Qld has fallen to 5th place in rate of population growth among States & Territories

The end of the mining boom and broader economic sluggishness have no doubt contributed to Queensland falling to fifth place in terms of population growth among Australian States and Territories (see chart below based on ABS data released on Thursday).


Queensland is not attracting overseas (OS) or interstate migrants to the same extent as it has in the past (see chart below). I have previously commented on how we have actually been losing people to Victoria, a State that we once gained a lot of people from (see Interstate migration to Queensland remains low, and we’re still losing people to Victoria, but note I am still waiting for the latest detailed interstate migration data to confirm the net loss to Victoria is still the case).


In periods when net migration to Queensland was high, such as several years in the 1990s and 2000s, Queensland was number one in population growth in Australia (see chart below), but, as noted above, we have now fallen to fifth place.


And, since mid-2014, Queensland’s population has been growing at a slower rate than the rest of Australia’s (see chart below). This is all very concerning because, given our natural advantages (e.g. climate, natural resources, environment), we should be growing at a faster rate than other States. It is time for the Queensland Government to look closely at regulations that might be unnecessarily restricting economic development or making us a less attractive place to live.



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8 Responses to Qld has fallen to 5th place in rate of population growth among States & Territories

  1. KT says:

    well research Gene – sad to say unless there is a change in government policy this will continue. Once mighty Qld is mighty no more

  2. Glen says:

    Good post Gene, Qld has generally risen or fallen on the strength of the regions, whether mining, agriculture and toursim. We have a capital in Brisbane that doesn’t produce any long term wealth for the state other than a short term construction boost we are seeing currently, it has only token manufacturing and very little corporate wealth which can be relied upon when the regions turn quiet. Low interest rates have also added to Sydney and Melbourne retaining many who may have migrated to Qld in the past looking for a lifestyle change and reduce their mortgage obligations. Whilst there is still a distinct price advantage in Qld on the property price the difference between a $400k mortgage and a $600 mortgage is only $8k a year in interest at the moment where as years ago it was 15 or 20k.

    • Gene Tunny says:

      Thanks, Glen. Yes, we have a real problem in that our economy is relatively under-developed compared with NSW and Victoria. We have a branch office economy, alas.

  3. Jim says:


    Good post. The big trend in the data you have shown is the decline in international migration in the past five years. I suspect there are two factors driving this. 1) A lack of jobs. 2) After the GFC potential immigrants don’t have the wealth to resettle in Australia (their wealth has declined, while the relative costs of settling in Australia has increased significantly). as housing cost differentials between Australia and overseas have changed significantly for the worse since the GFC. At a State level, this should not have been a surprise to anyone, and there is no need to panic. Just don’t rely on populations growth to drive the economy quite as much.

    The real story here will be the differences between the regions. I suspect regions like Mackay might actually be losing population after the end of the mining construction phase. Again this should not be a surprise to anyone. But perhaps we need to get a little bit smarter about managing temporary population increases in the regions on the back of big projects. In the end, the current approach always ends in tears.

  4. Richard Flockart says:

    The Australian economy is in transition from a mining boom to a services economy. What services will Queensland transition to? Meanwhile the demand for miners will fall as commodity prices fall, so miners will either go interstate to other mines or will move into other industries. As for people moving to Queensland there is too much uncertainty and too little economic growth. Australian housing stock is now an internationally traded commodity. Foreigners buying into the Australian housing market will be affected by the price on purchase, the prospective rate of capital gains, the rate of interest (borrowing costs) and any other associated costs. As the rate of internal migration into Queensland has slowed the prospective capital gains will be reduced, so Queensland housing is not competitive compared to Sydney and Melbourne.

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