The number of people in Australia has surpassed 24 million for the first time, according to the Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) population clock.
The milestone is predicted to have taken place about 12:50am (AEDT).
The population clock is an indication of the current population based on a projection calculated using births and deaths data from the ABS, and migration figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The ABS said it was unclear whether the 24 millionth Australian was a newborn or a migrant.
Demographer Andrew Howe said the population in every state and territory was growing, with Victoria overtaking Western Australia in expanding the fastest.
“Three, four, five years ago Western Australia was the fastest growing state,” Mr Howe said.
“There has been a slow down in Western Australia and consequently Victoria has taken over as the fastest growing state.”
Mr Howe said traditionally births have been the biggest driver of population growth.
But he said in the past 10 years it has been migration that has led the nation’s population growth.
“The past seven, eight, nine years we’ve had record numbers of overseas migrants entering the country,” Mr Howe said.
“And that’s reflected in our higher than expected population growth rates in recent years.”
What does 24 million look like?
More and more of us are choosing to live in cities.
At Federation (1901) most Australians lived outside of their capital city in their state. Today, most choose to live in it with Sydney (64 per cent of NSW) and Melbourne (76 per cent of Victoria) leading the pack.
Tasmania and Queensland are the only exceptions, with more of the population choosing to live outside Hobart (43 per cent of Tasmania) and Brisbane (48 per cent of Queensland).
Statistically there are slightly more women then men, however Mr Howe said boys are more common at birth, “around 21 to every 20 girls”.
“But over people’s lifetimes the male death rate is higher,” Mr Howe said.
“So it tends to balance out over the life cycle.”
New South Wales is still the largest state (7.6 million people) but Victoria (5.9 million people) is catching, with a nation-leading 1.7 per cent growth rate.
Tasmania and the NT are tied at the other end of the growth table at 0.4 per cent.
More people from India, China, NZ moving to Australia
“Traditionally the UK has been one of the, if not the main source, of overseas migrants,” Mr Howe said.
“But this is really changing as well — we’ve had an increasing number of people moving from India and China and of course, from New Zealand.”
According to Dr Helen Feist from the Australian Population and Migration Centre, it is leading to a more diverse, dynamic nation.
“We’re going to see a group of fertile, young people interested in wanting to start new businesses and start families and perhaps live in different areas then the traditional Australia population. So that’s going to shake things up a bit,” she said.
“With any change in society you might have a bit of an unsettling period, but I think that will settle down. And I think we will reap the benefits of that change.
“Just like the Greek and the Italian migrants — look what that did for our rich cultural history.”
The 24 million milestone comes ahead of the 17th census, which will take place on August 9.
It is expected 10 million dwellings will be counted by the ABS during the census.
Australia’s population is expected to reach 30 million by 2030.