Demographics of Australia in 2023 - Structure, Labor, Regional Trends

Last Updated: October 30, 2023


25.366 million


1.6 Child

Median Age

37.2 Years Old

Dependency Ratio

55.8 %

Life Expectancy

83.6 Years

Net Migration Rate

5.4 ‰

Executive Summary

The overall population of Australia in 2022 is about 26 million people. It is the sixth largest country in the world in terms of land area. Most of the inland areas are deserts. Its population density is one of the lowest in the world at 3.3 people per square kilometer. It is far lower than the Asian average of 107.5 people per square kilometer, so the vast majority of the population is concentrated in big cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

Australia’s population growth rate has been higher than most developed countries. It was 1.5% in 2019, much higher than the average of 0.5% in OECD countries. But as the fertility rate continues to decline slowly, the average annual growth rate is expected to drop to 0.7% in 2030 and continue to slow down in the future.

The United Nations Commission on Population and Development predicts that the country’s working population will continue to grow. But the proportion of the working-age population will continue to decline, from 64.9% in 2020 to 64.2% in 2030 and 61.1% in 2050. Compared with other high-income countries, there is not much difference.

Although still relatively small relative to other OECD countries, the proportion of Australia’s population over 65 has continued to rise slowly in the past, driven by low fertility and increasing life expectancy, from 11 in 1990 to % increased to 17% in 2020.

And the natural growth portion (births minus deaths) fell from 142,000 in 1990 to 135,000 in 2020. The national fertility rate has decreased from 1.9 babies per woman in 1990 to 1.6 in 2020, while life expectancy at birth has continued to increase to 83 years in 2020, further pushing up the proportion of Australia’s elderly population.

Therefore, for Australia, net immigration is a very important driving force for the growth of the national population. Although the fertility rate is still high compared with other high-income countries, the number of immigrants in recent years has exceeded the natural growth of the country. Since 1990, Net immigration increased from about 96,000 at that time to 236,000 in 2019, accounting for about half of the total population growth during the entire period, while Taiwan, with the same population size, had only 10,000 net immigrants in 2019 More than 2,000 people.

Although since 2020, due to the international border restrictions introduced in response to the pneumonia epidemic, there has been a net immigrant outflow for the first time since World War II, but overall future population growth still depends on immigrant inflows, and net immigrant inflows are expected to exceed 4 ‰ in the next few decades .

As mentioned earlier, the national population is concentrated in coastal areas, with Victoria, Queensland, and South Wales accounting for 72% of the total population. Population growth in Sydney, Melbourne and southeast Queensland accounted for about 75 per cent of the total growth over the past three years . Strong population growth in the three largest regions is spreading to surrounding areas, making these cities population centers in their own right.

Australia - Population Growth

Note: % | Forecast After 2023 (UN, Statistics Office, Local Agency)

Population Structure

The population demographic data has been updated to October 2023 based primarily on the United Nations population database, with some countries using their own statistical agencies. All data listed is from 2022 (unless otherwise noted).

Population +

262 k people


300 k people


178 k people

Net Migration

140 k people

Australia - Population Growth Drivers
Note: % | forecast after 2023
Australia - Age Structure - Historical & Forecast
Note: % | forecast after 2023

Natural Growth

4.7 ‰

Net Migration

5.4 ‰

Young Dependency

30.1 %

Old Dependency

25.7 %

Australia - Median Age
Note: Age
Australia - Demographic Structure
Source: UN Population; OOSGA Analytics

Culture Brief

Australia, located in Oceania, between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The country has a population of 25 million, mainly composed of whites, with some Asians and aboriginals. Although English is the main language, Australia has a unique dialect and vocabulary known as “Strine”, which is characterized by its unique accent, phonetic system and slang. Languages ​​such as Chinese, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Italian account for a certain proportion of the population. According to the 2016 Australian Census, more than 20% of people use a language other than English at home, highlighting the multicultural characteristics of Australian society.

Modern Australia is built on immigration, with more than one million people moving to Australia since 2016. Of these, nearly a quarter came from India. India has surpassed China and New Zealand to become the third country of birth after Australia and the United Kingdom.

In terms of religion, Christianity is the most important religion in the country, which originated from the colonial history of British colonists in Australia. While Australia has always maintained a degree of religious diversity, it was not until the abolition of the White Australia Policy in the 1970s that non-European communities, as well as other religions, developed significantly and grew in numbers. The proportion of Australians who describe themselves as Christian has been falling steadily over the past 50 years, from 86.2 per cent in 1971 to 43.5 per cent in 2021 , with Protestants and Catholics roughly evenly divided.

