Baby boom boosts population

The population of Australia has moved past the 21 million mark for the first time, boosted by a higher fertility rate, increased immigration, lower mortality rate for infants and longer lives. The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the number of births in the year to June increased by 3.6 per cent compared with the previous year to hit a record of 273,000. The fastest growing states continue to be Queensland with an increase in population of 2.3 per cent and Western Australia on 2.2 per cent. The latest ABS projections put the nation's population at 24 million by 2050 although our ranking of 54th largest country in the world is expected to slip to 65th as other countries outpace Australia's growth rate.