Australia's population increased by 337,800 people in the year to June 2016, but there are wide divergences between the growth rates in the various states and territories, the latest data shows.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the population increased overall by 1.4% to 24.1 million with the State of Victoria seeing the biggest growth.


Net overseas migration, that is incoming minus outgoing migrants, contributed 182,165 people to the increase over the 12 months and the net inflow was around 3% higher compared with a year earlier.

Natural population growth, births minus deaths, added 155,656 people to the population over the year to June 2016, which was around 2.6% higher compared with the previous year.

A breakdown of the figures show that the major eastern seaboard states are attracting most of the population growth while population growth is falling in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Victoria has seen the fastest growing population in the country since 2014 and the latest figures show the rate of growth increased further to 2.1% in the year to June 2016. The state experienced the largest ever net inflow of people from other states on record.

In addition, Victoria also experienced the largest net inflow from overseas since the global economic downturn caused a spike in inbound migration in 2009.

With such strong population growth, it is little wonder that the state is able to keep filling so many new homes.

Overall, the net inflow from overseas has remained relatively steady at around 180,000 over the last couple of years. However, a larger share of the net increase from overseas, now 75%, has occurred in New South Wales and Victoria. The increased share in these two states has largely been at the expense of migration in Western Australia.

In 2012 Western Australia received around a quarter the net inflow from overseas but the state's share dropped to only 7% in the year to June 2016, furthermore the state also recorded its largest ever net outflow of residents to other states.

According to the Housing Industry Association (HIA), the voice of Australia's residential building industry, these figures need to be taken into account by housing policymakers and developers.

'There is a naturally tight relationship between economic conditions, demography, and the requirement for residential building. Economic growth creates jobs, employment opportunities attract more people, and people need somewhere to live,' said economist Geordan Murray.

'With Victoria having been the strongest residential building market over the last few years and labour force figures showing the state had the largest trend increase in employment in November, Victoria seems to be ticking more of the boxes than any other jurisdiction at the moment,' he added.