It is worth mentioning that Australians generally avoid public displays of religious beliefs. There is no ubiquitous public religious rhetoric linking Australia’s national identity to Christianity, such as “God bless America” ​​in the United States or “God save the Queen” in the Commonwealth. In fact, Australians tend to avoid explicit expressions of religious beliefs in order to distinguish between private and public life. It is generally acceptable to discuss religious topics in private and with people you know well. However, strongly promoting or defending one’s religious views (including atheism) in public is generally not valued in Australian culture.

In interpersonal relationships, the concept of “mates” (friends) has an important place, and it is more willing to turn to friends than family members in times of need. Regardless of wealth, gender or background, for example in Australia Mate is often used to refer to colleagues and partners.


English 25.9%, Australian 25.4%, Irish 7.5%, Scottish 6.4%, Italian 3.3%, German 3.2%, Chinese 3.1%, Indian 1.4%, Greek 1.4%, Dutch 1.2%, other 15.8% (includes Australian Aboriginal .5%), unspecified 5.4% (2011 est. by CIA)

Language Used

English 72.7%, Mandarin 2.5%, Arabic 1.4%, Cantonese 1.2%, Vietnamese 1.2%, Italian 1.2%, Greek 1%, other 14.8%, unspecified 6.5% (2016 est.)note: data represent language spoken at home


Protestant 23.1% (Anglican 13.3%, Uniting Church 3.7%, Presbyterian and Reformed 2.3%, Baptist 1.5%, Pentecostal 1.1%, Lutheran .7%, other Protestant .5%), Roman Catholic 22.6%, other Christian 4.2%, Muslim 2.6%, Buddhist 2.4%, Orthodox 2.3% (Eastern Orthodox 2.1%, Oriental Orthodox .2%), Hindu 1.9%, other 1.3%, none 30.1%, unspecified 9.6% (2016 est. by CIA)

Australia - Education
Note: %
Australia - Education Comparison (Tertiary Education)
Note: %

Labor Brief

While Australia’s labor market has historically been very tight, exacerbated by a sharp tightening in 2022 as the economy recovers, with unemployment at its lowest level since 1974, major economic activity in recent months has All labor market indicators have slowed, mainly reflected in the rise in the unemployment rate, but remain tight in the long run.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics , the employment-to-population ratio stood at 64.4% in March 2023, while the unemployment rate stood at 3.5%. Both indicators are still close to their November 2022 record highs and lows, reflecting a still-tight labor market and explaining why many employers are having trouble finding the right workers to fill the plethora of job openings.

It is worth mentioning that, in addition to these two indicators, female labor force participation and employment have also hit a record high, reaching 62.5%. According to the statistics of the International Labor Organization, Australia’s female participation rate is the highest among OECD countries . It is only lower than Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Switzerland, but it also indirectly shows that Australia’s labor force participation rate will be more difficult to improve than other countries.

Australia - Labor Participation Rate
Note: %
Australia - Labor Participation by Groups
Note: %
Australia - Labor Participation By Sectors
Note: %

Regional Brief

The total population of Australia will increase from 19.02 million in 2000 to 25.97 million in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of approximately 1.59%. Among the states, Victoria and Queensland had the highest annual population growth rates.

Melbourne, Victoria, is the second largest city in Australia and is famous for its cultural diversity, artistic atmosphere and educational resources. With the rapid economic development of the state, more and more people choose to settle in Melbourne. The population of Victoria will increase from 4.7 million in 2000 to 6.61 million in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 1.75%.

Queensland is known for its rich natural resources, tourism and agriculture, attracting a large number of domestic and foreign immigrants. Queensland’s population will increase from 3.5 million in 2000 to 5.32 million in 2022, with an annual population growth rate of 1.97%.

Australia’s population is mainly distributed in coastal areas, with the largest populations in South Wales and Victoria. Sydney in New South Wales is the largest city in Australia, with a strong economy and diverse employment opportunities. Since 2000, NSW’s population has increased from 6.44 million to 8.15 million in 2022.

The desert regions of the Australian outback, such as the Northern Territory and South Australia, are relatively sparsely populated. Among them, the population growth rate of the Northern Territory was 1.12%, and that of South Australia was 0.94%, both of which were lower than the national average. Population growth in these areas is slower. By 2022, the population of the Northern Territory will be 250,000, and that of South Australia will be 1.82 million.

Australia - Population in Key Regions
Note: Unit: '000
Australia - GDP Per Capita in Key Regions
Note: Unit: AUD(Nominal)
  • Population project by age group: UN population database | Data after 2022 is estimated/forecasted | Forecasted with medium variant
  • Currency: nominal USD, unless otherwise specified. | IMF
  • Economic projection: OECD, IMF, EIU, Local Government
  • Culture, ethnicities, languages: CIA Factbook
  •  Education: World Bank
  • Labor Participation: ILO,
  • Data Aggregation & Calculation:
  • Analysis: Economic Team
Author: Economic Team

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