Population Blues: What's Wrong With New South Wales?

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As Australia officially breaks the 23 million population mark the O’Farrell Government won’t be happy with the latest release of the ABS census data which shows a deterioration in its tax base as more people leave the state and less babies are born.

Sure NSW is still the biggest state by some way with 7,381,100 residents in March 2013, compared to 5.7 million in Victoria and 4.6 million in Queensland with Western Australia having only 2.5 million people.

But the ABS data showed the premier state in the year to March 2013 was the only one to report a negative birth rate (-0.9%) while the other states and territories had positive birth rates with Tasmania (4.9%) and Western Australia (4.8%) leading the way.

Something in the water down south and out west?

But unless O’Farrell channels his inner Peter Costello and urges New South Welshmen to do their bit by having one for mum, one for dad and one for the Blues there isn’t much he can do about the birth rate.

More concerning though is the net interstate migration which showed the mining states still booming with Queensland gaining 10,300 people and Western Australia saw 9,300 people move across the Nullabor with 16,600 leaving New South Wales.

New South Wales even lost its mantle as the place where overseas immigrants want to live losing it to Victoria in the March quarter for the first time since the aberrant June 2011 data.

So what’s up with New South Wales? It’s tough to know but maybe, just maybe, Sydney housing prices and the growth of opportunities elsewhere might finally be starting to bite.

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