Australia’s population growth hits another record but may be slowing

The new figures for the Australian and state population in December 2023 are out and make for interesting reading.

The population stood at 26,966,789 people on 31 December 2023.

This was an increase of 651,200 people over the calendar year 2023.

That’s the highest calendar-year growth ever recorded in numerical terms.

In percentage terms it was 2.5%, which is high, but not a record – it’s harder to record a record percentage growth as the population gets larger.

The growth to the end of the calendar year was even a little higher than the 644,500 recorded for the financial year ended June 30th 2023 (also revised up slightly in this edition).

The financial year is the most important figure as we normally record all the local populations on June 30th.

However, state, territory and national populations are updated quarterly.

December quarterly estimate suggests overseas migration may be slowing

The last quarterly estimate shows just a slight indication of a slowing down of the prodigious growth.

Over the year, there was a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 103,947, and a net overseas migration (NOM; in-migration minus out-migration) of 547,267.

So in the last year, Australia’s population growth was 84% due to overseas migration.

In the last quarter of the year, migration fell to 107,261 people – that would be an annualised rate of about 430,000, or around 100,000 below the annual figure.

That would still be enough to make it the highest migration year recorded before 2023, so it’s still very high – just not quite as high as the previous quarters.

Overseas migration has been playing “catch-up” for the last couple of years since the borders reopened, following low migration in 2020 and negative migration in 2021.

We think the long-term migration trend will be closer to 300,000 p.a. (still historically high).