Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
3222.0 - Population Projections, Australia, 2012 (base) to 2101 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2013   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

PROJECTION RESULTS — States and Territories

INTRODUCTION

Projections of the states and territories depict the size, structure and distribution of their possible future populations according to the assumptions. Unless otherwise stated the following analysis uses Series A and C to depict a range, although not the full range, of projected outcomes. At times, to simplify the analysis between states and territories, Series B has been chosen. Commentary on specific series follows for each state and territory.

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 2046 and then decreases marginally from 2047 onwards. Between 30 June 2012 and 2061, the populations of both Western Australia and Queensland are projected to more than double (with increases of 163% and 103% respectively) while the Northern Territory is projected to increase by 93%. In comparison, the projected growth for Australia for the same period is 83%.

Changing state/territory share

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 32.1% at 30 June 2012 to 27.6% in 2061. Victoria and Queensland are also projected to remain as the second and third most populous state, respectively. Victoria’s share of Australia’s population is projected to remain at 24.8%, however, Queensland’s share is expected to increase from 20.1% at 30 June 2012 to 22.3% in 2061.

In Series B, Western Australia will increase its share of Australia's population from, 10.7% at 30 June 2012 to 15.4% in 2061, while South Australia's share will decline from 7.3% to 5.6% over the same period. Similarly, Tasmania's share will decline from 2.3% at 30 June 2012 to 1.4% in 2061. The Northern Territory's share will remain at a similar level, increasing from 1.0% to 1.1%. The Australian Capital Territory's share will change only marginally, increasing from 1.7% to 1.8%.

CAPITAL CITY/BALANCE OF STATE

For the capital city and balance of state projections, the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA), from the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), were used. For simplicity, a capital city’s name has been used rather than the GCCSA name. For example, Greater Sydney has been referred to as Sydney.

In Series B all capital cities, except Darwin, are projected to increase their share of their respective state or territory population over the next 50 years. By 2061, Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide will have the largest shares of their respective state populations, with 85% of Western Australians living in Perth (78% in 2012), 83% of all Victorians living in Melbourne (75% in 2012), and 83% of South Australians living in Adelaide (77% in 2012).

Sydney will experience the largest gain in share, increasing to 74% of New South Wales’ population in 2061 (from 64% in 2012). Brisbane will experience the smallest gain, increasing to 52% (from 48% in 2012). Hobart's share of Tasmania’s population is projected to increase to 48% in 2061 (from 42% in 2012). Darwin is the only capital city which is projected to decrease its share of the Northern Territory’s population, decreasing to 50% (from 56% in 2012).

The balance of the Northern Territory population is projected to increase its share of the Northern Territory population to 50% in 2061 (from 44%). Although decreasing over the projection period, the balance of Tasmania’s share of the state’s population is projected to remain larger than Hobart’s (52%).

As a result, further concentration of Australia's population within the capital cities will occur. At 30 June 2012, 66% of Australians lived in capital cities; by 2061 this proportion is projected to increase to 73%.

Sydney and Melbourne

Series C projects Sydney to remain the most populous city in Australia, with 8.0 million people in 2061, followed by Melbourne with 7.6 million. However, in Series A and B Melbourne is projected to become the most populous, exceeding Sydney’s population in 2030 and 2053, respectively. In 2061, Melbourne and Sydney are projected to reach a population of 8.6 and 8.5 million respectively (Series B).

Melbourne’s population exceeding Sydney’s in Series A and B is mainly due to larger levels of internal migration losses assumed for Sydney (which is assumed to have a net loss of 38,700 and 22,700 people per year respectively to the balance of Australia) compared to Melbourne (a net loss of 6,400 and 4,000 people per year respectively to the balance of Australia). For information on the assumed net internal migration for capital cities, see the Net Interstate Migration section of Chapter 2: Assumptions.

