The Aussie boom continues


Australia's population is about to tick past the 23 million mark as the country continues to grow at the fastest rate in the developed world.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics population counter will tick over to 23 million at 9.57pm. Social researchers say the milestone baby will - statistically - be a boy called Jack. Odds suggest his mother will be 31, his father 33 and he will live in western Sydney.

Our annual population growth rate of 1.7 per cent - 1048 people per day, or the equivalent of a new Gold Coast every 19 months - is the fastest of any OECD country. The US is growing at 0.9 per cent, and Britain at just 0.6 per cent.

Australia's population growth is even outstripping countries with traditionally high birth rates, such as India on 1.4 per cent.

Demographers say it is migration, rather than an elevated birth rate, that is the main driver spurring Australia's growth.

Net overseas migration accounted for 60 per cent of Australia's population increase last year.

In 1918, Australia's population was just 5 million. It passed 10 million in 1959, 15 million in 1982, and 20 million in 2003. While a lesser contributor than migration, births still hit a record high last year, surpassing 300,000 for the first time. Australia recorded twice as many births (303,600) as deaths (149,100). By 2028 there will be more people aged over 60 than under 20.

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