An article entitled Fertility Futures appeared in the latest edition of Australian Social Trends (Cat. No. 4102.0). The article explores the possible impact on the population of three very different fertility scenarios. The scenarios demonstrate the extent to which the size and age structure of the population may be affected by different levels of fertility.
Under a very low fertility scenario of 1.3 babies per woman by 2008–9, Australia's population would peak at 23.2 million in 2039 and then decline to 22.9 million by 2051. At the other extreme, a high fertility rate of 2.1 babies per woman would see the population reach 30.1 million by 2051. The article also discusses the more moderate assumption that fertility stabilises at 1.6 babies per woman, which would see the population grow to 25.4 million by 2051.
Under all these scenarios, population ageing will occur, as the impact of past and present trends in fertility continue to be felt throughout the age structure. However, the ageing of the population will be most pronounced under scenarios of continued fertility decline.
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