2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Nov 1998  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/11/1998   
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Planning for the Future with Population Changes

If you've ever wished that you could see into the future, then Population Projections, 1997 to 2051 may be just what you need! By describing the potential size, structure and distribution of the Australian population into the 21st Century, this publication is an invaluable tool for planners, policy-makers, businesses and anyone else interested in the future state of our nation.

What are population projections?

Population projections will show us the growth and change in a population if assumptions about future demographic trends are realised.

Population Projections, 1997 to 2051 contains detailed descriptions of the demographic assumptions used to generate population projections. It also analyses the impact that varying levels of fertility, mortality and overseas migration have on the Australian population.

Population projections are generated for all States and Territories. This issue also introduces capital city/balance of State projections for all States and the Northern Territory.

Some of the highlights of this publication include:

Population size and distribution:

  • Australia's 1997 population of 18.5 million could grow to 22.1-23.1 million by 2021 and 23.5-26.4 million by 2051.
  • Queensland is projected to replace Victoria as the second most populous State between 2022 and 2048.
  • The highest rates of growth between 1997 and 2051 are projected to occur in the Northern Territory (84%-154%), Queensland (76%-90%) and Western Australia (67%-74%).
  • The populations of most capital cities are projected to increase by 2051, with the largest proportionate increases in Darwin (53%-179%), Brisbane (80%-90%) and Perth (70%-78%).
  • Tasmania is the only State or Territory where the population declines under each projection series, dropping by 20%-58% by 2051.
  • While the population of the Australian Capital Territory could pass that of Tasmania between 2037 and 2043, the Northern Territory could overtake the populations of both Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory as early as 2039.

Population ageing:
  • The ageing of Australia's population is projected to continue, with the median age increasing from 34 years in 1997 to 40-41 years in 2021 and 44-46 years in 2051.
  • The proportion of the population aged 65 years and over could increase from 12% in 1997 to about 18% in 2021 and 24%-26% in 2051.
  • The proportion of the population aged under 15 years could decrease from 21% in 1997 to 16%-17% in 2021 and 14%-16% in 2051.

A copy of Population Projections, 1997 to 2051 is available at ABS Bookshops or through the Census Update 16 order form.