Melbourne has consolidated its position as Australia’s fastest-growing city, gaining an extra 95,600 residents in a year in which Sydney gained only 84,200.

Although still outclassed by Sydney as a destination for overseas arrivals, Melbourne is doing far better than Sydney at keeping and attracting locals.

The latest Bureau of Statistics count for the year to September 2015 shows NSW welcomed more interstate and overseas arrivals than any other state, but suffered bigger losses than any other state, mainly to Victoria and Queensland.

NSW gained 87,800 internal migrants, the equivalent of around 800 car loads a day. But it lost 95,300 emigrants to other states, the equivalent of 900 car loads a day.

Victoria, the fastest-growing state, gained 73,500 internal migrants but held on to more of its citizens, losing only 62,400.

Victoria and Queensland are the only two states to have gained population from the rest of Australia.

They come to Victoria
Net population gain from interstate migration, year to September 2015

come to vic


Source: ABS Demographic statistics Get the data

Victoria’s population grew by 1.7 per cent over the year, well above NSW and ACT, which grew at 1.4 per cent. Western Australia’s population grew 1.3 per cent, Queensland 1.2 per cent, South Australia 0.7 per cent, Tasmania 0.4 per cent and the Northern Territory 0.3 per cent.

The national growth rate of 1.3 per cent is the lowest for 10 years. At its peak during the mining boom, Australia’s population was growing by more than 2 per cent a year.

The Bureau says Melbourne is on track to overtake Sydney as Australia’s biggest city by 2056. At present housing 4.4 million Australians, greater Melbourne will house between 7.3 and 9.1 million by 2056. Greater Sydney’s population will house between 7.7 and 8.4 million, up from the present 4.8 million.

Other statistics released on Thursday show NSW performing better than Victoria in providing jobs, boosting employment by 177,300 in the year to February, compared to 149,600 for Victoria.

The retail industry has put on the most jobs in the year to February, boosting employment by 60,700. Health care and social assistance has put on 60,000, construction 35,600, transport 45,300, financial services 16,300, and real estate 13,000.

Mining has put on only 5300 new workers, tourism has lost 7900, and manufacturing has lost 20,300.


Hires and fires

Workers gained or lost, year to February 2016, thousands

hires and fires

Source: ABS Labour Force Get the data


Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.
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