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Australia's capital cities account for 80% of population growth

Staff writer |
Perth has become the fourth Australian city to reach 2 million in population while Sydney looks likely to be first to top 5 million, official data said.

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Perth was the fastest growing capital last year at 2.5 percent, adding an extra 48,400 people, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). It joins Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as the only Australia cities to have broken the 2 million mark.

The entire Australian population grew by 1.6 percent to reach 23.5 million on June 30 last year, with the eight capital cities in the heavily urbanized country accounting for 79 percent of all growth.

Phil Browning from the ABS said Perth's breakthrough was a significant milestone, given just 30 years ago its population lagged behind that of Adelaide.

"In 1983, Adelaide just beat Perth to the 1 million mark," said Browning. "However, since that time, Perth's population has more than doubled, whereas Adelaide has grown by less than one third."

If Sydney (4.84 million) maintains its current growth of 1.8 percent, it will pass 5 million by June 2016, while both Melbourne and Sydney are predicted to both hit 8 million by 2060.

Capital city growth was responsible for almost 80 percent of Australia's population growth in 2013-14, with much of this growth occurring in outer suburban areas and inner cities.

Brisbane's annual growth rate has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade (1.7 percent to 2.27 million), but it is still growing faster than the country's capital, Canberra (1.2 per cent to 346,000).

Adelaide's population increased by 1 percent to 1.3 million, while Melbourne (4.44 million) and Darwin (140,100) enjoyed growth rates only marginally behind Perth at 2.2 percent.

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