Australian population growth picks up as immigration hits a 4-year high

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Australia’s population rose to 24.22 million in September last year, according to data released by the ABS this morning.

The figure was up by close to 350,000, or 1.5%, from 12 months earlier, the fastest percentage increase since mid-2014.

The ABS said that net overseas migration (NOM) accounted for the majority of the increase.

“Net overseas migration added 193,200 people to the population, and accounted for 55% of Australia’s total population growth, the ABS said.

492,800 people arrived from overseas, with 299,600 departing.

Source: ABS

The increase in NOM was the fastest rate in four years, lead by sharp gains in Australia’s eastern states.

“Compared with last year, Queensland had the fastest growing NOM, increasing by 19%,” ABS demography director Beidar Cho said. “New South Wales and Victoria remain popular destinations for migrants, growing by 11% and 13% respectively.

Tasmania was the only other state or territory to register an increase compared to a year earlier, rising by 9%.

Despite the acceleration in overseas migration, the increase was still well below the record 300,000 plus increase reported in 2009.

Outside of immigration, the ABS said that natural increase contributed 155,500 additional people to Australia’s population, made up of 315,000 births and 159,500 deaths.

Including changes from natural increase, this table from the ABS shows the increase in population by state and territory.

Source: ABS

Whether in numbers or percentage terms, Victoria registered the fastest increase in population over the year.

In absolute terms, New South Wales added 109,600 people and 67,700 in Queensland.

Perhaps reflective of better economic conditions, all states and territories in eastern Australia registered gains of 1.4% or higher. In western parts of the country, Western Australia was the only state to come near those rates at 1%.

In terms of where Australia’s existing population shifted over the year, it was a continuation of a familiar theme — more people left than arrived in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory, while the opposite occurred in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

“Victoria continued a recent trend of recording the highest net gain with 17,200 people, up from 11,200 people in the year to September 2015,” said the ABS.

“This was followed by Queensland (+13,000) and the Australian Capital Territory (+100).”

Of the other states, net losses from interstate migration were recorded in New South Wales (-11,700), South Australia (-6,500), Western Australia (-9,200), Tasmania (-100 people) and the Northern Territory (-2,800).

Source: ABS