Centre for Population analysis of the National, state and territory population publication from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Reference period: -
The Estimated Resident Population (ERP) of Australia was 25.7 million people at 30 June 2021, around 34,300 people larger than at 31 March 2021. Population growth for the year ending 30 June 2021 was around 0.2 per cent (46,000 people), down from 1.3 per cent for the year ending 30 June 2020. This is the lowest recorded financial year growth since 1916-17 when growth was 0.0 per cent.
Quarterly net overseas migration (NOM) of -2,300 was around 12,100 higher than the previous quarter, but the fifth consecutive quarter of negative NOM. NOM was ‑88,800 over the year ending 30 June 2021, which was a slight improvement compared to the year ending 31 March 2021. Natural increase over the year ending 30 June 2021 was relatively stable, with 1,400 fewer births over the year and 1,300 fewer deaths.
Annual population growth was positive in all states and territories except for Victoria, however, was lower compared to the previous year in all states except the Northern Territory. Victoria, which was the third fastest growing state over the year ending 30 June 2020, recorded a population decline of -0.7 per cent for the year ending 30 June 2021 with its fifth consecutive quarter of negative net overseas and interstate migration. The negative net interstate migration (NIM) to Victoria over this period largely corresponded with positive NIM to South Australia, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory, and lower than recently recorded net interstate outflows from the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory was the only jurisdiction that experienced an equal rate of population growth compared to the previous year.
Australia’s population grew by around 34,300 people in the June 2021 quarter (0.1 per cent). This was entirely due to natural increase of 36,700 for the quarter, slightly offset by NOM of -2,300 (Chart 1).
Quarterly NOM was around 12,100 higher than the previous quarter. This was the fifth consecutive quarter of negative NOM since the beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
In the June 2021 quarter, 47,400 people emigrated from Australia compared to 45,000 arriving immigrants. Annual NOM over the year ending 30 June 2021 was -88,800. This was a decrease of 281,000 compared to the year ending 30 June 2020, but slightly higher than NOM of -94,800 for the year ending 31 March 2021 (Chart 2).
Natural increase over the year ending 30 June 2021 was 135,000 people, comprising 298,000 births less 163,000 deaths. Annual births decreased slightly, down 1,400 from the year ending 30 June 2020, although births for the June 2021 quarter itself were higher than for the March 2021 quarter with around 1,700 more births across Australia. This is the second quarter where all the births are the result of conceptions that would have taken place following the outbreak of the COVID‑19 pandemic in Australia.
The number of deaths in Australia decreased slightly to 163,000 people in the year ending June 2021, this was 1,300 fewer deaths compared to the year ending June 2020. This decrease could in part be a result of pandemic-related restrictions, social distancing, and better hygiene practices (also see analysis of the Australian Bureau Statistics’ Provisional Mortality Statistics, Jan 2020 - Aug 2021).
The number of total quarterly interstate moves in the June 2021 quarter increased substantially to 127,000 moves which was 28,700 more moves than the previous quarter. The NIM estimates have been revised for the past three quarters in this release. For more information on these revisions please see the Notes section below and also the ABS website.
State and territory outcomes
All states and territories recorded low but positive population growth over the year ending June 2021, except for Victoria (Chart 3). Queensland had the highest annual growth (0.9 per cent), while Victoria had the lowest (-0.7 per cent). Victoria recorded its fourth consecutive quarterly population decline, falling by 282 people over the quarter. All the states recorded negative NOM for the year ending June 2021.
Following national trends, population growth for the quarter in all states and territories was mainly driven by natural increase. Compared to the previous year there were more births in all jurisdictions except for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory and slightly fewer deaths over the same period in all states except in Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
- Victoria’s annual population growth of -0.7 per cent is the lowest for the state in over one hundred years. This has taken Victoria from the third fastest growing state for the year ending June 2020 to now being the slowest. The state’s low growth was caused by large net outflows of both overseas and interstate migrants, only partially offset by positive natural increase. Most significantly, NOM to Victoria was -56,100 over the year ending June 2021, a decrease of 116,700 from the year ending June 2020.
- New South Wales’ annual population growth fell to 0.3 per cent in the year ending June 2021 compared to 1.0 per cent in the year ending June 2020. The lower population growth was driven by lower than usual NOM, which was -5,500 for the year ending June 2021. Although NSW NOM improved in the June 2021 quarter to record a net inflow of 4,500.
- Queensland’s annual population growth slowed to 0.9 per cent compared to 1.6 per cent over the year ending June 2020. This slowdown was driven by negative NOM for the year. While this is the lowest recorded rate of growth for the state since 1943, Queensland was the fastest growing jurisdiction over the year ending June 2021, mainly due to continuing net inflows of interstate migrants.
- South Australia’s annual population growth dropped to 0.2 per cent from 1.0 per cent over the year ending June 2020. This lower growth is attributable to negative NOM in the year ending June 2021, as natural increase remained positive and South Australia recorded its first financial year of positive NIM since 1990-91. The positive NIM recorded in South Australia for the year was likely due to some people who might normally move to Victoria remaining in South Australia.
- Western Australia’s annual population growth decreased to 0.7 per cent compared to 1.6 per cent in the year ending June 2020. The state’s growth was primarily driven by natural increase and positive annual NIM, the first financial year of positive NIM since 2012-13.
- Tasmania’s annual population growth dropped to 0.2 per cent compared to 1.1 per cent over the year ending June 2020. Natural increase made the largest positive contribution to growth, while negative NOM detracted from growth.
- The Northern Territory’s population growth was 0.0 per cent, which made it the only jurisdiction to not experience falling population growth compared to a year ago. Negative NIM and NOM entirely offset the positive contribution of natural increase.
- The Australian Capital Territory’s annual population growth slowed from 1.2 per cent in the year ending June 2020 to 0.2 per cent. The lower population growth was mainly due to negative NOM of 3,100 people for the year as natural increase of 3,300 and NIM of 900 made a positive contribution to the population growth.
30 June 2021
Since June 2020
* Includes other Territories comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island
|Release||Former catalogue||Release date|
|National, state and territory population September 2021||3101.0||17/03/2022|
|National, state and territory population March 2022||3101.0||22/09/2022|
Further detail is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In this release, the ABS revised its NIM estimates for the past three quarters. This was due to the Medicare change of address data, used to estimate internal migration which showed an implausibly high number of moves for this quarter due to widespread updating of Medicare records as people get vaccinated for COVID‑19. Not all the address changes recorded in this quarter happened within this quarter. To treat for this, under-count adjustments in this quarter and those made in previous quarters have been revised.
Chart 5 below shows the difference between March 2021 unrevised data and June 2021 revised data for the September 2020, December 2020 and March 2021 quarters. Both interstate migration and overseas migration were revised, while natural increase was not. More information can be found in Table 3 which highlights the revision schedule of the data.
|Quarters||Births and deaths||Overseas migration||Interstate migration||Estimated resident population|
|Sep. 1991 ‑ Jun 2016||Final||Final||Final||Final|
|Sep. 2016 ‑ Jun. 2020||Revised||Final||Preliminary||Revised|
|Sep. 2020 ‑ Mar. 2021||Preliminary||Revised||Preliminary||Preliminary – updated due to revised component data|