Back in March in Statistics at twenty paces on North Coast Voices, Clarencegirl had a go at Ballina MP Don Page for misrepresenting the latest population statistics for NSW. Don said:
The ABS figures showed that in excess of 22,000 people had fled NSW in the year to 30 September 2008 while Queensland increased their population by around the same figure," Mr Page, the Member for Ballina, said.
"The NSW Labor Government is doing nothing to stem the tide of people leaving the highest taxing and highest regulated State in Australia, which also has one of the highest unemployment rates.
CG took an opposite view, suggesting that Don was misrepresenting the statistics, that NSW was in fact doing much better than Don allowed.
Don is obviously making a political point. However, the general point about NSW's relatively poor performance is one I have made before, so I thought that I would look at the latest numbers.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at 30 September 2008 was 21,542,000 persons. This was an increase of 389,000 persons (1.8%) since 30 September 2007 and 111,000 persons since 30 June 2008.
This was, I think, the largest increase on record. The graph from ABS shows total Australian population growth in recent years, along with the relative contribution to population growth of migration and natural increase.
If you look at the graph you can see clearly the importance of net overseas migration in driving the rate of population increase.
So how did NSW perform compared to the other states? The following table sets out the states and territories ranked by the rate of increase in the population.
It shows that NSW in the slow population growth states, although the percentage increase in the population was in fact better than the immediate past. In absolute terms, both Queensland and Victoria recorded higher increases. One side effect of this is that Queensland will gain a Federal seat at the expense of NSW.
|Population end September Quarter '000||Change over previous year '000||Change over previous year %|
|Western Australia|| |
|Northern Territory|| |
|Australian Capital Territory|| |
Now where did the new residents of NSW come from in the twelve months ending 30 September? In summary:
- NSW gained 46,231 from natural increase
- NSW gained 68,388 from net overseas migration
- NSW lost 22,359 through internal migration
- So most of the NSW gain came from net overseas migration.
This NSW pattern of gains from new overseas migration, losses through internal migration is a long standing one that has been maintained through Labor and Coalition Governments.
I first looked at the issue in the early 1990s, using 1991 census data. At that stage, the numbers were such that there was a chance that NSW might actually lose population should net overseas migration decline, internal migration increase. This is less likely now.
In my next post I will look at some distributional issues.