FactCheck: is Australia’s population the ‘highest growing in the world’?

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said Australia is “the highest growing country in the world”, with population growth “double than a lot of other countries”. Is that right?

Liz AllenAustralian National UniversityPopulation Growth

We’re the highest growing country in the world – with 1.6% increase, and that’s double than a lot of other countries.

– One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, interview on Sky News Australia, May 9, 2018

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has proposed a plebiscite be held in tandem with the next federal election to allow voters to have “a say in the level of migration coming into Australia”.

Hanson has suggested cutting Australia’s Migration Programme cap from the current 190,000 people per year to around 75,000-100,000 per year.

On Sky News, Hanson said Australia is “the highest growing country in the world”.

The senator added that at 1.6%, Australia’s population growth was “double [that of] a lot of other countries”.

Are those statements correct?

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Checking the source

In response to The Conversation’s request for sources and comment, a spokesperson for Pauline Hanson said the senator “talks about population growth in the context of our high level of immigration because in recent years, immigration has accounted for around 60% of Australia’s population growth”.

The spokesperson added:

Australian Bureau of Statistics migration data for 2015-16 show that Australians born overseas represent 28% of the population, far higher than comparable countries like Canada (22%), UK (13%) or the US (14%).

World Bank data for 2017 show that Australia’s population growth was 1.6%, much higher than comparable countries with immigration programs like Canada (1.2%), the UK (0.6%) and the US (0.7%).

Verdict

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson was correct to say Australia’s population grew by 1.6% in the year to June 2017.

But she was incorrect to say Australia is “the highest growing country in the world”.

MigrationAccording to the most accurate international data, the country with the fastest growing population is Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula.

Senator Hanson said Australia’s 1.6% population growth was “double than a lot of other countries”.

It is fair to say that Australia’s population growth rate is double that of many other countries, including the United States (0.7%) and United Kingdom (0.7%), for example.

Since Hanson’s statement, Australia’s population growth rate for the period ending June 2017 has been revised upwards to 1.7%.

But Hanson’s number was correct at the time of her statement, and the revision doesn’t change the outcome of this FactCheck.

In terms of the 35 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Luxemberg was the fastest growing country in 2016, with Australia coming in fifth.

Caution must be used when making international population comparisons.

It’s important to put the growth rates in the context of the total size, density and demographic makeup of the population, and the economic stage of the country.

How do we calculate population growth?

A country’s population growth, or decline, is determined by the change in the estimated number of residents.

Large Group Of Stylized People.Those changes include the number of births and deaths (known as natural increase), and net overseas migration.

In Australia, both temporary and permanent overseas migrants are included in the calculation of population size.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, Australia’s population grew by 1.6% in the year to June 2017 – as Senator Hanson said.

Since Hanson’s statement, Australia’s population growth rate for the period ending June 2017 has been revised upwards to 1.7%.

But as said in the verdict, Hanson’s number was correct at the time of her statement, and the revision doesn’t change any of the other outcomes of this FactCheck.

That’s an increase of 407,000 people in a population of 24.6 million.

All states and territories saw positive population growth in the year to June 2017, with Victoria recording the fastest growth rate (2.4%), and South Australia recording the slowest growth rate (0.6%).

Immigration To Australia AnaliticsIs Australia’s population the ‘highest growing in the world’?

No, it’s not.

There are different ways of reporting population data.

Population projections are statements about future populations based on certain assumptions regarding the future of births, deaths and migration.

Population estimates are statistics based on data from a population for a previous time period.

Population estimates provide a more accurate representation of actual dynamics.

World Bank data for 2016 (based on population estimates) provide us with the most accurate international comparison.

According to those data, Australia’s growth rate — 1.5% for 2016 — placed it at 86th in the world.

The top 10 ranked countries grew by between 3-5%.

A1

Liz AllenAustralian National University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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