Australia’s population growth almost zero

The ABS have now released a full 12 months of COVID-affected population-growth data. Victoria’s population is declining sharply, Queensland is booming. Glenn provides a state-by-state analysis of the contributing factors.

The ABS have just released the quarterly population update for states and territories, covering the reference period to 31 March 2021. We usually make a big deal about the population updates for the financial year end (June 30), but this third quarter update is especially important because it represents the first full year of COVID-affected population growth.

And affected it certainly was! Australia’s population has virtually stalled, standing at 25,704,340 on March 31, 2021. This was an increase of just 35,700 (0.14%) in the year – the lowest growth since our population declined in 1916, due to World War I. However, the last quarterly growth picked up a little: 21,000 (2/3rds) of the calendar year’s increase was in the March quarter.

In terms of “natural increase”, births outweighed deaths by 131,000 – but this was offset by more people leaving to go overseas than coming in to Australia. Net Overseas Migration (NOM) was -95,300 for the 12 months ending March 2021. NOM is historically positive, and a major driver of Autralia’s population growth. We’ve had a NOM of 200,000-300,000pa. for many years until COVID hit.