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3222.0 - Population Projections, Australia, 2012 (base) to 2101 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2013   
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PROJECTION RESULTS — AUSTRALIA

INTRODUCTION

The population projections presented in this release are not predictions or forecasts. They are an assessment of what would happen to Australia's population if the assumed levels of the components of population change-births, deaths and migration-were to occur over the next 50 to 100 years.

The projections reveal the size, structure and distribution of the future population under various assumptions on future levels of fertility, mortality and migration. These assumptions are based on long and short-term trends and future scenarios dictated by research in Australia and elsewhere.


ASSUMPTIONS FOR SERIES A, B AND C

As described in Chapter 2, three assumptions have been made about Australia's future total fertility rates (TFR), two assumptions about future mortality, three assumptions about future levels of net overseas migration (NOM) and three main assumptions about net interstate migration.

In addition, a zero net overseas migration assumption has been included to illustrate the contribution of overseas migration to Australia's future population. From these assumptions, 72 projection series have been generated. Using the preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) at June 2012 as the base population for all projections, three main series (Series A, B and C) have been selected for presentation and analysis in this chapter:

  • Series A - assumes the TFR will reach 2.0 babies per woman by 2026 and then remain constant, life expectancy at birth will continue to increase until 2061 (reaching 92.1 years for males and 93.6 years for females), NOM will reach 280,000 by 2021 and then remain constant, and large interstate migration flows.
  • Series B - assumes the TFR will decrease to 1.8 babies per woman by 2026 and then remain constant, life expectancy at birth will continue to increase each year until 2061, though at a declining rate (reaching 85.2 years for males and 88.3 years for females), NOM will remain constant at 240,000 per year throughout the projection period, and medium interstate migration flows.
  • Series C - assumes the TFR will decrease to 1.6 babies per woman by 2026 and then remain constant, life expectancy at birth will continue to increase each year until 2061, though at a declining rate (reaching 85.2 years for males and 88.3 years for females), NOM will reach 200,000 per year by 2021 and then remain constant, and small interstate migration flows.

Unless otherwise stated the following analysis uses Series A and C to depict a range of projected populations for Australia. At times, to simplify the analysis, Series B has been chosen.


AUSTRALIA

Population size

Australia's population at 30 June 2012 of 22.7 million is projected to increase to between 36.8 million and 48.3 million in 2061, and reach between 42.4 million and 70.1 million in 2101.

The three main series project continuing population growth throughout the projection period. In Series A, Australia experiences strong and consistent growth, reaching 48.3 million in 2061 and 70.1 million in 2101. In Series B, the population will reach 41.5 million in 2061 and 53.6 million in 2101. In Series C, growth is projected to be lower, with the population reaching 36.8 million in 2061 and 42.4 million in 2101.

Growth rates

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 NOM.

In the 10 years to June 2012, Australia's population increased by 1.5% per year on average. Growth rates are projected to decline over the long term in all three main series, remaining above 1.0% for the next eighteen years (Series C) to fifty-seven years (Series A).

The three main series project positive population growth throughout the projection period, although growth rates decline over time and at varying rates. In Series A, Australia's growth rate initially increases to 1.9% per year and remains above the 20 year average (1.3%) until the middle of the century. Over the second half of the century, growth rates gradually decline, reaching 1.0% in 2071 and 0.8% in 2101.

In Series B, Australia's annual growth rate decreases from 1.7% in 2012 to 1.0% in 2045, and to 0.5% in 2101.

In Series C, Australia's annual growth rate decreases at a faster rate, reaching 1.0% in 2031 and 0.2% in 2101.

Births

There were 306,000 births and 147,200 deaths in Australia during 2011-12, resulting in a natural increase of 158,800 people. The three main series present quite different scenarios for projected births.

Series A projects strong and consistent increases in the numbers of births each year, due to the relatively high total fertility rate (2.0 births per woman assumed in this scenario). In 2061, Series A projects 593,400 births, increasing to around 811,500 births per year at the end of the century.

Numbers of births are also projected to increase in Series B, although at a slower rate than Series A. Series B projects 462,300 births in 2061 and 572,400 births in 2101.

