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Census: ACT records Australia’s largest population growth

By Glynis Quinlan - 27 June 2017 14

Pedestrians

The ACT has recorded the largest population growth of any state or territory over the past five years according to 2016 Census data released today.

An extra 40,175 residents have been added to the ACT since the 2011 Census, with 397,397 usual residents counted on Census night – an increase of 11.2 per cent.

The Gungahlin area in Canberra’s North is driving our population growth and is the second-fastest growing region in Australia.

With its new suburbs, continual roadworks and upcoming city access through the light rail corridor, Gungahlin has grown from 47,000 residents in 2011 to 71,000 in 2016 – an extra 24,000 people.

A total of 25,973 new migrants have come to call the ACT home since 2011, forming part of the 26 per cent of the Territory’s population who reported being born overseas on Census night.

The most commonly reported countries of birth apart from Australia were England (3.2 per cent of the ACT’s population), China (2.9 per cent) and India (2.6 per cent).

The large increase in the ACT’s population has also meant a significant increase in the number of occupied private dwellings – rising from 129,430 in 2011 to 142,670 in 2016.

Income high but so are rents

According to Census data released today, the Territory’s residents have a median weekly income of $998, which is significantly higher than the national median weekly income of $662.

However, we pay much more for our housing, with the equal-highest median weekly rent of $380 of all states and territories. This is unchanged since 2011 but is $45 a week more than the national median weekly rent of $335.

The ACT’s median monthly mortgage repayments of $2,058 are also the second-highest in Australia even though they have decreased by five per cent since 2011.

Higher proportion never married
A higher proportion of Territory residents have never married (37.9 per cent) compared to the national figure of 35 per cent. The proportion of single or lone person households in the ACT has also increased from 23.4 per cent in 2011 to 24.8 per cent in 2016.

The 2016 Census data shows that ACT residents have a median age of 35, which is three years younger than the national figure.

The number of ACT residents who have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origins has increased by 1,324 people since 2011 to a total of 6,508.

Who are we and how do we live?
The 2016 Census was carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) less than 10 months ago and is designed to find out “who we are, how we live, what we do, and where we’re headed”.

A total of 23,717,421 people were counted in Australia on Census night, which included 23,401,892 people who usually live in Australia – representing an 8.8 per cent increase from 2011.

NSW was found to be Australia’s most populous state, with 7,480,228 people counted. Second was Victoria with 5,926,624 people and third was Queensland with 4,703,193 people.

Australian Statistician David W. Kalisch said the Census data is of high quality thanks to the participation of Australians. He said the Census had a response rate of 95.1 per cent, with 63 per cent of people completing it online.

“The Independent Assurance Panel I established to provide extra assurance and transparency of Census data quality concluded that the 2016 Census data can be used with confidence,” Mr Kalisch said.

“2016 Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia, which will be used to inform critical policy, planning and service delivery decisions for our communities over the coming years,” he said.

Census data is free online. To find out more please go to the ABS website at http://www.abs.gov.au/

Are you surprised to know we’ve had the largest population growth in Australia? Why do you think that has happened? Can Canberrans cope with having such high rents and mortgage repayments? Let us know in the comments below.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
Census: ACT records Australia’s largest population growth
dungfungus 10:22 pm 29 Jun 17

pink little birdie said :

Garfield said :

dungfungus said :

No one seems to be saying the information posted is a good/bad thing for Canberra or anyone that lives here.

The pump-primed, unbridled growth (for no apparent reason) is putting a huge strain on infrastructure (sewage treatment will require massive upgrading at huge cost for example) and all is focused on a not-needed tram network and other though bubbles.

In fact, Canberra has become a Ponzi economy and we all know how that will end.

It’s one of my big concerns for Australia generally. With high levels of population growth in many countries around the world, will global food production keep up, and if not how many people can Australia feed if we need to be self sufficient? Then there’s also the matter that farming exports are still significant for us, so if we grow to the point where we can only feed ourselves, what will happen to our balance of trade and standard of living? We also come to the types of issues you’ve identified with building enough infrastructure to keep up with our own large population growth rate, and if we have to stop growing at some point, what will that do to our economy with so many people in the construction industry suddenly becoming unemployed?

