Here's where Australia's population lives, and where it's growing the fastest

Matt Blyth / Getty Images / File
  • Australia has an average population density of 3.3 people per square kilometre. That figure, however, is not reflective of how population is distributed across the country.
  • The ACT has the highest population density of any state and territory in Australia, followed by Victoria and New South Wales. The Northern Territory has the lowest.
  • Inner-city Melbourne has the highest population density of any region at 20,700 people per square kilometre.

Australia is a large country with a comparatively small population, at least compared to other nations of similar land mass.

This map from the ABS underlines this point.


It shows Australia’s estimated population density across the country at the end of June last year.

According to the ABS, Australia’s population density was 3.3 people per square kilometre based on latest estimates, a figure largely reflecting that large parts of the country are covered by desert or semi-arid landscapes.

The ACT, at 179 people per square kilometre, had the highest population density of any state or territory, followed by Victoria at 28, New South Wales with 10 and Tasmania at 7.8.

If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, the Northern Territory may be what you’re looking for, having an average population density of just 0.2 people per square kilometre, the lowest in the country.

While population density, from a nationwide perspective, is very low, that’s not to say there aren’t parts of Australia that have a lot of people living in them. There are, if you look closely enough at the map.

Sydney has 53 square kilometres where population density exceeds 8,000 people, near triple Melbourne which has 15 square kilometers exceeding where 8,000 or more people live.


Breaking the population of Australia’s largest capital cities down even further, the ABS said inner-city Melbourne, with 20,700 people per square kilometre, was the region with the highest population density in Australia, followed by Potts Point-Woolloomooloo and Pyrmont-Ultimo in Sydney with 16,600 and 16,500 people per square kilometre.

As for the fastest growing regions, this list from the ABS shows the regions that recorded both the largest and fastest growth in population in the year to June last year.


Both lists were dominated once again by regions in Melbourne and Sydney, reflecting that these cities also recorded the largest increase in population over the year.

This final chart from the ABS shows the breakdown of what drove the increase in population in Australia’s capital cities in the year to June last year.


For those looking for further information, if you click here it will take you to the full ABS report. It contains a lot of useful and interesting information.

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