CHARTS: Melbourne’s population is growing faster than Sydney’s

Jack Atley /Allsport

Australian population growth is accelerating again, growing by 372,000 to 24.386 million people in the 12 months to December last year, according to data released by the ABS this morning.

At 1.55%, it was the fastest population increase in percentage terms in the past three years.

And the bulk of that increase has been driven by net overseas migration, rising by 209,000 over the same period, accounting for 56% of Australia’s total population increase.

Natural increase, the number of births minus deaths, grew by a smaller 163,000 over the year.

This chart from the Commonwealth Bank’s economic teams shows the split between the two cohorts, along with the recent acceleration in the total population increase.

Source: CBA

However, while as a nation population growth is picking up, it only tells part of the story. In some parts of the country population is increasing rapidly, while in other parts it is not.

And when it comes to the former, no state or territory can match population growth in Victoria at present.

It’s booming, helping to explain why property prices and labour market conditions strengthened in the state over the same period.

According to the ABS, Victoria’s population grew by a massive 147,000 people last year, or 2.4%. That easily outpaced the increase reported in New South Wales over the same period of 116,400.

For the state with number plate slogans such as “on the move” and “the place to be”, it seems a highly appropriate assessment, at least in 2016.

This next chart shows how much more quickly Victoria’s population grew in percentage terms to other parts of the country over the year.

Source: CBA

As does this chart, showing that net interstate migration grew at significantly faster pace on a rolling 12-month basis in Victoria than in any other state or territory over the past year.

Source: CBA

And it’s a safe bet that many of those new arrivals to the state — be it from within Australia or abroad — ended up in Melbourne, Victoria’s state capital.

According to the ABS, greater Melbourne’s population swelled to 4,485,211 people in the 2016 census, putting it second only to greater Sydney with 4,823,991 people.

However, that gap between Australia’s two largest cities is slowly narrowing with the ABS reporting that an average of 1,859 people per week moved to Melbourne over the past five years, 200 more than than Sydney which averaged 1,656 per week over the same period.