In Series C the projected number of births declines from 2020 to 2027, then increases only slightly over the remainder of the century, reaching 389,300 in 2101.

PROJECTED BIRTHS, Australia
Graph: PROJECTED BIRTHS, Australia



Deaths

The numbers of projected deaths in Series B and C remain similar until the middle of the century, as both series use the same mortality assumption. Initially deaths are projected to increase at rates of around 1.3% to 1.8% per year. Between 2022 and the early 2040s deaths are projected to increase more rapidly (up to 2.7% per year in 2032) as a result of the ageing of the population and in particular the progression of the large cohorts born during the post World War II 'baby boom', together with those former migrants born in 1947, into the older age groups. From the middle of the century onwards, the number of deaths generally increases at gradually declining rates.

From 147,200 deaths in 2011-12, Series B and C project deaths to more than double by 2061 (to 352,100 and 344,500 respectively), and reach between 545,400 and 493,400 respectively in 2101.

Series A assumes higher life expectancy at birth than Series B and C, therefore lower numbers of deaths are projected for the first 50 years of the projection period. The cessation of assumed improvements in life expectancy from 2062 onwards results in a rapid increase in deaths in Series A, compounded by the larger population size due to the combination of high fertility, low mortality and high net overseas migration assumptions used. Series A projects 286,000 deaths in 2061, increasing to 559,800 in 2101, the highest of all three main series.

PROJECTED DEATHS, Australia
Graph: PROJECTED DEATHS, Australia



Natural increase

While the number of deaths in Australia are projected to increase in all three main series, the number of births are projected to vary widely. As a result, projected natural increase (births minus deaths) differs significantly for each of the three main series.

Natural increase in Series A is projected to initially increase, and then to remain at or above 200,000 from 2020 until 2101.

Series B projects a gradual decline in natural increase over the projection period, reaching 110,200 in 2061 and declining to 27,000 by the end of the century.

In Series C natural increase declines at a faster rate, reaching a state of natural decrease (where deaths outnumber births) from 2063 onwards. By 2101 Series C projects natural decrease of 104,100 per year. Despite this, Australia's population is projected to continue to increase, as the assumed level of net overseas migration in Series C (200,000 people per year) outweighs losses in population due to natural decrease.

PROJECTED NATURAL INCREASE, Australia
Graph: PROJECTED NATURAL INCREASE, Australia



Effect of net overseas migration

In 2011-12 net overseas migration contributed 223,100 people to Australia's population. While changes in fertility have the biggest effect on the youngest ages of the population, and changes in mortality are felt predominantly in older age groups, NOM affects the population of all ages. Although the age structure of migrants at arrival in Australia is younger than the Australian population as a whole, migrants will age along with the rest of the population in the years following their arrival. Over time, changes in NOM therefore affect the size of the population more than the age distribution.

Net overseas migration contributes to population growth through both the levels of migration itself, and by children born to migrants to Australia. The effect of NOM can be determined by comparing the projected population of each of the three main series with the projected population resulting from an assumed NOM level of zero. In Series A, NOM contributes a total of 21.1 million people to Australia's population between 30 June 2012 and 2061, and 43.6 million people between 30 June 2012 and 2101. In Series B, NOM contributes fewer people to the population (17.3 million by 2061, and 33.0 million by 2101), while in Series C, NOM contributes the fewest people (14.1 million by 2061, and 25.3 million by 2101).

Contribution of NOM to the Projected Population, Australia
Graph: Contribution of NOM to the Projected Population, Australia



Population ageing

Of the changes projected to occur in Australia's population, ageing is generally considered to be the most dramatic, with significant changes to the age structure of the population, particularly over the next fifty 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.

Changes in Australia's age structure are reflected in the median age, which is projected to increase from 37.3 years in 30 June 2012 to between 38.6 years and 40.5 years in 2031, and between 41.0 years and 44.5 years in 2061. Over the second half of the century, the median age is projected to continue to increase, but at slower rates, to between 43.1 years and 46.2 years in 2101.

