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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2006   
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Contents >> Chapter 5 - Population >> Geographic distribution of the population

GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF THE POPULATION

Most of Australia’s population is concentrated in two widely separated coastal regions. By far the larger of these, in terms of area and population, lies in the south-east and east. The smaller of the two regions is in the south-west of the continent. In both coastal regions the population is concentrated in urban centres, particularly the state and territory capital cities.

Australia's population density at 30 June 2004 was 2.6 people per square kilometre (sq km), compared with 2.5 people per sq km in 1999. The Australian Capital Territory had the highest population density of the states and territories at June 2004 with 137 people per sq km (reflecting the fact that the city of Canberra constitutes a large proportion of the Australian Capital Territory's area), followed by Victoria with 22 people per sq km. The Northern Territory had a population density of only 0.1 people per sq km, the lowest of all the states and territories (reflecting more recent settlement, distance from areas settled earlier, large arid areas and, perhaps, climate).

Population density at June 2004 was highest in the city centres, particularly in the Sydney Statistical Division, where the three most densely populated Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) in Australia were located. These were Sydney (C) - Central (8,300 people per sq km), Waverley (A) (6,700 people per sq km) and North Sydney (5,800 people per sq km). Fourth on the list, and the most densely populated SLA in Victoria, was Port Phillip (C) - St. Kilda, with 5,600 people per sq km. The distribution of Australia's population at 30 June 2004 is shown in map 5.17.

5.17 POPULATION DISTRIBUTION(a) - 30 June 2004
Map 5.17: POPULATION DISTRIBUTION(a) - 30 June 2004

(a) Estimated resident population.

Source: Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand (3218.0).



REGIONAL POPULATION CHANGE

Table 5.18 sets out the estimated resident population in major population regions at 30 June 1999 and 30 June 2004. At June 2004, capital city statistical divisions (SDs) were home to 12.8 million people, or around two-thirds (64%) of Australia's population. The largest average annual growth among the capital city SDs between 1999 and 2004 occurred in Melbourne SD, followed by Sydney and Brisbane SDs. Of the capital city SDs, Brisbane was the fastest growing capital city in Australia between 1999 and 2004, increasing by an average 2.2% per year, followed by Perth (1.5%) and Melbourne (1.3%).

Generally, the largest growth outside capital city SDs occurred in coastal Australia. Table 5.18 shows the largest average annual growth recorded between 1999 and 2004 was in the Gold Coast-Tweed Statistical District (15,100). The Gold Coast-Tweed Statistical District together with the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay, recorded the second fastest growth, increasing by 3.6% on average per year between 1999 and 2004. Western Australia had the Statistical District with the fastest growing population - Mandurah (4.9%) - and the Statistical District with the largest rate of population decrease - Kalgoorlie/Boulder (-0.6%).

In 1904, 63% of Australians lived outside capital cities. This proportion fell steadily and by 1962 only 40% lived outside capital cities. Since the mid-1970s, this proportion appears to have steadied at around 36%.

5.18 ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION IN MAJOR REGIONS(a)

Average annual change

30 June 1999
30 June 2004
1999-2004
1999-2004
'000
'000
no.
%

Capital city statistical division
Sydney
4,020.0
4,232.1
42,425
1.03
Melbourne
3,379.7
3,600.1
44,073
1.27
Brisbane
1,592.3
1,774.9
36,522
2.20
Adelaide
1,096.9
1,124.3
5,476
0.49
Perth
1,355.4
1,457.6
20,453
1.47
Greater Hobart
196.0
202.1
1,225
0.62
Darwin
103.1
109.5
1,283
1.21
Canberra
312.0
323.6
2,336
0.74
Statistical District
Newcastle (NSW)
479.7
505.4
5,128
1.05
Wollongong (NSW)
263.1
274.1
2,196
0.82
Nowra-Bomaderry (NSW)
29.6
32.1
486
1.59
Bathurst-Orange (NSW)
74.0
77.5
705
0.93
Lismore (NSW)
31.0
31.0
-6
-0.02
Coffs Harbour (NSW)
44.4
49.0
932
2.02
Port Macquarie (NSW)
36.0
40.7
942
2.49
Tamworth (NSW)
41.9
43.1
240
0.57
Dubbo (NSW)
34.1
35.6
284
0.82
Wagga Wagga (NSW)
52.2
53.0
170
0.32
Albury-Wodonga (NSW/Vic.)
95.2
101.8
1,312
1.34
Geelong (Vic.)
155.6
164.5
1,776
1.12
Warrnambool (Vic.)
28.7
30.7
411
1.40
Ballarat (Vic.)
81.4
87.1
1,151
1.38
Bendigo (Vic.)
77.1
83.2
1,222
1.54
Shepparton (Vic.)
42.8
46.8
792
1.79
La Trobe Valley (Vic.)
75.4
74.7
-143
-0.19
Mildura (Vic.)
43.6
47.1
703
1.56
Sunshine Coast (Qld)
173.8
207.2
6,695
3.59
Bundaberg (Qld)
55.6
59.5
792
1.39
Hervey Bay (Qld)
38.2
45.5
1,469
3.58
Rockhampton (Qld)
67.6
68.5
177
0.26
Gladstone (Qld)
38.3
41.9
723
1.82
Mackay (Qld)
62.9
68.4
1,088
1.67
Townsville (Qld)
127.9
144.2
3,264
2.43
Cairns (Qld)
111.2
120.3
1,810
1.58
Toowoomba (Qld)
105.7
116.1
2,081
1.90
Gold Coast-Tweed (Qld/NSW)
394.4
469.8
15,090
3.56
Mandurah (WA)
55.4
70.4
3,008
4.92
Bunbury (WA)
46.5
53.6
1,414
2.87
Kalgoorlie/Boulder (WA)
30.1
29.2
-176
-0.59
Geraldton (WA)
30.6
30.8
48
0.16
Launceston (Tas.)
98.3
102.0
744
0.75
Burnie-Devonport (Tas.)
77.9
79.1
222
0.28
Canberra-Queanbeyan (ACT/NSW)
351.5
369.4
3,563
0.99

(a) Data are based on the 2001 Census and 2004 Australian Standard Geographical Classification boundaries.

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).


INTERSTATE MIGRATION

The main factor changing the distribution of Australia's population has been internal migration. During 2003-04, 386,400 people moved from one state or territory to another, a decline of 12,100 people compared with the previous year.

In 2003-04 Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia recorded net interstate migration gains. Queensland continued a 20-year trend of positive net interstate migration, whereas 2003-04 was the second year since 1991 that Tasmania's net interstate migration was positive. All other states and territories experienced net losses due to interstate migration, although this was offset in most cases by growth due to natural increase and net overseas migration (table 5.19).

5.19 POPULATION GROWTH RATES - 2003-04

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.(a)
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Natural increase rate
0.60
0.59
0.65
0.37
0.71
0.36
1.45
0.88
0.61
Net overseas migration rate
0.59
0.70
0.52
0.36
0.88
0.13
0.31
0.07
0.59
Net interstate migration rate
-0.46
-0.05
0.97
-0.21
0.07
0.52
-1.06
-0.74
. .
Total population growth rate
0.74
1.25
2.13
0.52
1.65
1.01
0.69
0.20
1.20

(a) Includes other territories.

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (3101.0).


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