The Housing Industry Association (HIA), the voice of Australia’s residential building industry, reports that population growth in the country slowed down during 2014 due to falling overseas migration.

The latest demographic statistics released by ABS reveals that Australia’s population reached 23.63 million at the end of 2014, reflecting an increase of around 330,000 people over the year and representing 1.4 per cent growth.

According to HIA Economist Geordan Murray, the pace of population growth reached a peak of 1.8 per cent at the end of 2012, and gradually slowed throughout 2013 and 2014. However, last year’s annual growth of 1.4 per cent is still above the historic average.

Geordan Murray attributes the slowing rate of population growth to falling overseas migration. While the flow of overseas migration (both inward and outward) contributed to a net increase of around 184,000 people during the period, natural population growth (the net balance of births and deaths) provided an additional 146,000 people.

In terms of state-wise performance in 2014, New South Wales and Victoria showed strong population growth although the pace of growth in both states eased a little late in the year. NSW recorded annual growth of 1.4 per cent, while Victoria achieved growth of 1.8 per cent and was the fastest growing state in the country in 2014.

Geordan Murray notes that the declining mining boom in Western Australia contributed to a significant change in the state’s migration flows and population growth during 2014. The contribution from overseas migration essentially halved during the year with net overseas migration adding around 18,901 people in 2014, down from over 36,000 in 2013. WA also recorded a net annual outflow of residents to other states in 2014 for the first time since 2003.

In other states, the rate of population growth in Queensland slowed to 1.4 per cent, growth in the Northern Territory slowed to 0.4 per cent, and growth in the ACT slowed to 1.1 per cent. The rate of population growth in South Australia and Tasmania held steady over the year at 0.9 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively.