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The Latest State Population Trends In Australia

The Latest State Population Trends In Australia
March 5, 2020 Propertyology Head of Research and REIA Hall of Famer, Simon Pressley

According to latest ABS data, Australia’s population increase by a further 381,619 over the 12-months ending June 2019. Australia’s population growth rate is one of the very highest in the developed world and has consistently increased by between 350,000 and 400,000 per annum since 2007.

37.5 percent of total population growth was from natural increase (births and deaths) while 62.5 percent was from overseas migration.

Latest State Population Trends

After stealing the mantle from Western Australia and Queensland back in 2013, Victoria has maintained its lead with 2.01 percent being the highest state population growth rate over the 12-months ending June 2019.

Queensland (1.68 percent) and ACT (1.49 percent) were next best while New South Wales (1.35 percent) is slipping.

Tasmania (1.12 percent) has sustained its 5-year run of improvement while Western Australia (1.05 percent) and South Australia (0.87 percent) were steady and Northern Territory (-0.48 per cent) is in dire straits.


Australian Capital Territory:

ACT produced their highest ever years for population growth in 2016 and 2017. While the total population growth rate is still strong, the contribution from interstate migration has been declining over the last 3 years. Canberra has become a popular destination for international students, and it’s noted that 49 percent of total population growth last year was through overseas migration.

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New South Wales:

With annual population growth of 118,000 in 2017 and 2018 calendar years, ABS data as at June 2019 suggests that NSW is on track for circa 100,000 population growth in the 2019 calendar year. The easing in population growth is primarily due to a reduction in overseas migration, although a significant 85,864 people (79 percent) of total population growth still came from overseas. While internationals are drawn to NSW, the state (refer ‘Sydney’) is less popular among Australian residents with a net 22,063 people moving interstate over the 12-months to June 2019.

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Latest State Population Trends

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Northern Territory:

A state’s economic performance is often reflected in population trends and that’s certainly the case in Australia’s Top End. While there was a net annual gain of 2,524 from births and deaths, NT’s total population is in decline. The 4,371 residents (or 1.75 percent of total population) that chose to relocate interstate last year is the most concerning Australian population statistic that I’ve seen. Let’s hope that community stakeholders rediscover their mojo soon.



Total population growth of 85,676 over the last 12-months is a significant increase on the 57,670 in 2015 calendar year and is getting back towards the circa 90,000 annual average that Queensland saw between 2002 and 2009. The 22,831 net increase from interstate migration is a biproduct of housing affordability pressures in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Wollongong. Only 38 percent of Queensland’s population growth came from overseas migration (Australia’s second smallest percentage – NT had a net loss).

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South Australia:

South Australia had a population lull in 2016 and 2017 when annual growth was less than 11,500, however it has subsequently accelerated and is now running at an annualised growth of 17,000. Growth is driven heavily by overseas migration (91 percent of total growth over the 12-months ending June 2019). The state still lost 3,958 residents to interstate migration over the year, although the rate of decline appears to be easing.


2018 was Tasmania’s biggest ever calendar year population increase and ABS data for the first 6-months of 2019 confirms that momentum is being retained. Interstate migration’s 34 percent contribution to total population change is the highest of all states, confirming that Tasmania’s popularity among mainland residents continues to accelerate.



Since producing its highest ever calendar year population growth of 151,814 in 2016, there’s been a gradual easing in Victoria’s population growth back to an annualised pace of 135,000, although it is still Australia’s biggest population drawcard. Overseas migration represents 63 percent of total growth. While internal migration to Victoria is still positive (12,198 over the last 12-months) it has eased significantly from the 19,000 in 2016.

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Western Australia:

Once Australia’s biggest beneficiary of interstate migration, WA has been losing residents to other states since March 2014. While it still lost 6,451 people over the 12-months to June 2019, the rate of decline has been easing since 2017. Net overseas migration appears to be accelerating and represented 58 percent of the 27,499 total population growth over the last 12-months.

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Feature Photo: keitma © 123RF.com

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