Australia's population level reaches new high - due in part to immigration

Current rates of Australian immigration have now catapulted the country's population to over 23 million people, according to latest government estimates. While the rise has been attributed in part to an increase in the average family size, Australian immigration has been cited as the main reason. Demographer Mark McCrindle, speaking to ABC News, said Australia's birth rate is due to exceed 300,000 births for the first time this year. However, this is not due to an increase in more women having children, but individual women having more children. Yet despite the increase in births setting its own milestone, Mr McCrindle says it is immigration which has played the biggest single part in the country reaching the 23 million mark. 'The proportion of net migration to our population growth has increased from 54% a year ago to now 60% of our growth - just 40% through the natural increase.' The demographer said that Australia, despite traditionally always having a net inflow of migrants, now has the fastest growing population in the developed world. 'We can say that Australia has world-beating population growth right now. The world is growing 1.1% per annum and Australia, at 1.7%, is really out in front. 'And when you compare us to comparable developed nations, we really are ahead of the comparison.' Australia's population growth translates to 1048 people per day; in comparison, the US is growing at 0.9% per year and the UK just 0.6%. Even India's population growth of just 1.4% is surpassed by Australia's rapid growth. Bob Birrell, from Monash University's Centre for Population and Urban Research, said favourable economic conditions in Australia combined with welcoming immigration policies made Australia an attractive prospect for people from all over the world. 'Working holiday makers, visitors, 457 visa holders, New Zealanders - they have all been going up sharply," said Dr Birrell. 'There is no cap on working holiday makers and we are a very attractive destination now for people from Ireland, Taiwan, England, where the labour markets are dead.'

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