Fastest population growth in three years: Craig James

Fastest population growth in three years: Craig James
Fastest population growth in three years: Craig James

GUEST OBSERVER

Australia’s population expanded by 372,805 people over the year to December 2016 to 24,385,625 people.

Overall, Australia’s annual population growth rate rose from 1.547 percent to 1.553 percent – the fastest population growth in almost three years.

Upward revision: With the release of the latest Census data, population estimates have been revised higher. The initial estimate of Australia’s population in the September quarter was revised up by 87,000.

Victoria leads: Over the past year population growth was the strongest in Victoria (2.40 per cent, just short of the June quarter 16 record of 2.42 per cent), followed by the ACT (1.71 per cent), NSW (1.52 per cent), Queensland (1.46 per cent), Western Australia (0.66 per cent), South Australia (0.61 per cent), Tasmania (0.58 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.26 per cent).

Census data: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a raft of data from the 2016 Census. Of interest, the median mortgage repayment fell 2.5 per cent to $1755 a month in the five years to 2016 while household income lifted 16.4 per cent and family income rose by 17.1 per cent.

The population figures are especially important for companies exposed to home building and consumer spending. The Census data is important for all businesses in planning new markets.

What does it all mean?

Victoria remains the population leader – a position it has for over two years. Before that, you have to go back to 1888 to find a time when Victoria held the position of the state with the fastest population growth. And not only is Victoria’s population growing at near the fastest rate on record, population numbers in the state have been revised up by 87,000.

Population is growing faster than decade averages in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania, underpinning housing demand. Interestingly Tasmania’s population growth rate has almost doubled in less than two years, driving growth for the local economy. 

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Fastest population growth in three years: Craig James

Australia’s baby boom continues. A total of 311,000 babies were born over the past year, just below the highest annual total on record. More hospitals and schools will be needed. Hopefully policymakers quickly get across the latest Census data quickly.

There are more people in Australia than previously estimated – in fact 87,000 extra people, requiring an extra 33,000 homes. Most of the “extra” people have been “found” in Victoria. But there are 58,000 fewer people in Western Australia than previously believed.

Amongst some of the interesting Census data released, the median mortgage repayment fell 2.5 per cent to $1,755 a month in the five years to 2016 while household income lifted 16.4 per cent. The data will be closely dissected by investors on a regional basis to gain insights on housing affordability.

The proportion of families renting is now broadly equal to those owning homes outright. This highlights the fact that interest rate decisions now only really interest 32 per cent of the population.

What do the figures show?

Population Statistics:

Australia’s population expanded by 372,805 people over the year to December 2016 to 24,385,625 people. Overall, Australia’s annual population growth rate rose from 1.547 per cent to 1.553 per cent – the fastest population growth in almost three years.

Over the past year population growth was the strongest in Victoria (2.40 per cent, just short of the June quarter 2016 record of 2.42 per cent), followed by the ACT (1.71 per cent), NSW (1.52 per cent), Queensland (1.46 per cent), Western Australia (0.66 per cent), South Australia (0.61 per cent), Tasmania (0.58 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.26 per cent).

Australia’s population grew by 78,397 people over the December quarter.

A total of 209,000 people migrated to Australia over year to December, up from 198,900 in the year to September and the biggest annual gain in three years. Still, growth is still down the peak of 315,700 migrants in the year to December 2008.

There were 311,000 babies born in the past year – just shy of the record growth of 315,500 babies born in the year to June 2016.

Population growth in Victoria is 19.4 per cent above the decade average and population in NSW is 9.2 per cent above the decade average.

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Fastest population growth in three years: Craig James

Census revisions

Following the release of Census data today, population estimates for the last five years can be updated. The population estimate for Australia in the September quarter has been revised up by 87,000. The biggest upward revision was for Victoria (+111,000), followed by NSW (+15,000), Queensland and the ACT (both +7,000); South Australia (+5,000). There was no change to population estimates for the Northern Territory and downward revisions for Tasmania (-1,000) and Western Australia (-58,000).

Census data

On average across Australia the median age of Aussies was 38; there were 0.9 people per bedroom; there were 2.64 people per dwelling (up from 2.63 people in 2011 and 2.61 people in 2006).

Between 2011 and 2016 the median household income rose by 16.4 per cent to $1,432 a week with the family income up by 17.1 per cent to $1,734 a week. The median rent rose 17.5 per cent to $335 a week and the median mortgage fell by 2.5 per cent to $1.755 a month. 

The proportion of families living in detached houses fell from 74.2 per cent in 2011 to 71.6 per cent in 2016; those in apartments fell from 14.3 per cent to 13.7 per cent; but those in semi0detached homes rose from 9.9 per cent to 12.7 per cent.

Why is the data important?

Demographic Statistics are issued by the Bureau of Statistics each quarter. The figures include estimates of births, deaths, in-bound and out-bound migration movements and estimates of population change by State.

What are the implications?

There are more people in Australia than previously believed and population growth remains solid. In short, the economy has much momentum. The latest strong employment figures can indeed be believed.

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Fastest population growth in three years: Craig James

Demand for infrastructure continues to rise, boosting the outlook for builders, building material companies and construction companies.

Income has risen strongly over the past five years but the median mortgage has actually gone backwards. The data throws new light on estimates of housing affordability.

The number of people per home continues to edge higher, highlighting the need to build more homes.

CommSec believes that cash rates will remain unchanged over the coming year. 

Craig James is the chief economist at CommSec.

Craig James

Craig James

Craig James is the Chief Economist at CommSec, interpreting ‘big picture’ economic and financial trends.

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Population Growth Census

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