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Australia, Population

Australia is the most sparsely populated of the inhabited continents. The estimated total population in 2002 was 19,546,792, giving the country an overall population density of 3 persons per sq km (7 per sq mi). Australia’s population grew at a relatively modest rate of about 1.3 percent annually from 1996 to 2001.

The country is heavily urbanized. Some 85 percent of the population lives in cities, about two-thirds in cities with 100,000 or more residents. The most rapidly growing areas are the coastal zones near and between the mainland capitals in the east, southeast, and southwest. In fact, four out of every five Australians live on the densely settled coastal plains that make up only about 3 percent of the country’s land area. The fastest-growing region is southeastern Queensland.

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