Honey, I shrunk the kids – fewer births and deaths last year


Australia’s population increased by 136,300 people in 2020.

This was the slowest population growth since ABS records began in 1982.

There were 294,400 babies born in Australia last year, the fewest births in 13 years – down 3.9% over the previous year.

Fewer births

And there were 161,400 deaths in the past year down by 3.4% over the previous year.

Natural increase (births less deaths) for the year to December was 133,100, to be down by 4.5 per cent

Fewer deaths

Population growth is expected by policymakers to fall to the slowest annual rate since World War I at just 0.2 per cent over the current financial year with the Federal Government forecasting a decline in net overseas migration of 77,000 in 2021/22.

It’s unlikely that migration growth will meaningfully pick up until late 2022 and is highly dependent on a greater proportion of the population being vaccinated, enabling the broader re-opening of borders.

Overall we experienced the slowest population growth in a century and an extended period of international border closures is likely to eventually constrain the economy, particularly in the labour and housing markets given Australia’s ageing population.

Of course, countries like Australia with higher COVID-19 vaccination rates could reopen their borders more quickly attracting international tourists, students, and highly skilled workers.


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Kate Forbes is a National Director Property Strategy at Metropole. She has 15 years of investment experience in financial markets in two continents, is qualified in multiple disciplines and is also a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Visit Metropole Melbourne

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