Generally speaking when things like sewage need an upgrade it moves to a more efficient version and one would hope that it is on a continuous renewal schedule anyway.
The food argument is an odd one because regardless of population growth agricultural science is geared towards higher yields each season. Most food supply issues are about cost and distribution rather than amount of food available. Plus the advances in hydroponic and vertical farming means food security isn’t an issue for Australia.
And with the construction industry if it came too it there would be the business of renewing buildings that usually only have a 20-50 year life.

Whether a new sewage system is more efficient or not is academic. The point I was trying to make is that it will cost billions and Actew or the ACT government are in no position to raise that sort of money.

JC 8:04 am 29 Jun 17

dungfungus said :

No one seems to be saying the information posted is a good/bad thing for Canberra or anyone that lives here.

The pump-primed, unbridled growth (for no apparent reason) is putting a huge strain on infrastructure (sewage treatment will require massive upgrading at huge cost for example) and all is focused on a not-needed tram network and other though bubbles.

In fact, Canberra has become a Ponzi economy and we all know how that will end.

People need to be housed somewhere and regardless of if they are in Canberra or elsewhere every additional person puts strain and a cost on existing infrastructure including things like roads.

In which case isn’t it a positive that the government has recognised this and put in place policies that realeases housing and is investing in new infrastructure like light rail. Imagine what the place would be like without some forethought like that. And of course we really have Kate Carmel and Tony DeDominico to thank for the Flemington road corridor.

The only other solution is to have zero population growth which would mean stricter immigration policies, one child policies, winding back health care subsidies (so people don’t live as long as they do these days) oh and to pay for it raise the retirement age another 5-10 years. None likely to happen are they in which case refer to point 1, some forethought in finding solutions to housing these people who are here and coming in a modern way.

Garfield 7:54 am 29 Jun 17

pink little birdie said :

Garfield said :

dungfungus said :

No one seems to be saying the information posted is a good/bad thing for Canberra or anyone that lives here.

The pump-primed, unbridled growth (for no apparent reason) is putting a huge strain on infrastructure (sewage treatment will require massive upgrading at huge cost for example) and all is focused on a not-needed tram network and other though bubbles.

In fact, Canberra has become a Ponzi economy and we all know how that will end.

It’s one of my big concerns for Australia generally. With high levels of population growth in many countries around the world, will global food production keep up, and if not how many people can Australia feed if we need to be self sufficient? Then there’s also the matter that farming exports are still significant for us, so if we grow to the point where we can only feed ourselves, what will happen to our balance of trade and standard of living? We also come to the types of issues you’ve identified with building enough infrastructure to keep up with our own large population growth rate, and if we have to stop growing at some point, what will that do to our economy with so many people in the construction industry suddenly becoming unemployed?

Generally speaking when things like sewage need an upgrade it moves to a more efficient version and one would hope that it is on a continuous renewal schedule anyway.
The food argument is an odd one because regardless of population growth agricultural science is geared towards higher yields each season. Most food supply issues are about cost and distribution rather than amount of food available. Plus the advances in hydroponic and vertical farming means food security isn’t an issue for Australia.
And with the construction industry if it came too it there would be the business of renewing buildings that usually only have a 20-50 year life.

According to the Food Security Information Network 4 countries are at high risk of famine due to armed conflict, drought & macro-economic collapse with 108m people facing crisis level food insecurity in 2017 up from less than 80m last year.

In terms of food science, Australia’s peak wheat production was in 2011 and over the last 5 years production has only average 13% higher than the 1983 harvest while our population has grown 56% and world population has grown 60%. Now 1983 was a good year so even if we look at 2016 which is only a little under the 2011 peak, production has only increased 28% or half our population growth rate.

And as I said, it’s not only about food security but export earnings and the balance of trade.

pink little birdie 12:29 am 29 Jun 17

Garfield said :

dungfungus said :

No one seems to be saying the information posted is a good/bad thing for Canberra or anyone that lives here.

The pump-primed, unbridled growth (for no apparent reason) is putting a huge strain on infrastructure (sewage treatment will require massive upgrading at huge cost for example) and all is focused on a not-needed tram network and other though bubbles.

In fact, Canberra has become a Ponzi economy and we all know how that will end.

It’s one of my big concerns for Australia generally. With high levels of population growth in many countries around the world, will global food production keep up, and if not how many people can Australia feed if we need to be self sufficient? Then there’s also the matter that farming exports are still significant for us, so if we grow to the point where we can only feed ourselves, what will happen to our balance of trade and standard of living? We also come to the types of issues you’ve identified with building enough infrastructure to keep up with our own large population growth rate, and if we have to stop growing at some point, what will that do to our economy with so many people in the construction industry suddenly becoming unemployed?

