Population Estimates

With almost one third of the total national population, or 7.3 million residents, New South Wales is Australia's largest domestic market. The State's resident population increased by 82,600 people in the year to June 2012, or 1.1%. Overseas migration continues to play an important role in the State's population growth, as well as deepening the base of skills and languages.

Sydney is Australia’s largest city, with the greater metropolitan area home to more than 4.6 million people as at June 2012, accounting for 64% of the New South Wales population. Other large cities in New South Wales include Newcastle, 165 kilometres to the north of Sydney, with 421,000 people, and Wollongong with 283,000 people, 85 kilometres to the south. Together with Greater Sydney, these centres account for almost three-quarters of the New South Wales population. While the western, south west and inner city suburbs of Sydney have been the major contributors to New South Wales growth in the last five years, the Hunter, Illawarra and South Eastern regions have also recorded strong population growth over this period.

New South Wales’ population grew by 6.8% per cent between 2007 and 2012, and exceeded the population growth of a number of major countries over the same period, including Germany (-1.1%), Japan (-0.3%), Korea (1.3%), China (2.5%), Hong Kong SAR (2.5%), France (2.8%), the United Kingdom (2.9%), and the United States (4.2%), according to the US Census Bureau's International Data Base.

Population Estimates - Australian States, Territories and Capital Cities, 20121,2

State/Territory State/Territory population % Aust. population Capital city Capital city population3 % of State/Territory population
New South Wales 7,301,134 32.1 Sydney 4,672,619 64.0
Victoria 5,629,122 24.8 Melbourne 4,248,344 75.5
Queensland 4,565,529 20.1 Brisbane 2,192,065 48.0
Western Australia 2,432,706 10.7 Perth 1,899,999 78.1
South Australia 1,656,299 7.3 Adelaide 1,278,432 77.2
Tasmania 512,333 2.3 Hobart 216,981 42.4
Australian Capital Territory 374,912 1.7 Canberra 374,912 100.0
Northern Territory 235,182 1.0 Darwin 131,938 56.1
Australia4 22,710,352 100.0 Total 15,015,290 66.1


1. Estimates of resident population are based on Census counts by place of usual residence adjusted for Census undercount, to which are added the number of Australian residents estimated to have been temporarily overseas at the time of the Census. Overseas visitors are excluded. Estimates are then backdated from Census night to the 30th June by adjusting for births, deaths and migration (both internal and overseas) during this period.

2. Revised estimates, as at June 2012

3. Based on the ABS' Greater Capital City Statistical Areas structure of the 2011 ASGS classification

4. Includes Other Territories, i.e. Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay

Source: ABS Cat. No. 3218.0, Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2012


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