Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory of Australia. Located on the Timor Sea, it is also the largest city in the sparsely populated region, and it is the smallest and most northerly Australian capital city with an estimated population of 138,000 in 2014.
Darwin and its suburbs form a triangular shape with the older suburbs and the city proper in the southwest with newer suburbs in the north and east. The old part of Darwin is separated from the new by Darwin International Airport. Palmerston, a satellite city about 12 miles south of Darwin, was established nearly 35 years ago and it is now one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the country.
Darwin has an estimated urban population of 138,000, which ranks 16th in Australia. This is up from 127,000 in 2010.
City Size and Population Density
The city proper sprawls over a total surface area of 112 square kilometers (43 square miles). Darwin currently has a population density of about 703 people per square kilometer or 1,822 per square mile. The overall urban area expands to encompass 3,163 square kilometers; and with a metropolitan population of more than 145,000, the urban population density comes to approximately 46 people residing per square kilometer.
According to public data from 2006, native Australians dominated this city, with the English and Irish populations coming in close behind them.
In 2016, the population of Darwin was composed of:
- Australians: 21.2%
- English: 19.8%
- Irish: 7.4%
- Scottish: 5.6%
- Chinese: 4.1%
The city of Darwin is known for its Aboriginal population. Darwin has the highest percentage of Aborigines of any Australian capital at 9.7% of its people.
This city is also home to a large young population, with the average age of a city-dweller in this area being 33 years old. The reasons cited for this unusual amount of young people is that older citizens prefer to retire in other regions of Australia. The military base located in Darwin adds to the large amount of young people living in this region.
In terms of religion, Catholicism and no religion are the top responses (with approximately 20% each), followed by Anglican, Uniting, and Eastern Orthodox.
Ethnic backgrounds are quite diverse here. Some dominant ethnicities include natives from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Philippines. These immigrants make up for 18.3 percent of the population. Major overseas-born populations include:
- United Kingdom: 4,600
- Philippines: 2,900
- New Zealand: 2,500
- India: 1,350
- Greece: 970
- Indonesia: 915
- China: 780
- Germany: 700
- Thailand: 620
- Vietnam: 570
- Malaysia: 545
- Ireland: 450
The first settlers of the city were the Aboriginals, who still occupy quite a large portion of Darwin today. This population was known for importing to other regions through trading routes with Southeast Asia. Their trading routes led them to trade with parts in both Western and Southern Australia. Songlines, which were designed by creator-beings to preserve the heritage and history of the land, were placed throughout the region. These songlines played a vital role in keeping the past and old tales alive within the city.
During the gold rush of 1875, the city saw an influx of people from Europe, causing the European population to rise to 300 people. This gold rush first started when the Overland Telegraph was being installed within the city. Workers stumbled upon the gold when digging holes in the ground for posts – causing a frenzy among the gold-digging communities when news about the discovery traveled.
Not all was prosperous in the city of surprises. Darwin suffered a hardship after losing the ship Gothenburg, which contained many locals from the town, to a cyclone-like storm while on a business mission. Only 22 of the 122 people aboard survived the tragic 1875 storm. The city took many years to recover from the sad loss and saw its decrease in population as a challenging obstacle. Over time, Darwin was able to pick up the pieces and continue its growth and trading options with other regions.
Darwin Population Growth
With a growth rate of 2.6 percent per year, this busy city is considered one of the quickest growing regions within Australia. The areas that have the most significant amount of growth within the city of Darwin include Litchfield and Palmerston. Palmerston is growing so rapidly that population forecasters predict the region within Darwin will become the most populated by 2016.