Thursday, 23 March 2017

Territory Population Update

Dr Tom Wilson


Population figures just published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the total Estimated Resident Population of the Northern Territory reached 245,657 at the end of September 2016, an increase of 812 over one year earlier. This represents a growth rate of 0.3%. The population of 245,657 gives the Territory a 1.0% share of the national population of 24,220,192.

The graph below illustrates how the Territory’s population has changed over the last few years. Following strong increases in 2012 and early 2013, population growth has been limited over the most recent years.

Note: Population statistics are for the end of each month shown
Source: ABS

The bar chart below shows how the Territory’s population growth rate over the year to 30th September 2016 compares with that of the other States and Territories. Relative to other jurisdictions, the Territory’s population growth rate is quite low.

Source: ABS

What factors are driving population change in the Territory?

Population change in the Territory is the result of several demographic processes. These are:
  • births
  • deaths
  • in-migration from interstate
  • out-migration to interstate
  • immigration from overseas
  • emigration to overseas.
These six factors are often summarised as:
  • natural change (births minus deaths)
  • net interstate migration (in-migration from interstate minus out-migration to interstate)
  • net overseas migration (immigration minus emigration).
The diagram below shows how these factors of population change affected population growth over the year to 30th September 2016. Processes which remove people from the Territory are shown in red; those which add people to the population are shown in green.

Over the year to 30th September 2016 there were 3,950 births and 1,090 deaths to Territory residents, giving natural change of 2,860. There were an estimated 14,651 in-migration moves to the Territory from interstate, while there were 17,455 out-migrations to other parts of Australia. Net interstate migration was -2,804. The Territory’s population experienced immigration of 5,641 from overseas, while emigration to other countries was 4,885. Net overseas migration was 756. Natural change, plus net interstate migration, plus net overseas migration equals total population change, which was 812. Although overall population change was modest, the churn of population (numbers of people being added and removed from the population) was substantial. This is a long-established characteristic of the Territory’s demography.

Factors affecting population change in the Territory over the year ending 30th September 2016

Source: calculated from ABS data

Factors affecting population change in recent years

Much of the volatility in the Territory’s population growth over the years is due to fluctuations in migration, which in part reflects fluctuations in the Territory’s economy. The graph below shows how natural change, net interstate migration, and net overseas migration have varied on a quarterly basis in recent years. The slow growth of the Territory’s population over the last few years is due to net interstate migration losses and lower levels of net overseas migration.

Note: Periods are quarters of the year; e.g. “Qtr 1 2016” refers to the first quarter of 2016
Source: ABS


Dr Tom Wilson, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University.

Data sources

All data are derived from the Australian Bureau of Statistics bulletin Australian Demographic Statistics (released quarterly and containing data up to a date six months prior to publication) and the online data service ABS.Stat. Be aware that these statistics are estimates, not precise values.

Interested in finding out more about the Territory’s population?

See the webpage of the Demography & Growth Planning team at the Northern Institute, and our blog, demographyNorth.

Demography North

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Introduction to Demography - one day course

What the course is about

This course provides a gentle introduction to demography – the study of population – with a particular emphasis on understanding Australian demographic change. No prior knowledge of demography is assumed, and the emphasis of the course is on demographic ideas and trends rather than statistics.

The course will tackle questions such as:
How much population ageing is occurring in Australia, and should we be worried?
What demographic factors are causing state and territory population growth?
Is life expectancy still increasing?
How does population affect political representation in Australia?
What demographic changes are occurring in our inner cities?
Are household sizes increasing?
What is the future of Australia’s population?
Where can I find demographic data?

Who the course is for

The course has been designed for analysts, planners, policy officers, managers, and postgraduate students who would find a basic knowledge of demography useful in their work. It should also be of value to others with an interest in how and why Australia’s population is changing.


Date:             Friday 5th May 2017, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm.
Venue:          Savannah Room, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University. 
                     The room is on level 2 in building Yellow no. 1. 
                     Both paid and free parking is available nearby – see the campus map.
Presenters:    Dr Tom Wilson and Mr Huw Brokensha.
Cost:             $599 per person including GST, or $499 including GST for full-time students.
Catering:      Morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea are provided.
Materials:     Participants receive a folder of course notes and a certificate of attendance.

Demography North

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Heading north, staying north?

The increasing importance of international migrants to northern and remote Australia

Dr Andrew Taylor

Demography North researcher Dr Andrew Taylor presented on the increasing importance of international migrants to northern and remote Australia at the Western Regional Science Association conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico last month. 

Dr Taylor meets in Santa Fe with our long-term colleagues Klaus Geog Hansen, Acting Director of the Department of Economic Planning in the Greenland Government’s Ministry of Finance, and Rasmus Ole Rasmussen from the Nordic Centre for Spatial Research (NORDREGIO, but soon to be with South Greenland Municipality of Kujalleq)

There are many similarities to parts of the Territory in the painted desert areas including the desert landscape interspersed with many small American Indian communities

Demography North