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GEO 06 – Population Growth

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    Subject Area


    Suggested Level

    Years 9–10


    This classroom activity examines the components of population change, namely natural increase, net interstate migration and net overseas migration for Australia and the states and territories. It uses the publication
    Australian Demographic Statistics, (cat. no. 3101.0). The change of population for the period 2007 -2008 is examined, graphed and mapped. The opportunity exists to discuss variations in growth rates and the consequences of rapid change for a community or region.


  • Spreadsheet software program or graph paper
  • Attachment, Map of Australian states and territories (see downloads)


    Growth of Population

    The official population count is the Estimated Resident Population recorded in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). It is updated every three months. This count is used by federal and state government, to among other things, allocate funding. All levels of government are interested in the changing trends in population when developing policy.

    1. Use the diagram below to illustrate the way in which the population of a state or region may change. Ask students to place the following words in the correct place on the diagram:

    Immigration Births Deaths Emigration

    2. Discuss the concept of population growth and ask students to explain the meaning of the following terms.

    Natural increase of population

    Net Interstate migration

    Net Overseas Migration

    Growth Rate

    6.2 Representing the Growth of Population

    1. Using the data in Table 1 ask students to create column graphs that compare the growth rates (natural increase, net overseas migration, net interstate migration and total population growth) of Australia’s states and territories.

    TABLE 1. POPULATION change: components of total population GROWTH RATE, 31st dec.2007 - 31st Dec. 2008
    Rate NSW


















    Natural Increase0.660.680.840.480.890.521.310.910.72
    Net Overseas Migration1.
    Net Interstate Migration-0.33-0.020.50-0.330.290.150.32__
    Total Population Growth1.401.952.521.163.090.991.951.691.91

    (a) Includes Other Territories __ nil or rounded to zero

    Estimates for total population growth for September quarter 2007 onwards are preliminary.
    Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no 3101.0)

    2. Ask students to study their graphs and complete the activities below:

    2.1 List the states and territories where the rate of natural increase is above that of Australia.
    2.2 Discuss possible reasons for the higher rate of natural increase in these states.
    2.3 Identify the states and territories that have a net loss of interstate migrants.
    2.4 Explain why these states may be experiencing a net loss of interstate migrants.
    2.5 Identify the states and territories where the growth rates of overseas migration is well below the national average.
    2.6 Suggest reasons for the lower rate in these states.

    3. Using a map of Australian States and Territories, (see attachment) ask students to create a choropleth map for the Total Population Growth of Australian States and Territories using the information in Table 1. Students may choose their own categories or use the values suggested.
    < or = 0.99% pa
    1.00 to 1.49% pa
    1.50 to 3.00%pa
    > 3.0%pa

    6.3 Explaining the Growth of Population

    1. After studying the map and the table, ask students to complete a written response to the statement below:

    'Social, historical, environmental, economic and political factors influence the growth of population in Australia's states and territories. Identify and justify the dominant factors.'

    High rates of population growth create problems for regions and communities. In small groups brainstorm the nature of problems associated with high growth rates. Share the group responses with the class.



    Choropleth map
    Map that uses changes in shading to show variations over the area of the map.

    Estimated Resident Population (ERP):
    Is the count of all people regardless of citizenship and nationality, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomats and their families. It is the official measure of the Australian population.

    Natural increase
    Of a population is the number of deaths subtracted from the number of births.

    Net interstate migration
    Is the number of interstate arrivals minus the interstate departures

    Net overseas migration (NOM)
    Is the difference between permanent and long-term arrivals, and permanent and long-term departures.


    (Note: Links to ABS publications are to the most recent release. Previous releases can be accessed by selecting the 'Past & Future Releases' tab.)

Download the Activity

    Student Activity

Geo_06_Population Growth.rtf

    (GIF document)

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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