By Bob Wilson, 22nd June 2012
Western Australia’s mining boom has underpinned dramatic population growth, with the west’s population up 14.2% since the 2006 Census. WA led the country in rate of population growth for calendar 2011, with a rate of 2.9%, over twice the national average (at 1.4%) and well ahead of its nearest rivals ACT (+1.8%) and Queensland (+1.5%). The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed some interesting comparisons in the first release of data from the 2011 Census.
In numbers terms, WA, Australia’s fourth largest State by population, increased by some 67,400 people in calendar year 2011, for a total population approaching 2.4 million at the end of December, 2011. Queensland, Australia’s third largest State by population, and with a base population almost twice that of WA, actually increased by fewer people than WA (approximately 66,500 people) for a total at the end of 2011 of approximately 4.5 million.
The second-fastest growing area in calendar 2011 was the considerably smaller ACT (+1.8%). The ACT was also in second place over the past five years. The ACT’s population increase of 10.1% over five years was attributed to positive net interstate migration and Canberra’s status as the nation’s top fertility spot.
Victoria, with an increase of 1.4%, matched the Australian average and was not too far behind Queensland (+1.5%). NSW recorded a growth rate of +1%, while South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania recorded rates of population growth below 1%, with Tasmania lowest at 0.4%.
Although net interstate migration for June 2006 to June 2011 was somewhat lower than for the previous five year period, both Queensland and Western Australia recorded much greater gains from interstate migration than the other States and Territories. Queensland’s gain from interstate migration was 85,200 over the period June 2006 to June 2011, with WA gaining 22,900 over the same period. ACT, Victoria and Tasmania showed small net gains from interstate migration, whereas New South Wales (-92,900) South Australia (-18,400) and the Northern Territory (-1,200) all showed net losses.
Overseas migration accounted for just over half of Australia’s annual population growth in 2011. Net overseas migration (184,000 people) was 9% (or 15,100) higher than December 2010 (168,800 people). ABS preliminary figures show there were 296,700 births registered in the year ending December 2011, 2.5% more than in 2010. The number of deaths registered over the same period was 147,000, 2.5% more than in 2010.
The ABS analysis of population components between 2006 and 2011 concluded that overseas migration was the dominant source of new people. There was a natural increase of 744,100 people since 2006, compared to 601,400 between 2001 and 2006. Net overseas migration contributed 1.174 million people between 2006 and 2011, more than double the growth between 2001 and 2006 (597,500).
The 16th national Census cost $400 million and involved 43,000 people who were paid $159 million to deliver, collect, pack, transport and manage the distribution of 9.8 million forms. The 2011 Census was the third to offer householders the option to fill in the form online. Nearly 10% of households used the eCensus option in 2006. The ABS is expecting a 25% increase in Internet use in 2011.
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