Generally speaking when things like sewage need an upgrade it moves to a more efficient version and one would hope that it is on a continuous renewal schedule anyway.
The food argument is an odd one because regardless of population growth agricultural science is geared towards higher yields each season. Most food supply issues are about cost and distribution rather than amount of food available. Plus the advances in hydroponic and vertical farming means food security isn’t an issue for Australia.
And with the construction industry if it came too it there would be the business of renewing buildings that usually only have a 20-50 year life.

stubby morrison 7:56 pm 28 Jun 17

Garfield said :

planeguy said :

The most interesting thing from the census appears to be that the ACT population (incl Jervis Bay etc…) has now grown sufficiently to warrant an extra electoral division – ie we will have 3 MPs.

This might start moving someone to ACT residents having closer to an equal representation in the parliament!

I just ran the figures based on the December 2016 population numbers published by the ABS yesterday and we’re still only coming in at 2.48 members of the House of Representatives, which rounds down to 2 members. I have to admit I don’t understand how the AEC factors in net under/over count figures, and how the ABS factors them into the official population statistics, but in the census we had a net over count of about 1%, the only jurisdiction to have an over count.

In terms of being under represented, with 226 Senators and MHRs in total, our population would entitle us to 3.8 representatives in the Federal parliament if it were done on a strict population count basis. Another way to look at it is rather than the ACT being under represented, Tasmania, the NT, SA & WA are all over represented. The most under represented state is NSW, with the biggest population but only the same number of Senators as Tasmania.

Because the ACT only gets two senate spots they’re almost guaranteed to go one Liberal and one Labor because the quotas are too high for Labor to win a second or for any other party to have a chance, which doesn’t reflect the vote at all (in fact, it makes your senate vote pretty much meaningless). Add to this the ACT’s two electorates are the biggest in Australia, and there’s a pretty strong argument that the ACT is underrepresented.

Christopher Giuliano at the Parliamentary Library thinks the ACT is entitled to an additional house seat once you take into account the margin of error. That said, the ACT might quickly lose it again if other states grow faster, particularly if the federal government really hits Canberra hard with its decentralisation push.

JC 4:45 pm 28 Jun 17

Holden Caulfield said :

Garfield said :

planeguy said :

The most interesting thing from the census appears to be that the ACT population (incl Jervis Bay etc…) has now grown sufficiently to warrant an extra electoral division – ie we will have 3 MPs.

This might start moving someone to ACT residents having closer to an equal representation in the parliament!

I just ran the figures based on the December 2016 population numbers published by the ABS yesterday and we’re still only coming in at 2.48 members of the House of Representatives, which rounds down to 2 members. I have to admit I don’t understand how the AEC factors in net under/over count figures, and how the ABS factors them into the official population statistics, but in the census we had a net over count of about 1%, the only jurisdiction to have an over count.

In terms of being under represented, with 226 Senators and MHRs in total, our population would entitle us to 3.8 representatives in the Federal parliament if it were done on a strict population count basis. Another way to look at it is rather than the ACT being under represented, Tasmania, the NT, SA & WA are all over represented. The most under represented state is NSW, with the biggest population but only the same number of Senators as Tasmania.

Yes, Tasmania is over represented. They have five HoR seats, compared with our two.

However, as a State, Tasmania is, and should be, entitled to the same number of Senators as NSW. That is, unless we’re going to totally shake up our system of representation.

That system is what also for reasons I don’t understand gives tassie 5 reps as well. I understand the reason for the senate just not why Tassie is not true proportional in the reps.

Holden Caulfield 1:42 pm 28 Jun 17

Garfield said :

planeguy said :

The most interesting thing from the census appears to be that the ACT population (incl Jervis Bay etc…) has now grown sufficiently to warrant an extra electoral division – ie we will have 3 MPs.

This might start moving someone to ACT residents having closer to an equal representation in the parliament!

I just ran the figures based on the December 2016 population numbers published by the ABS yesterday and we’re still only coming in at 2.48 members of the House of Representatives, which rounds down to 2 members. I have to admit I don’t understand how the AEC factors in net under/over count figures, and how the ABS factors them into the official population statistics, but in the census we had a net over count of about 1%, the only jurisdiction to have an over count.

