Population growth in key Australian cities down to immigration, latest data shows

by Ray Clancy on April 30, 2018

in Australia Immigration

For the first time on record, Sydney’s population grew by more than 100,000 people in one year, according to new official figures.

Sydney’s population hit 5.1 million at June 2017, an increase of 101,600 people or 2% since June 2016, the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows.

Population Growth

(By Katty2016/Shutterstock.com)

But it was Melbourne that recorded the largest and fastest growth of Australia’s capital cities in 2016/2017, increasing by 125,400 or 2.7% to reach 4.9 million.

Together, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane accounted for over 70% of Australia’s population growth while Darwin, Adelaide and Perth recorded relatively low rates of population growth, each at 1% or less.

ABS demography director Anthony Grubb explained that the latest population figures were the first to include data on the components driving population change in Australia’s capital cities and regions, including who is moving from overseas and who is moving out.

‘It is now possible to not only see how much population is changing in an area, but to understand why this change is occurring,’ he said.

Indeed, the figures suggest that population rises in Melbourne and Sydney are due to new people moving from abroad, while there is also signs of local populations moving out, which some experts have suggested is because house prices are becoming too high or they cannot find a house to buy due to a supply shortage.

In Melbourne overseas migration was the major contributor to population growth, adding 80,000 people or 64% of the total population change while in Sydney overseas migration was also the major contributor at 84,700 people.

However, in Sydney there was also a large number moving out. Some 40,000 left to live in another part of New South Wales while 14,400 moved to Melbourne.

The figures were published at the same time as a new poll found that 56% of Australian believe that too many visas are being granted to overseas worker. They want the current cap of 190,000 a year to be reduced.

But Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said it is better to make sure that visas are being granted to people needed in Australia for their skills and experience rather than just cutting numbers.

He also admitted that the Government needs to work on encouraging new arrivals to live in regional areas rather than Melbourne or Sydney to reduce the pressure on infrastructure and housing.

‘I think the more productive debate is around who we’re bringing in, whether or not they’re the right people, are they integrating? Are they working hard, paying taxes? As long as you bring the right people in, I think that’s the priority,’ he told 2GB Radio.

He explained that he understood there were ‘sensitivities’ around congestion and housing affordability in capital cities. ‘But there are economic arguments around the fact we’ve got an ageing population, we want younger people paying taxes, and we’ve got to work on ways in which we can try to encourage people to move out of capital cities to try and revitalise some of those towns,’ he added.

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