Regional population, 2018-19

Centre for Population analysis of the Regional population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Reference period: 2018-1925 March 2020

Australia’s population grew by 1.5 per cent through the year to June 2019. Growth was concentrated in the capital cities (which grew 1.8 per cent through the year to June 2019), while population growth outside of the capitals was slower (1.0 per cent through the year to June 2019). The fastest growing capital city was Melbourne (2.3 per cent through the year to June 2019). Darwin continued to experience negative population growth (-0.8 per cent through the year to June 2019).

Excluding capital cities, population growth was fastest in Victoria and Queensland where the population grew by 1.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively through the year to June 2019.

The release includes population data for regions within Australia down to small geographic areas including Local Government Areas (LGAs). This publication provides an update on the data to include the year between June 2018 and June 2019. It is released annually and was previously called 3218.0 Regional Population Growth, Australia.

Growth in Capital Cities

The largest greater capital city at June 2019 is Sydney (5,312,000 people), followed by Melbourne (5,078,000 people) and Brisbane (2,514,000 people). This ranking has not changed since June 2018.

The eastern capital cities continue their strong growth with the fastest growing capital city for the year to June 2019 being Melbourne (2.3 per cent), followed by Brisbane (2.1 per cent) and Sydney (1.7 per cent). This ranking has also not changed since June 2018.

Canberra and Darwin both experienced lower growth in the year to June 2019 than the previous year. Canberra’s growth was 1.5 per cent in the year to June 2019, down from 2.0 per cent the previous year. Darwin experienced population decline of -0.8 per cent for the year to June 2019, down from -0.4 per cent in 2018, the only capital to have negative growth in either year.

Population growth in capital cities from June 2018 to June 2019
Greater Capital City
(GCCSA)
Population in
June 2019
Population change
June 2018 to June 2019
number of people per cent
1. Sydney, NSW 5,312,163 87,065 1.7
2. Melbourne, VIC 5,078,193 113,480 2.3
3. Brisbane, QLD 2,514,184 52,587 2.1
4. Perth, WA 2,085,973 27,405 1.3
5. Adelaide, SA 1,359,760 13,900 1.0
6. Canberra, ACT 426,704 6,325 1.5
7. Hobart, TAS 236,136 3,445 1.5
8. Darwin, NT 147,255 -1,141 -0.8

Components of Growth in Capital Cities

Sydney

Sydney’s population growth was driven by net overseas migration (73,900 people) and recorded a net internal migration loss (-25,600 people). Natural increase contributed 38,700 people to Sydney’s population growth.

Melbourne

Most of Melbourne's population growth (68.2 per cent) was due to net overseas migration, natural increase accounted for 29.8 per cent and net internal migration 2.0 per cent.

Brisbane

Net overseas migration, net internal migration and natural increase each accounted for around one-third of Brisbane's population growth (35.7 per cent, 30.3 per cent and 34.0 per cent respectively).

Perth

Perth recorded a net internal migration loss (-1,400 people), while natural increase added 14,800 people to the city's population and net overseas migration added 14,000 people.

Adelaide

For Adelaide, population gains from natural increase (4,910 people) were largely offset by a net internal migration loss (-3,910 people), while net overseas migration added 12,900 people to the city's population.

ACT

In the ACT, net overseas migration (3,110 people) and natural increase (3,409 people) added to the population, while net internal migration (-194 people) was negative for the first time in recent years. All three components were lower than the previous year, contributing to lower growth in the ACT.

Hobart

Net overseas migration contributed to 50.1 per cent of Hobart's population growth, compared to 28.6 per cent from net internal migration and 21.3 per cent from natural increase.

Darwin

Darwin experienced a net internal migration loss of 3,210 people, which offset gains made from natural increase (1,530 people) and net overseas migration (542 people), contributing to an overall population decline for the city, lower than the previous year.

Components of population change – Greater Capital Cities, 2018-19

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Regional population

Population Growth in Regional Areas

Outside of capital cities, the fastest growing areas were regional Victoria with 1.4 per cent growth and regional Queensland with 1.3 per cent growth. Regional Tasmania followed with 0.9 per cent growth, regional New South Wales with 0.8 per cent growth, and regional South Australia with 0.4 per cent growth. The regional areas of the Northern Territory and Western Australia experienced little to no growth.

Components of Growth in Regional Areas

Overall, the largest driver of population growth outside capital cities was net overseas migration. Net overseas migration was the main driver of growth outside the capital cities in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. Net overseas migration contributed over 70 per cent of the population growth in regional South Australia.

Net internal migration was a major driver of population growth in regional Victoria. The regional areas of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia experienced negative net internal migration.

Natural increase was highest in regional Queensland at around 12,000 people, followed by regional New South Wales with 6,860 people.

Components of population change – Outside Capital Cities, 2018-19

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Regional population