Australia's population growth slows

 Charlie Nelson September 2015

Australia’s population growth rate has slowed from the 2008 peak of 2.2%, representing an extra 460,000 people to a likely 2015 figure of 1.3%, representing 300,000 extra people.  This is based on ABS data to 31 March 2015, released on 24 September.

Projecting the trends of births, deaths, and net migration to 2017 suggests a further slowing to 1.0%, representing 250,000 extra people.

The main factor in the growth slow down is net migration, which peaked at 316,000 in 2008 and is projected to be 160,000 this year.  Natural increase (births minus deaths) peaked at 160,000 in 2013 and is projected to be 135,000 this year.  Births peaked at 308,000 in 2013 and are projected to fall to 290,000 this year.

Natural increase will be positive for many years to come, so there is no danger of a falling population.  Net migration is determined by government policy and our economic growth rate.  It is quite volatile, but clearly there is scope to take in more refugees.

Reduced population growth may reduce house price inflation and give our planners an opportunity to catch up with much needed infrastructure, especially public transport.

Why do we always plan for what has happened, rather than what is going to happen?

A more detailed report will be available at in late October 2015.