Closed international borders have ground Australia’s total population growth to a halt but people are flocking to one state.
Queensland’s population has surged as the rest of the country grinds to a halt, new figures show.
The Sunshine State outperformed all others as its population increased 0.9 per cent to 5.2 million in the year to March 31.
Meanwhile, locked down Victoria endured the biggest fall, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Thursday.
The figures reveal the huge impact of closed international borders on overseas migration.
Australia’s population grew just over 0.1 per cent, or 35,700 people, to 25.7 million.
This was down from the growth of 1.5 per cent seen in the 2019 calendar year.
ABS demography director Beidar Cho said it was the first full year of data exposing the impact of Covid-19 on Australia’s population.
Population growth is calculated by taking into account births, deaths and net overseas migration.
But in the year to March 31, population growth was entirely due to natural increases, which added 131,000 people, while net overseas migration was well below zero (-95,300).
It’s the first time overseas migration has plunged into negative territory since 1946, continuing the shift from a long trend of net overseas migration driving most of Australia’s population growth.
While Queensland recorded the biggest growth, Western Australia had the second biggest surge in population, growing by 0.6 per cent to 2.67 million.
The Northern Territory grew by 0.5 per cent to 247,000, followed by Tasmania and the ACT, which each recorded a growth of 0.4 per cent and respectively increased to 542,000 and 431,000.
South Australia recorded a 0.2 per cent growth to 1.77 million, while New South Wales’ population rose by 0.1 per cent to 8.17 million.
Victoria — which endured months of lockdown during 2020 and is currently in its sixth lockdown — was the only state to experience negative growth, falling 0.6 per cent to 6.64 million.
Nationally, there were 293,500 births and 162,500 deaths over the period.
The resulting natural increase was down four per cent from the previous year, continuing a downward trend over the past five years driven mainly by decreasing births.
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