The population of the Northern Territory (NT) is on average much younger and more mobile than the Australian population in general. In this section, analysis is provided on the key components of the NT’s population growth. This includes the estimated resident population, natural increase (births and deaths), net interstate migration (NIM) and net overseas migration (NOM).

 infographic showing aboriginal population   

Background | Key facts | Population growthRegional population | Aboriginal population l Explanatory notes


The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provide quarterly estimates of resident populations (ERP) of Australia and the States and Territories. The ERP is based on the results of the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, updated quarterly using information on births, deaths, NIM and NOM.

The Department of Treasury and Finance provide quarterly population economic briefs about the NT’s resident population, and have developed population projections to the year 2046. The Northern Territory Population Growth Strategy 2018-2028 provides a framework for attracting people to the Territory, and encouraging those already here to stay for the long term. For more information on this strategy, visit the NT Government’s Population Growth Strategy website.

The NT is Australia’s third largest geographical area and comprises 1% of the national population. This makes the NT the most sparsely populated jurisdiction, with 0.2 persons per square kilometre. Over half (59.6%) of the NT’s population reside in Greater Darwin and the remainder are dispersed over remote and very remote areas. About one third of the NT’s population is Aboriginal, with around 80% residing in remote and very remote areas.

The NT has a younger age profile than Australia (Chart 1), with a median age of 32.9 years compared to 37.3 years nationally. The large number of persons aged 25 to 34 years reflects the structure of NT’s economy, which has a strong mining, construction and defence presence. As a result, the NT’s gender balance is more skewed to males, with 108 males for every 100 females compared to the national rate of 99 males for every 100 females.

Key facts

Population growth

Natural increase

Interstate migration

Overseas migration

Regional population

Greater Darwin

In 2018-19:

Rest of the NT

In 2018-19:

Aboriginal population

Explanatory notes