With Australia’s population growth rate having just increased from 1.6% to 1.7%, the population milestone of 23 million will be reached this Tuesday, 23 April at 9.57pm Sydney time.

While this doesn’t sound like much in percentage terms, it is a population increase of 382,500 in the last year. Our current population increase is the equivalent of one new Coffs Harbour every 8 weeks, or one new Gold Coast every 19 months!

Population of Australia: 23 Million on 23 April, 2013 infographic

Twice the Size of 1966

In 1966 Australia’s population was 11.5 million and so it has taken just 47 years to double to 23 million. The global population doubled at a slightly faster rate, hitting 3.5 billion in 1968 and reaching 7 billion in late 2011, a period of just over 43 years.

World-Beating Growth Rate

The global population is increasing at 1.1% per annum, the fastest growing country in total numbers, India is growing at 1.4% while Australia’s growth is 1.7%.

But hitting 23,000,000 well after other nations

The population of the UK reached 23 million in 1830 and the USA got there in 1850!

Births Exceed 300,000

For the first time in Australia’s history, annual births have exceeded 300,000 in the last year. Keep in mind that the original Baby Boom which created Australia’s largest generation – the Baby Boomers, peaked out at 260,000 births in the early 1960’s.

Half as many Deaths as Births

While the birth rate has been growing, the death rate has been declining. A factor of increasing longevity, and an ageing population, is that the Standardised Death Rate (deaths per 1,000 population) has fallen to 5.59 and total annual deaths in the last year were 149,100.

Population Growth from Migration Increases, Proportion from Natural Increase declines

The Net Overseas Migration figure of 228,000 is an increase of almost one-third (32.2%) on the previous year. The proportion of population growth contributed by migration is now 60%, and the proportion from natural increase is 40%. Permanent overseas arrivals are expected to break the half-million mark this year, falling just short of this at 488,100 in the last 12 months, or 9,387 per week.

Queensland is the most chosen state

Analysis of interstate migration data shows that Queensland continues to be Australia’s most loved state, with arrivals from other states and territories into Queensland exceeding 1,700 per week, a total of 88,866 last year.

When interstate departures are subtracted from the interstate arrivals, NSW performed the worst nationally with a net loss of 18,378 to other states, while Queensland performed best with a net gain of 11,796 from other states.

Queensland was the No. 1 destination of three states (NSW, WA and NT) and NSW was also top for three (Victoria, Qld and ACT) ahead of Victoria’s two (SA and Tas.).

40 Million in 40 Years

Australia has been growing by a million people roughly every two and a half years. Even if the population growth rate stays the same, the speed of adding each new million will accelerate as the population base increases (for example our current birth rate of 1.9 is producing record birth numbers, even though in 1961 we had a birth rate of 3.5- because our population today is more than twice as large as it was then.) Even allowing for a slight slowing of the population growth rate, Australia’s population will exceed 40 million in the late 2050’s although if the growth rate continues its current strength, this milestone could easily be reached by the mid 2050’s.

Sources: ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, ABS Population Clock, McCrindle Research.