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Migration driving Australia’s population growth

22 September 20230 comments

Australia’s population has grown to almost 26.5 million people thanks mostly to migration, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The data shows Australia was home to 26,473,055 people as of 31 March 2023. That amounts to record growth of 2000 people a day.

The quarterly growth was 181,600 people, or .7 per cent, and the annual growth was 563,200 people, or 2.2 per cent.

This represents increases of 108,800 through births and 454,400 through net overseas migration.

Net overseas migration increased by 362,500 people on the previous year

Meanwhile Victoria’s population increased by 161,700, or 2.3 per cent, to 6,766,600 – the largest of any state.

Ms Beidar Cho, ABS head of demography, said: “Thirteen months after international borders were re-opened, net overseas migration accounted for 81 per cent of growth and added 454,400 people to the population in the year to March 2023.”

Net overseas migration was driven by a large increase in arrivals (up 103 per cent from last year to 681,000) and only a small increase in overseas migrant departures (up 8.8 per cent to 226,600), the ABS said.

This pattern, low departures in particular, is a catch-up effect after closed international borders, as international students return with only a small number departing because very few arrived during the pandemic.

This effect is expected to be temporary as the number of departures will increase in the future as temporary students start departing in usual numbers.

Natural increase was 108,800 people, a decrease of 18.5 per cent from last year. There were 301,200 births and 192,300 deaths registered during this time, with deaths increasing 7.9 per cent and births decreasing 3.4 per cent. COVID-19 mortality was still a contributor to an increased number of deaths.

Western Australia is the fastest growing state (up 2.8 per cent) followed by Victoria (up 2.4 per cent) and Queensland (up 2.3 per cent).

The largest increase in total population was Victoria with 161,700 people, slightly more than New South Wales with 156,300 people.

The figures come in stark contrast to the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic when Australia saw its first decline in population since WWI.

The rise is being driven by migration which accounts for 81 per cent of total population growth.

The data shows deaths in Australia rose by 7.9 per cent to a record 192,300 through the year. The ABS said COVID-19 was still contributing to an increase in the number of deaths.

Read more here: National, state and territory population, March 2023 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (