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Unless otherwise stated the following analysis uses Series A and C to depict a range, although not the full range, of projected populations. At times, to simplify the analysis, only the medium series (i.e. Series B) has been used.
Australia's population in June 2007 of 21.0 million people is projected to increase to between 30.9 and 42.5 million in 2056, and reach between 33.7 and 62.2 million by 2101.
All three series project continuing population growth throughout the projection period. In Series A, the population is projected to reach 42.5 million in 2056 and 62.2 million in 2101. In Series B, the population will reach 35.5 million in 2056 and 44.7 million in 2101. In Series C, the projected population is 30.9 million for 2056, and 33.7 million for 2101 (graph 7.10).
The growth rate of Australia's population reflects the interaction of the components of population change - natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) and net overseas migration (NOM).
In the 10 years to June 2007, Australia's population increased by 1.3% per year on average, with just over half of this growth resulting from natural increase and just under half from NOM. In the last 2 years, Australia's population has grown by 1.5% per year, with NOM contributing more to population growth than natural increase in the year ended June 2007. In 2006-07, there were 274,300 births and 134,800 deaths in Australia, resulting in a natural increase of 139,500 people, while NOM contributed 177,600 people to Australia's population.
In Series C, a state of natural decrease, in which deaths outnumber births, is reached in 2048. However, NOM more than compensates for losses due to natural decrease and Australia's population continues to increase, albeit slowly, throughout the projection period. A state of natural decrease is also reached in Series B, but only in the last year of the projection (2101). In contrast to the 2004-based set of ABS population projections released in November 2005, no series shows population decline for Australia before the end of the century.
Series B projects continuing population growth over the next 50 years in all states and territories except Tasmania, where the population increases slowly before levelling out by around 2040 and then decreasing marginally from 2051 onwards. Between June 2007 and 2056, the populations of both Queensland and Western Australia are projected to more than double (with increases of 109% and 104% respectively) while the Northern Territory is projected to increase by 87%. In comparison, the projected growth for Australia for the same period is 69%.
In Series B, New South Wales is projected to remain the most populous state in Australia, although its share of Australia's population will decline from 33% in June 2007 to 29% in June 2056. Queensland is projected to replace Victoria in 2050 as the second most populous state, with Queensland's share of Australia's population increasing from 20% to 25% over the next 50 years, and Victoria's share decreasing marginally, from 25% to 24%. Western Australia is projected to increase its share of Australia's population from 10% in June 2007 to 12% in June 2056, while South Australia's share will decline from 7.5% to 6.2% over the same period. Similarly, Tasmania's share is projected to decline from 2.3% in June 2007 to 1.6% in June 2056. The Northern Territory's share will remain at a similar level, increasing from 1.0% to 1.1%. Likewise the Australian Capital Territory's share will change only marginally, decreasing from 1.6% to 1.4%.
Graph 7.12 illustrates the ageing of Australia's population projected to occur over the next 90 years. Ageing of the population is a trend which has been evident over recent decades as a result of fertility remaining below replacement level and declining mortality rates. In all three series this trend is projected to continue.
The median age of Australia's population is projected to increase from 36.7 years in June 2007 to between 38.7 and 40.7 years in 2026, and to between 41.9 and 45.2 years in 2056. In 2101 the median age of the population is projected to reach between 43.8 and 46.7 years.
Ageing of the population affects the relative sizes of different age groups within the population. The proportion of the population aged under 15 years is projected to decrease from 19% (4.1 million people) of Australia's population in 2007 to between 15% and 18% (4.5 million and 7.5 million) in 2056, and to decline to between 14% and 17% (4.7 million to 10.4 million) in 2101. In contrast, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase, from 13% (2.8 million people) in 2007 to between 23% and 25% (7.8 million and 10.4 million) in 2056, and 25% and 28% (9.3 million and 17.1 million) in 2101.
Table 7.13 presents a range of indicators, such as population size and age structure, to illustrate changes in Australia's population from 1901 to 2101.