Australia’s population is growing at a rate of one person per minute, and is set to hit the 25million mark next week – almost 25 years earlier than predicted.
The rapid growth rate has taken demographers and government planners by surprise, with the benchmark approaching an incredible three decades faster than predicted in 1994 and 2002.
The unanticipated population boom has put pressure on transport infrastructure and the environment, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne where congestion is a way of life.
As recently as 2002, the federal government’s first inter-generational report predicted the 25million milestone would not be surpassed until 2042.
With Australia adding one person every one minute and 23 seconds, the population will instead reach this level early next week, with the nation now home to 24,993,468 people as of Wednesday afternoon.
Australia’s population is growing at a rate of one person per minute, and is set to hit the 25million mark next week – almost 25 years earlier than predicted (Sydney’s Bondi Beach pictured)
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said the 25 million milestone would be reached on August 8, just two-and-a-half years after Australia overtook the 24 million level.
Paul Jones, Associate Professor of Urban Planning at Sydney University, told Daily Mail Australia better planning was needed to deal with population pressures.
‘We need better management to make sure we can maintain our lifestyles, and reduce the impact on the social and urban environment,’ he said.
‘We’re seeing “death by distance” in cities like Sydney where commutes are getting longer and planning has not kept up with increases in density.
‘We need to be at the driving wheel better than we have in the past if we are going to cope with these changes.’
Mr Jones said the increasing diversity of Australia’s large cities was another component of rapid population growth that needed to be properly managed.
‘If you look at western Sydney for example it’s now incredibly diverse, that’s fantastic, but it’s another challenge for government,’ he said.
Paul Jones, Associate Professor of Urban Planning at Sydney University, told Daily Mail Australia better planning was needed to deal with population pressures (Pictured: Strathfield train station)
Australia’s population growth
1881: 2.3 million
1921: 5.4 million
1961: 10.5 million
1981: 15 million
1991: 17.4 million
2003: 20 million
2013: 23 million
2016: 24 million
2018: 25 million
Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics; House of Representatives Standing Committee for Long-Term Strategies, December 1994
Mr Jones pointed to new statistics showing 26 per cent of Australia’s population was overseas-born, compared to 18 per cent in 1966, saying the increase had surprised planners in many areas.
The 2016 Census revealed a total of 6.9million Australians were born overseas, with 14 per cent of those from the U.K. and nine percent from New Zealand.
Projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show increases of one birth every one minute and 42 seconds, and one arrival every 61 seconds.
With one Australian leaving every minute and 51 seconds and one death every three minutes and 16 seconds, the net increase is one person every minute and 23 seconds.
Australia reached the 24 million level in February 2016, overtook the 23 million mark in April 2013 and hit 20 million in 2003.
In 1994, a federal parliamentary inquiry, titled ‘One Nation, Two Ecologies’ predicted Australia’s population would reach 23 million by 2040, a population benchmark that was surpassed in 2013, or 27 years ahead of schedule.
Australia’s net annual immigration rate climbed above 100,000 in 2002, before soaring above 200,000 in 2012, levels which were both above the 20th century average of 70,000 a year.
In the 2016-17 financial year, Australia’s net immigration rate stood at 262,489.
Before the number of people moving overseas was factored in, a record 539,000 immigrants came to Australia.
The 2016 Census revealed a total of 6.9million Australians were born overseas, with 14 per cent of those from the UK and nine percent from New Zealand (Pictured: Wentworth Point in Sydney’s west)