3106.0 - Demography News, Sep 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/10/2003   
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ABS has released the 2002-2101 population projections for Australia and the 2002-2051 population projections for the states and territories, capital city and balance of state. These projections were released in Population Projections, Australia, 2002-2101 (cat. no. 3222.0) and in Australia and capital city/balance of state data cubes available in AusStats and ABS@.

The cohort-component method was used for these projections, which requires various assumptions to be made on future levels of fertility, mortality, overseas migration and interstate migration. This method begins with a base population for each sex by single years of age and advances it year by year by applying these assumptions. These assumptions are formulated on the basis of past demographic trends, both in Australia and overseas and in consultation with Commonwealth, State and Territory government representatives and demographic experts.

The projections show that Australia's total population will increase from 19.7 million in 2002 to between 23 million and 31 million by 2051, and to either decrease to 19 million or increase to 38 million by 2101. The growth of Australia's population is projected to slow down during the next 50 years, from 1% per year during the first ten years of the projection period to 0.2% per year between 2041 and 2051.

According to the projections, Australia's population will continue to age. The median age of the population (the age at which half the population is younger and half older) is projected to increase from 35.9 years at June 2002 to between 46.0 years and 49.9 years in 2051. The proportion of the population aged under 15 years is projected to fall from 20% at June 2002 to between 12% and 15% by 2051. The population aged 15–64 years, which encompasses much of the working-age population, is projected to decline as a proportion of the total population, from 67% in 2002 to between 57% and 59% in 2051. While the population aged 65 years and over will increase from 13% at June 2002 to between 27% and 30% in 2051. The proportion of the population aged 85 years and over will increase from 1.4% of the population at June 2002 to between 6% and 9% in 2051. This age group will experience the highest growth rates of all age groups.

For more information please contact Katrina Phelan on (02) 6252 6573 or katrina.phelan@abs.gov.au