Compared with 100 years ago, Australians today are older, have fewer children, are more likely to live in urban areas, and are more likely to be born overseas in countries other than the United Kingdom. Stimulated by the gold rushes of the 19th century, Australia's population had reached nearly four million by Federation in 1901. For the first part of the 20th century, natural increase was the main contributor to population growth, as better living conditions saw births outnumber deaths. Following the end of World War II in 1945, the total fertility rate grew and Australia actively embarked on an immigration program to boost the population.
The rate of population growth has increased since the mid-2000s. Overseas migration is now the main driver of this, making up about 64 per cent of population growth (2017). By 2018, Australia's population had increased to 25 million people.
This guide provides an overview of the drivers of Australia’s growing population and an introduction to the key concepts and terminology used.