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3106.0 - Demography News, Oct 2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/10/2000   
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Australia in future

For the first time projections for Australia were taken out 100 years to show the long term effect of continued low fertility and maintaining various levels of net overseas migration. Projections were also produced for States and Territories, capital cities and balances of State up to 2051. Australia's population as a whole is projected to grow from the current size of 19 million to between 24 and 28 million over the next 50 years. At the end of the century the population is projected to range between 23 and 32 million.

The projections show that the ageing of the population will continue. This is the inevitable result of fertility remaining at low levels over a long period, combined with increasing life expectancy. The median age of the population is projected to increase by about 10 years from the present level of 35 years to 44-47 years in 2051.

The population aged 65 years and over could triple in size, increasing from 2.3 million in 1999 to 6.4-6.8 million in 2051. By 2051 they could make up 24-27 per cent of the population compared with 12 per cent in 1999. The size of this group will increase rapidly from 2011 onwards when the post World War II "baby boomers" start turning 65.

The population aged 85 years and over is projected to be five times larger in 2051, increasing from the current size of 241,000 (1.3 per cent of the total population) in 1999 to about 1.3 million or 5 per cent of the population in 2051. But this group will be less dominated by women than it is now, with the proportion of men increasing from 31 per cent to 41 per cent over the next 50 years. This is because men are living longer and the gap between the life expectancy of men and women is assumed to be narrowing.

Further information is available in Population Projections, Australia 1999-2101 (Cat. No. 3222.0) released on 17 August.


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