WA leads the way for population growth

Australia’s population growth has slowed but is still above the long-term average.

The population at the end of June was 23.5 million, which marked a 1.6 per cent increase on the previous year.

WA was the biggest mover, growing 2.2 per cent to 2.6 million people, while Tasmania made the smallest gain, growing 0.3 per cent to 515,000.

Victoria climbed 1.9 per cent to 5.8 million, NSW grew 1.5 per cent to 7.5 million, and Queensland also rose 1.5 per cent to 4.7 million.

The ACT’s population increased by 1.2 per cent to 386,000, the NT’s by 1.0 per cent to 245,000 and South Australia’s by 0.9 per cent to 1.7 million.

Net overseas migration provided 58 per cent of Australia’s population growth, while natural increase generated the other 42 per cent.

Housing Industry Association (HIA) economist Geordan Murray said Australia’s annual growth fell from 1.8 per cent in 2012/2013 but was still well above the long-term average.

“Compared with many other developed economies, Australia has been a star performer over the last few years,” he said. “With shortages of skilled labour evident in many industries and a relatively strong-looking economy, Australia has proved to be a very attractive destination for overseas migrants and was equally attractive for Australians who would have otherwise considered opportunities overseas.

“With developed economies having found their feet and Australia’s resource sector investment boom receding amidst a rising unemployment rate, the attraction is not as strong as it once was.”

In 2014, Australia had the 51st-largest population in the world. It is forecast to reach 38 million in 2050, which is expected to place it 55th.

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