Victoria leads the way for population growth

Australia’s population growth has continued to slow from its peak in 2008-09 and is now just below the 20-year average growth rate.

The national population reached 23.7 million at the end of March after growing 1.4 per cent over the year, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Deaths throughout Australia exceeded births by 12,600. However, this was offset by net overseas migration of 173,100 people, which represented 55 per cent of the country’s population growth.

Victoria recorded the strongest growth, expanding its population by 1.7 per cent to 5.9 million.

NSW and Western Australia both recorded 1.4 per cent growth, with NSW’s population reaching 7.6 million and WA’s reaching 2.6 million.

Queensland and the ACT both experienced 1.3 per cent growth, with Queensland climbing to 4.8 million and the ACT climbing to 390,000.

South Australia’s population increased 0.8 per cent to 1.7 million.

The two laggards were Tasmania, which grew 0.3 per cent to 516,000, and the Northern Territory, which grew 0.2 per cent to 244,000.

ABS director of demography Denise Carlton said Victoria and Queensland were the only states to record a net gain from interstate migration.

Ms Carlton said WA’s population growth slowed due to migration – for the first time in a decade, more Australians moved out of the state than into it, while net overseas migration fell 71 per cent over the past two years.

Population growth slumped to 11-year lows in the NT, according to Ms Carlton.

“Net interstate migration losses were the greatest contributor to this slower growth, with the territory recording its largest ever interstate migration loss in the year to March 2015,” she said.

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