The Australian population has grown rapidly over the last decade compared with other developed economies. According to the OECD, Australia's population of 23.5 million has grown at an annual rate of 1.6%.  The annual population growth rate is the second highest in the OECD. [Source: OECD June 2014 Data OECD Australia].

However, according to recent Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Statements, the population growth rate may be slowing primarily as a result of a drop off in net migration. During 2014, the resident population grew by 1.4% from its peak growth of 1.8% (2012). The average annual growth has been 1.7% since 2006.   [Source:  RBA Statement of Monetary Policy 2015].


Immigration currently provides 58% of Australia's population growth. Between June 1996 and June 2013, Australia’s overseas-born population grew by 51.2% to 6.4 million people. The United Kingdom represents the largest migrant group overall.  This is followed by New Zealand, India and China. More recently, Australia's ethnic composition has been changing. In the past 17 years, the number of Chinese-born Australian residents has more than tripled. [Source: Dept of Immigration & Border Protection].

The proportion of foreign-born Australians is one of the highest in the OECD and the growth in foreign-born Australians is expected to continue (albeit at a slower rate) as a positive immigration policy attracts skilled migrants.

Ageing Population

Migration growth is helping to offset the falling birth rates and subsequent increasing proportion of older groups.    Like most developed countries, Australia's population is ageing as a result of low fertility and increasing life expectancy. This will have implications for health, the size of the working-age population, housing and demand for skilled labour. The population aged over 65 years is growing at 3.6% - compared with 1.3% for the working age population - and now represents 14.7% of the population. Australian's median age is 37.3. [Source: ABS Demographics June 2014 ABS: Australian Bureau of Statistics].

Population & Density

The largest populations in Australia reside in major cities and in coastal urban areas predominantly along the east coast of Australia. Approximately 10% of Australians live in regional Australia. Australia has one of the lowest population densities with more living space per person than most of the OECD nations. Sydney, at 4.6M is Australia's largest city (380 persons/km2), followed by Melbourne at 4.25M (slightly denser at 430 p/km2 due to Greater Melbourne's smaller geographical catchment area).


Useful Links

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS is Australia's official statistical agency which provides a wide range of economic, environmental and social data and information. The ABS has a range of market research resources for new and growing businesses.