The national rate of annual population growth increased to 1.75% over the December 2012 quarter on the back of higher migration rates and a record number of births.
Population growth has continued to accelerate across Australia with 394,200 new Australian residents over the 2012 calendar year.
The latest demographic figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics take the national population to 22.9 million residents at the end of last year.
A more recent estimate of the current population can be seen in the ABS Population Clock which is currently indicating a national population of 23.094 million residents.
At the national level Australia’s population growth is comprised of the net rate of overseas migration plus the rate of natural increase (births minus deaths).
Overseas migration is the most significant contributor to population growth, equating to 60% of national population growth.
The rate of natural increase has seen a substantial rise due to a large number of new births and a decline in the number of deaths over the year.
There were 305,400 births in Australia over the past twelve months, the largest number on record.
Across the states and territories the most significant population growth is occurring in Victoria where there were an additional 99,548 residents over the 2012 calendar year.
The largest proportion of Victoria’s population growth came from overseas migration (56.4%), however a larger than average proportion of Victoria’s population growth was from natural increase (41.8%), while a very small proportion can be attributed to interstate migration flows (1.7%).
Queensland recorded the second largest number of new residents at 92,453 followed by New South Wales where there were 90,441 more residents over the year.
The contributing components of population growth were quite different between Queensland and New South Wales.
[sam id=36 codes=’true’]While both states are sourcing the majority of their population growth via overseas migrants, Queensland has historically recorded a substantial net interstate migrant inflow; last year there an 11,354 net residents moved to Queensland from other Australian states while New South Wales lost a net 17,761 residents to other states.
In raw numbers, Western Australia recorded the fourth largest number of new residents (+83,031) but was the state to record the fastest rate of population growth by quite a wide margin.
Western Australia’s population increased by 3.5% over the 2012 calendar year; nearly twice the pace of the national average.
Western Australia has attracted the third largest number of net overseas migrants with 52,306 new permanent or long term residents moving to Western Australia over the calendar year.
The Australian Capital Territory also recorded a rapid rate of population growth, up 2.3% over the 2012 calendar year; the second fastest growth rate of any state or territory.
With the impending election and possible cuts to the Federal Government labour force, we would presume this rate of population growth is likely to slow during 2013.
Tasmania and South Australia have recorded the slowest pace of population growth, up by 0.9% and 0.1% respectively.
Interstate migration has been a drain on both states with a net 2,650 Tasmanian’s moving to another state or territory and 3,345 net South Australians moving interstate over the year.
The release of the Australian demographic series over 2013 will be an interesting flow of data to monitor. Last time we saw labour market weakness (2008) we saw some sharp policy adjustments to the migration intake which resulted in a slump in population growth.
With labour markets nationally once again likely to see a rise in the rate of unemployment and jobs creation running below trend we may once again start to renewed pressure to reduce migration quota’s in response to the softening labour market.
Looking at the more timely overseas arrivals and departures data, it already appears to be the case that long term and permanent arrival numbers from overseas are starting to level off at near historic highs.