largest growth were:

      • Denman Prospect (up by 780 people) in Canberra's west 
      • Taylor (670) and Throsby (510) in Canberra's north
         

      The areas with the highest growth rates were: 

      • Throsby (38%) 
      • Greenway (11%) in Canberra's south-west
      • Coombs (10%)
         

      Components of population change

      Natural increase (3,300 people) was offset by net overseas migration loss (-3,300), with a small net internal migration gain (360) leading to a marginal population increase for Canberra.

      • Ngunnawal in Canberra's north had the largest natural increase (140 people).
      • Denman Prospect had the largest net internal migration gain (740 people).
      • No areas had a gain from net overseas migration, inner city Civic had the largest net overseas migration loss (-230 people).
         

      Centre of population

      The centre for the Australian Capital Territory:

      • was in Lake Burley Griffin at June 2021, north of the suburb of Yarralumla
      • moved 60 metres north in 2020-21, reflecting population growth in the northern suburbs

      Population density

      The areas with the highest density at June 2021 were: 

      • Braddon in the inner north (4,700 people per sq km) 
      • Kingston (4,500) on the south-eastern banks of Lake Burley Griffin 
      • inner-city Civic (3,200)

      Data downloads

      Data files

      GeoPackages

      Data files

      Population grid files

      Data files

      Data Explorer datasets

      Caution: Data Explorer can be problematic when trying to view and manipulate large datasets, such as SA2-based or LGA geographies released in this product. Please use the Excel data cubes provided above for these datasets. 

      Data in Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the reference period when using Data Explorer.

      Post-release changes

      29/04/2022 - The Interactive maps section has been updated to include animated maps of population change by SA1 and SA2.

      12/04/2022 - As advertised in this publication on 29 March 2022, this additional release contains interactive maps of population change 2020-21 and the population grid 2021.

      Previous catalogue number

      This release previously used catalogue number 3218.0