By Rob O’Brien
Australia recorded the highest annual population increase in nearly 50 years according to official figures released yesterday with Western Australia topping the states with a 3.1 per cent surge.
Australia’s population increased by 2.1 per cent for the year ending March 2009 according to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The last time Australia saw higher growth rates was in the 1950’s and 1960’s as a result of post war migration and high birth rates.
These rates compare with a 1.2 per cent growth rate recorded five years ago.
As at 31 March 2009, Australia’s population had grown to 21,779,000, an increase of 439,100 people over the previous year.
Australia’s net overseas migration contributed to more than half of this growth at 63 per cent or 278,200 people. Natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) contributed 160,800 (37 per cent).
In the same period, Western Australia continued to record the fastest population growth at 3.1 per cent, followed by Queensland (2.6 per cent), the Northern Territory (2.2 per cent), Victoria (2.1 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (1.8 per cent), New South Wales (1.6 per cent), South Australia (1.2 per cent) and Tasmania (1.0 per cent).
Queensland and Western Australia gained the most people through net interstate migration from the other states and territories (20,000 and 5,900 people respectively).
The states that lost people to interstate migration were New South Wales (loss of 21,900), South Australia (loss off 5,000), the Australian Capital Territory (loss of 310) and Victoria (loss of 300).
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