In terms of being under represented, with 226 Senators and MHRs in total, our population would entitle us to 3.8 representatives in the Federal parliament if it were done on a strict population count basis. Another way to look at it is rather than the ACT being under represented, Tasmania, the NT, SA & WA are all over represented. The most under represented state is NSW, with the biggest population but only the same number of Senators as Tasmania.

Yes, Tasmania is over represented. They have five HoR seats, compared with our two.

However, as a State, Tasmania is, and should be, entitled to the same number of Senators as NSW. That is, unless we’re going to totally shake up our system of representation.

Garfield 10:32 am 28 Jun 17

dungfungus said :

No one seems to be saying the information posted is a good/bad thing for Canberra or anyone that lives here.

The pump-primed, unbridled growth (for no apparent reason) is putting a huge strain on infrastructure (sewage treatment will require massive upgrading at huge cost for example) and all is focused on a not-needed tram network and other though bubbles.

In fact, Canberra has become a Ponzi economy and we all know how that will end.

It’s one of my big concerns for Australia generally. With high levels of population growth in many countries around the world, will global food production keep up, and if not how many people can Australia feed if we need to be self sufficient? Then there’s also the matter that farming exports are still significant for us, so if we grow to the point where we can only feed ourselves, what will happen to our balance of trade and standard of living? We also come to the types of issues you’ve identified with building enough infrastructure to keep up with our own large population growth rate, and if we have to stop growing at some point, what will that do to our economy with so many people in the construction industry suddenly becoming unemployed?

Mark_Dando 10:22 am 28 Jun 17

dungfungus said :

planeguy said :

The most interesting thing from the census appears to be that the ACT population (incl Jervis Bay etc…) has now grown sufficiently to warrant an extra electoral division – ie we will have 3 MPs.

This might start moving someone to ACT residents having closer to an equal representation in the parliament!

Hopefully an Australian Conservative candidate who will give disaffected Liberals some values to vote for.

Why don’t you stand? It would be interesting to see your strong opinions tested at the ballot box.

dungfungus 9:23 am 28 Jun 17

No one seems to be saying the information posted is a good/bad thing for Canberra or anyone that lives here.

The pump-primed, unbridled growth (for no apparent reason) is putting a huge strain on infrastructure (sewage treatment will require massive upgrading at huge cost for example) and all is focused on a not-needed tram network and other though bubbles.

In fact, Canberra has become a Ponzi economy and we all know how that will end.

Garfield 8:42 am 28 Jun 17

planeguy said :

The most interesting thing from the census appears to be that the ACT population (incl Jervis Bay etc…) has now grown sufficiently to warrant an extra electoral division – ie we will have 3 MPs.

This might start moving someone to ACT residents having closer to an equal representation in the parliament!

I just ran the figures based on the December 2016 population numbers published by the ABS yesterday and we’re still only coming in at 2.48 members of the House of Representatives, which rounds down to 2 members. I have to admit I don’t understand how the AEC factors in net under/over count figures, and how the ABS factors them into the official population statistics, but in the census we had a net over count of about 1%, the only jurisdiction to have an over count.

In terms of being under represented, with 226 Senators and MHRs in total, our population would entitle us to 3.8 representatives in the Federal parliament if it were done on a strict population count basis. Another way to look at it is rather than the ACT being under represented, Tasmania, the NT, SA & WA are all over represented. The most under represented state is NSW, with the biggest population but only the same number of Senators as Tasmania.

dungfungus 8:16 pm 27 Jun 17

planeguy said :

The most interesting thing from the census appears to be that the ACT population (incl Jervis Bay etc…) has now grown sufficiently to warrant an extra electoral division – ie we will have 3 MPs.

This might start moving someone to ACT residents having closer to an equal representation in the parliament!

Hopefully an Australian Conservative candidate who will give disaffected Liberals some values to vote for.

planeguy 7:20 pm 27 Jun 17

The most interesting thing from the census appears to be that the ACT population (incl Jervis Bay etc…) has now grown sufficiently to warrant an extra electoral division – ie we will have 3 MPs.

This might start moving someone to ACT residents having closer to an equal representation in the parliament!

A_Cog 3:02 pm 27 Jun 17

The QuickStats data for my suburb are waaay off, and this is just the first batch release.

And when I say way off, I mean +15% and this is just for the basics that they released today.

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