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3222.0 - Population Projections, Australia, 2002 to 2101  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/09/2003   
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MEDIA RELEASE

September 2, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
2003
Proportion in Working Ages Set to Decline

Australia's population aged 15–64 years, which encompasses much of the working-age population, is projected to decline as a proportion of the total population, according to the latest population projections released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Although the number of Australians aged 15–64 years will increase over the next 50 years - from 13.2 million in 2002 to between 13.4 million and 17.7 million in 2051 - the proportion of the total population aged 15–64 years will decline from 67% in 2002 to between 57% and 59% in 2051.

Australia's population will continue to age. 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 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.

The ageing population is the inevitable result of sustained low fertility combined with increasing life expectancy at birth. 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.

Depending on future levels of fertility, mortality and migration, Australia's total population is projected to increase from 19.7 million in 2002 to between 23 million and 31 million by 2051, and between 19 million and 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.

State and territory populations
All states and territories, except Tasmania and South Australia, will increase in population by 2051 (medium Series B). Queensland will increase by 73%, the Northern Territory by 55% and Western Australia by 49%.

New South Wales will remain the most populous state in Australia, while Victoria will be replaced by Queensland as the second most populous state. Western Australia will increase its share of Australia's population, while South Australia's and Tasmania's shares will decline. South Australia's population will peak in 2027 and Tasmania's in 2012 (medium Series B).

All capital cities will experience a larger percentage growth than the respective balances (medium Series B), resulting in further concentration of Australia's population in the capital cities. Sydney and Melbourne will remain the two most populous cities in Australia. Darwin will exceed Hobart in population from 2045.


POPULATION SIZE: Observed and projected ('000)

As At 30 June 2002
As At 30 June 2051
Capital city/state or territoryObservedSeries ASeries BSeries C

Sydney
4,171
6,588
5,653
4,914
Total New South Wales
6,640
9,593
8,356
7,484
Melbourne
3,524
5,562
4,793
4,369
Total Victoria
4,873
6,972
6,200
5,845
Brisbane
1,689
3,777
3,019
2,483
Total Queensland
3,707
8,094
6,430
5,173
Adelaide
1,114
1,242
1,135
1,098
Total South Australia
1,520
1,616
1,476
1,432
Perth
1,414
2,752
2,235
1,809
Total Western Australia
1,927
3,574
2,875
2,259
Hobart
198
240
176
148
Total Tasmania
473
552
387
308
Darwin
107
257
199
122
Total Northern Territory
198
454
307
184
Total Australian Capital Territory
322
538
390
297
Total capital cities(a)
12,539
20,955
17,598
15,239
Total Australia(b)
19,663
31,396
26,422
22,984

(a) Includes the Australian Capital Territory.
(b) Includes Other Territories.


Further details are in Population Projections, Australia, 2002-2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).

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