Australian population reaches 23 million as number of overseas arrivals rise

by Ray Clancy on April 23, 2013

in General Information

Net overseas migration accounted for 57% of population growth

Australian population reaches 23 million as number of overseas arrivals rise

The population of Australia is set to reach 23 million today and most of the increase is down to new arrivals, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). ‘The 23rd millionth person could be a new born baby, but could equally be a person coming to work in Australia or a returning backpacker who has been away for more than a year,’ said Bjorn Jarvis, director of ABS demography.

Australia continues to grow at the fastest rate in the developed world and the 23 million figure is reached by averaging the expected number of births, deaths and net overseas migration intake (incoming residents minus outgoing) since data was last collected in September 2012. The figures show that with an annual population growth rate of 1.7%, the number of people in Australia is growing at the rate of 1,048 people per day. This is much faster than similar countries. In the United States the population is growing at 0.9% and in the UK it is 0.6%.

It is even faster that the overall growth in the world’s population which is 1.1%. Australian population growth is even outstripping countries with traditionally high birth rates, such as India on 1.4%. The data shows that it is migration, rather than an elevated birth rate, that is the main driver behind Australia’s population growth. Net overseas migration accounted for 60% of Australia’s population increase last year, with the proportion from births falling from 46% to 40%.

According to Bob Birrell, from Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research, growth is being driven upwards by people on temporary visas who make up about half of the growth in net migration. The number of working holidaymakers, visitors, 457 visa holders and arrivals from New Zealand have all been going up sharply.

‘There is no cap on working holiday makers and we are a very attractive destination now for people from Ireland, Taiwan, England, where the labour markets are dead,’ he explained. Almost two thirds of permanent arrivals last year were on some kind of working visa, 30% arrived on family visas and 7% on humanitarian visas.

Quote from AustraliaForum.com : “Australia’s population grew by 1.7% during the year to the end of September 2012 with net overseas migration contributing 60% to the growth, the latest figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.”

Western Australia has experienced the strongest growth with the state’s population reaching 2.45 million at the end of September 2012, an annual increase of 3.4% or 81,700 people. Western Australia experienced record levels of population growth and the highest annual growth rate since the early 1970s,’ said Jarvis. The state had a high level of net overseas migration of 50,600 people, up 46 % and a natural increase of births minus deaths of 20,000, up 5%. There was also a net interstate migration of 11,100, a rise of 59%.

The ABS figures show that overall net overseas migration (NOM) added 228,000 people to the population to the year ending September 2012, a 32% increase compared with September 2011. This is the highest annual increase in net overseas migration in five years. ‘This figures also highlight a 4% or 6,000 people rise in natural increase over the past year, which is the highest increase in almost four years reaching 154,500 people,’ Jarvis said.

The number of births increased by 2.7%, reaching 303,600 births, over the past year and the number of deaths increased by 1.3%, reaching 149,100 deaths during the same period.

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