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By Brett Warren

Australia’s population grew at fastest rate since 2008 – we added 1361 people a day

key takeaways

Key takeaways

The country experienced an increase of 496,800 people throughout the year, reaching a total population of 26.3 million people by the end of 2022.

The significant population growth was driven by the largest annual intake of migrants in Australia's history. However, a large portion of these migrants were temporary and came to address critical labor shortages, which means these numbers are expected to decline in the coming years.

The influx of migrants has exacerbated the already tight housing market in Australia. As migrants do not bring homes with them, the demand for rental properties has increased, leading to skyrocketing rents and a strain on the rental markets.

The increased population is expected to underpin economic growth and alleviate some of the pressure on the job market. The sheer number of new residents could offset the negative impact of reduced consumer spending caused by rising interest rates.

Australia’s population grew at its fastest rate in more than 13 years in 2022.

According to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), it grew by a whopping 1.9 per cent in 2022.

We recorded an increase of 496,800 people through 2022, driven by the nation’s single largest annual intake of migrants,  and while the figures are significant, a large portion of the migrants were only in Australia temporarily to address critical labour shortages and these numbers would fall over the coming years.

Annual Population Growth Rate(a)(b) (1)

And this is occurring at a time when we are experiencing a severe undersupply of properties, and as these migrants don't bring a home with them when they come to Australia, the tight rental markets and skyrocketing rents are likely to continue for some time.

Will this be enough for us to avoid a recession?

Twelve interest rate rises, stubbornly high inflation, wage decisions that risks a wage-price spiral and new economic data suggesting Australia’s economic growth has all but come to a standstill has had many economists worried about the prospect of of a recession later this year or early next.

However it is likely the extra half a million people who called Australia home in 2022 will underpin economic growth and ease some of the tight jobs market and the sheer weight of numbers could offset the negative impact of Australians spending less as interest rates bite.

These migrants have to set up a new household and that’s driving demand and fuelling our economy.

Many of the new residents are coming with fat cheque books and as they tend to rent for some time before they buy a home they're not likely to feel the pain of high interest rates that Aussie mortage holders are feeling ”

On the other hand, their increased demand for goods and services may also help push up inflation further which will only lead to more interest rates rises.

Of course our property prices  and rents will keep rising as the housing supply-demand equation tightens further.

We added 1361 people a day in 2022

Beidar Cho, ABS head of Demography, said:

"Our population at 31 December 2022 is 26.3 million people after we recorded an increase of 496,800 people over the year.

This is a growth rate of 1.9 per cent, the highest seen since 2008."

There were 619,600 overseas migration arrivals and 232,600 departures, resulting in Australia’s population growing by 387,000 people from overseas migration.

Ms Cho further said:

"Recovery of international student arrivals is driving net overseas migration to historic highs, while departures are lagging behind levels typically seen over the past decade.

This pattern is expected to continue as international students return following the reopening of international borders, however, there are fewer students ready to depart because very few arrived during the pandemic."

Meanwhile, the natural increase was 109,800 people, a decrease of 23.4 per cent from the previous year.

There were 300,700 births and 190,900 deaths registered during this time, with deaths increasing by 11.1 per cent and births decreasing by 4.6 per cent. COVID-19 mortality was the main contributor to an increased number of deaths and lower natural increase in 2022.

Components Of Annual Population Change(a)

States and territories

Components Of Annual Population Growth

States and territories

Additional data from ABS show that:

  • All states and territories had positive population growth over the year ending 31 December 2022.
  • Western Australia had the fastest growth rate (2.3%).
  • Tasmania had the slowest rate (0.5%).
  • Net overseas migration was the major contributor to change in most states, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
  • Natural increase was the major contributor to change in the Northern Territory.
Population at 31 December 2022 ('000) Change over previous year ('000) Change over previous year (%)
New South Wales 8238.8 138.0 1.7
Victoria 6704.3 137.7 2.1
Queensland 5378.3 116.6 2.2
South Australia 1834.3 28.5 1.6
Western Australia 2825.2 62.7 2.3
Tasmania 571.6 2.9 0.5
Northern Territory 250.1 2.0 0.8
Australian Capital Territory 460.9 8.3 1.8
Australia (a) 26268.4 496.8 1.9

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

About Brett Warren Brett Warren is National Director of Metropole Properties and uses his two decades of property investment experience to advise clients how to grow, protect and pass on their wealth through strategic property advice.
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