Population Growth Rate Slows Dramatically

21 March 2021

Data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows Australia’s population at 30 September 2020 was 25.7 million people, an annual increase of 220,500 people.

Australia’s population grew by 0.9 per cent during the year to 30 September 2020 despite a decrease in overseas migration as COVID-19 related international travel restrictions continued to take effect.

ABS Demography Director Phil Browning said: “Natural increase accounted for 61.4 per cent of annual population growth, while net overseas migration accounted for the remaining 38.6 per cent.

“Over this 12 month period, there were 299,500 births and 164,100 deaths registered in Australia. Natural increase during this period was 135,400 people, a decrease of 3.8 per cent from the previous year.”

Net overseas migration was down 64.8 per cent compared to the previous year, driven by a decrease in overseas migration arrivals (35.4 per cent).

There were 365,700 overseas migration arrivals and 280,600 departures during the year ending 30 September 2020, resulting in net overseas migration of 85,100 people.

The effects of Australia’s international border closure were reflected in the quarter June to September 2020 where a decline of -4,200 people or -0.02 per cent was recorded.

ABS Demography Director Phil Browning said: “Decreases to overseas migration have been observed over the last two quarters.  For this most recent quarter, the decrease was not outweighed by natural increase causing a small decline in population.”

“The last time we saw population decline was the year to December 1916, during World War 1 when the population declined by -51,500 (-1.0%)”.

Net overseas migration of -34,800 was the main driver for the quarterly population decline. There were 20,600 overseas arrivals and 55,400 overseas departures.