The population of Australia in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 19,731,000, which placed it as number 52 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 12% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 20% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 99 males for every 100 females in the country in 2003. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 0.96%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 21,747,000. The population density in 2002 was 3 per sq km (7 per sq mi).
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 85% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001 The 2000 population totals of the six state capitals were estimated as follows: Sydney, New South Wales, 3,665,000; Melbourne, Victoria, 3,094,000; Brisbane, Queensland, 1,450,000; Perth, Western Australia, 1,220,000; Adelaide, South Australia, 1,039,000; and Hobart, Tasmania, 183,838. Three other large cities are Newcastle, New South Wales, 433,000; Gold Coast, Queensland, 274,000; Wollongong, New South Wales, 240,000; and Geelong, Victoria, 153,000. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was0.9%.
One-third of Australia is virtually uninhabited; another third is sparsely populated. The total population is quite small compared to the large land mass. Most of the cities are located in the east and southeast, with many inhabitants living on the coast.