CHARTS: Australia's population hit a record high in 2014, but the pace of growth is slowing quickly


Australia’s population rose by 64,000 to 23.626 million in the final quarter of 2014, an increase of 330,200, or 1.42%, on a year ago, according to new figures from the ABS released today.

CBA economist Gareth Aird delved into the numbers and produced some cracking charts dissecting key components and overall trends. Here are just a few of the charts he’s come up with, followed by a quick explanation.

Australian population growth.

While the overall size of the population increased, the rate of growth is slowing. The rate of natural increase, essentially births minus deaths, continued to slow while net overseas migration, the largest component of population increase, slowed to just 184,100, the smallest annual increase since June 2011 and well below the record high of 315,700 seen in the year to December 2008. Despite the slowdown in net overseas migration, it still accounted for 56% of total population growth in 2014.

Population growth by state, expressed as a percentage.

All states bar South Australia saw the pace of population growth slow in the December quarter. According to Aird, “the decline in mining investment and associated downturn in mining-related employment has contributed to a sharp slowdown in WA’s population growth”, something that is clearly demonstrated in the chart.

Net interstate migration.

Victoria and Queensland were the only states to record positive net interstate migration. Not only did Victoria see the largest increase in interstate migration, the level was the highest seen in 40 years.

Here’s Aird on the likely explanation behind the surge.

“It looks like it’s the result of people returning to Victoria as the jobs dwindle in the resource rich states of WA and Qld. It also helps to explain Victoria’s decent economic growth more recently”.

And here’s one final chart, produced by ourselves, showing the number of Australians aged 65 years and older. In the December quarter the number increased to 3.456 million, some 14.6% of the nation’s total population. Clearly the numbers are growing.

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