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Population projections for Australia’s capital cities - featured image
By Michael Matusik

Population projections for Australia’s capital cities

Much has been written of late about Australia’s rate of population growth.

Some say high migration is needed, others it is a Ponzi scheme.

A few are suggesting a plebiscite to set an annual target.

This week we will look at past population growth and the current projections.

4 Key Urban Trends

If I was to have a stab at it I would say that, unless we substantially change things; these four key urban trends are very likely to happen in coming decades:

1. The world’s population will continue to grow – mostly in the developing world - but also in places like Australia and in many other parts of the Pacific too. Population Groth

2. Technology's impact will continue to grow (note I didn’t say advance) and the things that are needed in this new tech (minerals etc.) will be in increasing demand and this works well for Australia.

3. China’s middle class will increase, growing the demand for services, places to visit and live.
Australia is in a pole position here but we have to get our heads out of our backsides.
Too many seem to think that China’s 1.4 billion are here to serve us 25 million Australians.

4. Urbanisation will continue to accelerate, not only in developing nations but western countries as well, including Australia.

I could argue that piling more people into Sydney, Melbourne, south east Queensland and Perth, is, under current conditions, causing more harm than good, but the trends and forecast suggest that this will continue, and in fact, is likely to hasten in the future.

It is projected that Australia’s population will increase by between 350,000 and 400,000 per annum over the next 25 years.  

And much of this growth, close to 80%, will take place in just four urban areas being:

  • Sydney: 82,000 per annum
  • Melbourne: 92,500 per annum
  • South east Queensland: 72,000 (being Brisbane increasing by 53,000 pa, Gold Coast by 12,000 pa and the Sunshine Coast by 7,000 pa)
  • Perth: 70,000 per annum

For more detail see our table below:

Capitals 2016 actual population 2026 forecast population 2006 to 2016 past growth pa 2016 to 2026 projected growth pa Change last 10 years versus projected growth
Sydney 5,029,768 5,848,668 77,364 81,890 4,526 6%
Melbourne 4,725,316 5,650,216 96,456 92,490 -3,966 -4%
Brisbane 2,360,241 2,888,041 45,198 52,780 7,582 17%
Adelaide 1,324,279 1,479,079 13,504 15,480 1,976 15%
Perth 2,022,044 2,729,444 44,513 70,740 26,227 59%
Hobart 224,462 242,062 1,971 1,760 -211 -11%
Darwin 145,916 165,816 3,246 1,990 -1,256 -39%
Canberra 403,468 480,668 6,830 7,720 890 13%
Capitals 16,235,494 19,483,994 289,080 324,850 35,770 12%

For mine Sydney and Melbourne’s projections are light – they will most likely be closer to 100,000 per annum over the next decade – and whilst the Western Australian’s economy appears to be on the mend, Perth isn’t likely to see a 70,000 annum increase in population in coming years.  australia high resolution

I think something like 50,000 per annum is more likely.

South east Queensland’s projection, whilst higher than the past ten years, feels right.

It could be higher if more sub dividable land was made available in the Brisbane City Council area; west of the M1 on the Gold Coast and along the railway towns on the Sunshine Coast.

About Michael Matusik Michael is director of independent property advisory Matusik Property Insights. He is independent, perceptive and to the point; has helped over 550 new residential developments come to fruition and writes his insightful Matusik Missive
1 comment

I think you may have old stats: Melbourne and Adelaide in particular have started to speed up in 2017. I don't know about the others, but they are probably also speeding up.

0 replies


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