Three charts on Australia’s population shift and the big city squeeze: Nick Parr

Three charts on Australia’s population shift and the big city squeeze: Nick Parr
Three charts on Australia’s population shift and the big city squeeze: Nick Parr

The ConversationGUEST OBSERVER

Melbourne is Australia's most rapidly growing city, a title it wrested from Perth around 2013-14. Several of Australia's big cities are growing well above the national average population growth rate.

At around 1.5 percent, Australia’s current population growth rate is above the world rate of about 1.2 percent, and among the highest in the OECD.

Net international migration comprised about 55 percent of Australia’s population growth in 2015-16. Natural increase – that’s births minus deaths – makes up the rest.

Victoria is Australia’s fastest-growing state

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that, since about 2013, Victoria’s population growth rate has risen to become the highest of all the states and territories in Australia.

Click to enlarge

Victoria’s population growth rate (the pale green line) has risen to become the highest of all the states and territories. Western Australia (the black line) was previously the most rapidly growing state but the growth rate has fallen rapidly.
Source: ABS Cat 3218.0 Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2015-16
 

Western Australia was previously the fastest-growing state but its population growth rate has fallen sharply (by about 70% since 2011-12), likely driven by the demise of the mining boom. Queensland’s growth has declined more gradually.

Victoria’s higher population growth rate is due to it having the highest per capita rate of net international migration of all the states and territories and the largest net in-movement from elsewhere in Australia.

The most important reason for Victoria’s higher rate of net international migration was its higher per capita inflow of international students. Victoria also gained more people due to permanent migration.

After 2012, the net movement of New Zealand citizens to Australia fell rapidly (by 83% in two years). Due to its fall in numbers being shallower, Victoria replaced Queensland as the state receiving the largest net inflow of New Zealand citizens.

About 68% of the precipitous drop in Western Australia’s population growth rate since 2011-12 is because international migration to that state has fallen away. Previously, more people moved to Western Australia from the other states than in the other direction. Now, that trend has reversed.

Decreased net international migration also explains most of the decrease in Queensland’s growth rate over this period.

Big city squeeze

In recent years, Australia’s population has become increasingly concentrated in its largest cities, and several big cities are growing at well above the average Australian population growth rate.

Melbourne is Australia’s most rapidly growing city, a title it wrested from Perth around 2013-14.

Click to enlarge

Australia’s population has become increasingly concentrated in its largest cities. By 2013-14, Melbourne had replaced Perth as the most rapidly growing city.

Source: ABS Cat 3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 

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Demographics City Population

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