Canberra Population 2018

Although Canberra is Australia's capital city, it is only the ninth largest city in the country. The latest census revealed that Canberra was home to 357,220 people in August 2011; an increase of just over 10% in just five years.

Canberra is a planned city that was not developed in one of Australia's states; it is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, a small territory developed to ensure that Australia's capital was not located in one of Australia's five states, thus ensuring its neutrality.

City Size

Canberra covers 814 square kilometers (314 square miles) of area. With a population estimate of 403,468 as of 2016, this gives a population density of 495.6 people residing per square kilometer.

Demographics of Canberra

71.4% of its residents were born in Australia, slightly higher than the national average of 70.3% – perhaps a reflection that Canberra is a Government town. The next largest nationality is English (3.7%) and Chinese (1.8%).

Canberra is, though, one of the few cities where the largest religious group is, in fact, the non-religious. 28.9% of Canberrans told census takers that they did not have a religion. This is slightly higher than the proportion of Catholics (26.1%) and twice the population of Anglicans (14.7%).

Incomes in Canberra are much higher than the national average. The average weekly wage for an Australian is $577, but in Canberra the average income is $917. Residents of Canberra are also much better educated than the average Australian. 4.5% of people living in Canberra have a postgraduate degree, compared with an average of 1.8% in the country as a whole. Again, this reflects Canberra's status as the capital of Australia.

Population Growth

Canberra was chosen as the location for the nation's capital in 1908. In 1911, a pair of architects from Chicago, Illinois, USA was awarded with the responsibility to design the blueprint of the city. By 1927, the Federal Parliament sat in their new offices for the first time.

In 1911, the city residents numbered just over 1,700, quickly growing to 9,000 by 1930. By 1971, the population first reached over 100,000. In 2000, the population reached over 300,000 and continues to grow.

Canberra Population in 2018Source: By Bidgee [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Canberra Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
2035539,7731.09%28,376
2030511,3971.15%28,411
2025482,9861.10%25,656
2020457,3301.07%9,638
2018447,6921.44%18,849
2015428,8431.52%31,151
2010397,6921.66%31,353
2005366,3391.29%22,684
2000343,6552.39%38,347
1995305,3081.58%23,045
1990282,2632.32%30,614
1985251,6492.46%28,764
1980222,8852.71%27,921
1975194,9647.26%57,664
1970137,30010.22%52,889
196584,41110.51%33,203
196051,20810.28%19,815
195531,3939.52%11,472
195019,9210.00%
Canberra Population Growth

Canberra's 2018 population is now estimated at 447,692. In 1950, the population of Canberra was 19,921. Canberra has grown by 18,849 since 2015, which represents a 1.44% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Canberra, which typically includes Canberra's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Data Sources
  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics - Canberra 2016 Census QuickStats
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics - Australian Capital Territory Summary
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations