Over the 12 months to December 2018, the estimated residential population of Australia increased by 1.6% or by 404,783 persons. The 404,783 person increase in the population was the largest increase in raw number terms since September 2017 and it was also the third consecutive quarter in which the annual population increase trended higher.

Looking at the two components of population growth at a national level (natural increase and net overseas migration), net overseas migration remains the primary driver of population growth. Over the year, natural increase was recorded 156,337 persons, the highest it has been since March 2015 and 8.5% higher than in December 2017. Net overseas migration was recorded at 248,446 persons, the highest it has been since September 2017 and 2.8% higher than the previous year.

Components of annual population growth, National.PNG

 

Across the states and territories net interstate migration is also a contributor to population growth.

NSW
with an estimated population of 8,046,070 persons, the population has increased by 123,813 persons or 1.6% over the past year, which is in-line with the national rate of growth. The 123,813 person increase was the greatest since September 2017 and was made-up of natural increase of 53,711 persons, net overseas migration of 91,999 persons and a loss of 21,897 persons due to net interstate migration. Natural increase of 53,711 persons was the greatest on record while the 91,999 persons increase due to net overseas migration was the largest increase in 12 months. The loss of 21,897 residents due to net interstate migration was slightly lower than the previous quarter but up from 19,299 persons a year earlier.

Components of annual population growth, NSW.PNG

 

VIC
The estimated population increased by 2.2% over the 2018 calendar year taking it to 6,526,413 persons with an increase of 139,430 persons over the past year. The 139,430 person population increase consisted of natural increase of 40,256 persons, net overseas migration of 85,965 persons and net interstate migration of 13,209 persons. Although the population continues to increase rapidly, both net overseas and net interstate migration are lower than they were a year ago and natural increase is higher than a year ago but lower than the previous quarter.

Components of annual population growth, VIC.PNG

 

QLD
The estimated population increased by 89,905 persons, or 1.8%, throughout 2018 taking the estimated population to 5,052,827 persons. The 1.8% annual increase in population was the largest since June 2013 and consisted of increases of 31,070 persons due to natural increase, 35,039 persons due to net overseas migration and 23,796 due to net interstate migration. Natural increase was the greatest it has been since March 2017, net overseas migration was the greatest since September 2013 while net interstate migration is the highest of any state it has slowed for two consecutive quarters and is the lowest since December 2017.

Components of annual population growth, QLD.PNG

 

SA
With an estimated 1,742,744 residents, the population increased by 0.8% or 14,585 persons throughout 2018. The 14,585 person increase included natural increase of 5,490 persons, net overseas migration of 13,319 persons and a loss of 4,224 persons due to net interstate migration. Natural increase was the greatest it has been since June 2017, net overseas migration was the greatest it has been since June 2010 and the outflow of residents to other state and territories was the slowest it has been since March 2015.

Components of annual population growth, SA.PNG

 

WA
Over the 2018 calendar year the estimated population increased by 23,961 persons or 0.9% to take the total population estimate to 2,606,338 persons. The 23,961 person increase over the year is well down on the peak of the mining boom when WA added 73,922 in 2008. The 23,961 person increase over the past year was made-up of natural increase of 18,601 persons, net overseas migration of 14,863 persons and a loss from net interstate migration of 9,503 persons. Natural increase was the lowest it has been since September 2009, net overseas migration was the highest it has been since December 2014 and the loss of residents to other states and territories was the smallest since March 2016.

Components of annual population growth, WA.PNG

 

TAS
The population increased by 1.2% over the past year or 6,499 persons which was the largest annual increase in population since September 1990, taking the estimated population to 531,529 persons. Natural increase was recorded at 1,260 persons, the greatest it has been since December 2016. Net overseas migration was recorded at 2,717 persons, the greatest it has been since September 2017. Net interstate migration was recorded at 2,522 persons, the greatest it has been since June 2004.

Components of annual population growth, TAS.PNG

 

NT
As at December 2018 the estimated population was 245,854 persons which was actually a reduction in population of 1,010 persons over the past year. While natural increase was recorded at 2,680 persons and net overseas migration at 526 persons, NT lost 4,216 residents due to net interstate migration causing the overall population to fall. Natural increase was the smallest since December 2005, net overseas migration was the smallest since September 2003 and the loss of residents due to net interstate migration was the largest on record.

Components of annual population growth, NT.PNG

 

ACT
The population increased by 1.8% or 7,574 persons throughout 2018 taking the estimated resident population to 423,811 persons. Over the year, natural increase was recorded at 3,247 persons, net overseas migration of 4,014 persons and net interstate migration of 313 persons. Natural increase was the lowest it has been since September 2009, net overseas migration was the lowest it has been since December 2016.

Components of annual population growth, ACT.PNG

 

The data shows that the national population is still growing at a rapid rate despite recent moves to lower permanent migration. The population of NSW and Vic continues to grow by the greatest amount. Population increase in NSW is primarily driven by natural increase and net overseas migration, accounting for 37.0% of national net overseas migration. Vic has seen 34.6% on net overseas migration nationally over the past year and has also recorded the second highest rate of net interstate migration (behind Qld). Vic, Qld, Tas and ACT are seeing a positive rate of net interstate migration as more people arrive from interstate than leave. Over the coming quarters it is expected that similar trends will continue with strong population increases in NSW and Vic driven by overseas migration and strong rates of net interstate migration for Vic and Qld.

Of course population growth, particularly migration, is a proxy for housing demand. High levels of migration mean increased demand for housing which is a factor that should assist in putting a floor under the recent declines in dwelling values (particularly in Sydney and Melbourne). Furthermore, increasing populations should also assist in the absorption of the large volume of apartments under construction in Sydney and Melbourne.