Australia’s population hit a milestone: Here’s what it means to you

Australia reached a population milestone while you were sleeping

According to theAustralian Bureau of Statistics Australia’s population hit 24 million at 12.51am on Tuesday 16th February.  trend demographic age population demographic people increase

This is 17 years earlier than official predictions made at the turn of the century.

In fact we’ve  added the latest million people in record time.

It’s been just 2 years, 9 months and 2 days since 23 million ticked over.

During the second half of last century it took around four-and-a-half years to add each million people.

This is how fast we’re growing:

The ABS projects our population using this Population Clock There projections are based on the following estimates:

  • one birth every 1 minute and 44 seconds,
  • one death every 3 minutes and 24 seconds,
  • a net gain of one international migration every 2 minutes and 39 seconds.

Leading to an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 31 seconds.


Source: The Australian

Why are we growing so fast?

An up-tick in the fertility rate, greater longevity and robust net migration has driven the faster-than-expected arrival at this new population milestone.

In late 1999 – when the population reached 19 million – the Bureau of Statistics projected the national population would reach 24 million in 2033.

Trends at the time suggested the each new million people would be added in 7 to 9 years but instead Australia has been adding an extra million every 3-4 years.

One factor is a mini baby boom last decade.

Australia’s fertility rate rose from 1.7 babies per woman in 2001 to 2 babies per woman between 2007 and 2010.

That’s well below the peak fertility rate of 3.5 babies per woman reached in 1960 and 1961. Our improving longevity has also made a difference.

Since the turn of the century life expectancy has risen from 76.6 years to 80.3 years for men and from 82 years to 84.4 years for women.

Net overseas migration has also outstripped the forecasts made in the late 20th century although numbers have slowed somewhat in the past few years.

What does this mean for property investors?

Clearly our growing population will be one of the factors underpinning our property markets.

Even more important will be household formation and how and where people want to live.

We now want to live in the big capital cities.

This is very different from the time of Federation in 1901, when only 37% Australian’s 3.8 million people lived in a capital city.

Now 67% live in a capital city and this trend will continue with Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, set to top 5 million later this year having doubled in half a century.

And Melbourne, with a population of 4.5 million is catching up.

If you do the numbers, at their current rates of growth the population of Melbourne and Sydney will increase by another 7% or so in the next 5 years.

If Australia’s population continues to grow at 1.5 per cent per year – comparable to the rate in recent years – the bureau’s population clock will reach 40 million by mid-century.

Melbourne is projected to become Australia’s most populated city by the mid-2050s. Australia’s population is projected to be around 53 million by 2100.

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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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