Other capital cities

Perth is projected to experience the highest percentage growth (187%) of Australia's capital cities, increasing from 1.9 million people at 30 June 2012 to 5.5 million in 2061 (Series B). The second highest percentage growth is projected for Brisbane, with an increase of 118%, from 2.2 million people at 30 June 2012 to 4.8 million in 2061. The population of Perth is projected to overtake that of Brisbane in around 15 years’ time, when they both reach 3 million people in 2028. Darwin's population is projected to increase from 131,900 people at 30 June 2012 to 225,900 people in 2061 (71%).

The remaining capital cities are projected to experience smaller percentage increases, with Adelaide increasing 50% (from 1.3 million to 1.9 million) and Hobart increasing 25% (from 217,000 people to 270,700 people). The Australian Capital Territory is projected to increase by 98% (from 375,100 at 30 June 2012 to 740,900 in 2061) and overtake Tasmania’s population in 2038.

Median age

At 30 June 2012 Tasmania had the oldest population of the states and territories, with a median age of 40.8 years, followed by South Australia (39.6 years). The Northern Territory (31.5 years) and the Australian Capital Territory (34.5 years) had the youngest populations.

The median ages of all states and territories are projected to increase over the period 30 June 2012 to 2061, with Tasmania and South Australia remaining the oldest populations.

MEDIAN AGE, Observed and projected
AT 30 JUNE 2011(a)
AT 30 JUNE 2012 (b)
AT 30 JUNE 2031
AT 30 JUNE 2061
Observed
Observed
Series A
Series B
Series C
Series A
Series B
Series C
New South Wales
37.6
37.8
39.4
39.9
40.6
41.9
42.6
45.0
Victoria
37.2
37.3
38.7
39.5
40.5
41.5
42.4
44.9
Queensland
36.6
36.6
37.6
38.5
39.6
39.9
41.0
43.7
South Australia
39.5
39.6
41.1
41.7
42.6
43.2
44.0
46.6
Western Australia
36.2
36.0
37.0
37.9
38.9
40.1
41.2
43.5
Tasmania
40.4
40.8
43.4
44.5
45.8
46.4
47.5
51.1
Northern Territory
31.3
31.5
33.5
34.0
34.6
34.2
35.5
37.6
ACT
34.4
34.5
36.0
36.8
37.8
38.1
39.1
41.4
Australia (c)
37.2
37.3
38.5
39.3
40.2
41.0
42.0
44.5
    (a) Final estimated resident population.
    (b) Preliminary estimated resident population, base population
    (c) Includes Other Territories

Population turning points

The populations of most states and territories are projected to continue to increase between 30 June 2012 and 2061. However, in some scenarios turning points will be reached for some states and territories at which the population will peak and then decrease.

In Series A the populations of all states and territories are projected to continue to increase between 30 June 2012 and 2061.

In Series B and C, only Tasmania reaches a turning point during the projection period. In series B, Tasmania peaks at 569,200 in 2046 and slowly decreases to 565,700 in 2061. In Series C, Tasmania peaks at 528,000 in 2027, and declines to 460,900 in 2061.

The populations of all capital cities are projected to continue to increase throughout the projection period in all series except Series C, in which the population of Hobart reaches a peak of 234,700 in 2040.

Alternative scenarios to Series A, B and C

For New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory Series A and C do not always depict the highest or lowest population outcomes. This is due to the relationship of migration flows between the states and territories, whereby if some states (primarily Queensland and Western Australia) receive large net interstate migration gains (as assumed in Series A) then others (primarily New South Wales and South Australia) must experience correspondingly large losses.

For New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, Series 3 (that is, high fertility, high life expectancy at birth, high net overseas migration but small interstate migration flows—see the table in the Which Series to Use section of Chapter 2: Assumptions) presents the highest future populations while Series 52 (low fertility, medium life expectancy at birth, low net overseas migration but large interstate migration flows) reflects the lowest. These scenarios are discussed in the following state/territory analysis under the heading 'Alternative scenarios to Series A, B, and C'.


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.