PROJECTED POPULATION, Median age - Australia
Graph: PROJECTED POPULATION, Median age—Australia


The proportion of the population aged under 15 years is projected to decrease from 19% of the population (4.3 million) at 30 June 2012 to between 15% and 18% (5.5 million and 8.7 million) in 2061, and to further decline to between 14% and 17% in 2101 (6.0 million and 12.0 million).

Diagram: Population ageing


Population aged 5-14 years

Changes in the number of children aged 5-14 years, an age group closely aligned to compulsory ages for schooling, has implications for the provision of primary and secondary education.

Series A projects strong increases in the number of children in this age group, from 2.8 million at 30 June 2012 to 5.8 million in 2061 and 8.0 million at the end of the century. The number of children aged 5-14 are also projected to increase in Series B, although at a slower rate than Series A. Series B projects 4.7 million children aged 5-14 in 2061 and 5.8 million in 2101. In Series C the number of children aged 5-14 increases only slowly throughout the century, reaching 4.1 million in 2101.

PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 5-14 YEARS, Australia
Graph: PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 5–14 YEARS, Australia


While the number of children aged 5-14 are projected to increase in all three main series, their proportion will decline from 12% at 30 June 2012 to between 10% and 12% by 2061. Between 2061 and 2101 little change in this proportion is projected.

Population aged 15-64 years

The population aged 15-64 years, which encompasses what many Australians still consider to be 'the working-age population', was 15.2 million people at 30 June 2012, making up 67% of Australia's population. The three main series project this group to continue to increase throughout the projection period. Series A projects strong growth in the number of people aged 15-64 years, reaching 28.4 million in 2061 and 39.9 million in 2101. The number of people aged 15-64 is projected to increase in Series B, although at a slower rate than Series A. Series B projects 25.2 million people aged 15-64 in 2061 and 31.8 million in 2101. In Series C the projected number of people aged 15-64 reaches 22.2 million in 2061 and then increases slightly to 24.9 million in 2101.

Despite different outcomes in terms of population size, the proportion of the total population of 15-64 year olds will be similar for all three main series throughout the projection period. This proportion declines from 67% at 30 June 2012 to between 59%-61% in 2061 and 57%-59% in 2101.

PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 15-64 YEARS, Australia
Graph: PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 15–64 YEARS, Australia


Within the 15-64 years age group ageing will occur in all three series. From 27% of people aged 15-64 at 30 June 2012, people aged 50-64 years are projected to increase to between 27% and 30% in 2061. From 2061 the proportion remains relatively stable.

Within the 15-64 age group, the proportion of people aged 15-29 years is projected to decline slightly in all three series, from 31% at 30 June 2012 to between 28% and 30% by 2061, and to remain at these levels until 2101. The proportion of people aged 30-49 years declines slightly over the century, reaching 42% in 2101.

Population aged 65 years and over

The population aged 65 years and over will increase rapidly throughout the first half of the projection period, in terms of both numbers and proportions of the total population, under all 3 series. This age group is projected to increase from 3.2 million at 30 June 2012 to between 5.7 million and 5.8 million in 2031, and to between 9.0 million and 11.1 million in 2061. By 2101 this age group is projected to reach between 11.5 million and 18.1 million.

As a proportion of the population, the population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase from 14% at 30 June 2012 to between 18.3% (Series A) and 19.4% (Series C) in 2031, 22.4% (Series B) and 24.5% (Series C) in 2061, and 24.6% (Series B) and 27.1% (Series C) in 2101. As can be seen from this, Series A does not necessarily reflect the highest value for all measures.

Among other considerations such as health and housing services, growth in this age group has particular implications for retirement income planning (Department of Treasury, 2010).

PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER, Australia
Graph: PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER, Australia


The annual growth rate for people aged 65 years and over was 4.2% in 2012, when the large cohort born in 1947, part of the post World War II 'baby boom', together with earlier migrants born in 1947, reach 65 years. Growth rates remain strong in Series A due to higher assumed life expectancy at birth, declining to 1.0% in 2093 and 0.9% by the end of the projection period. In Series B and C, growth rates decrease more quickly, reaching 1.0% in the early 2060s and declining to 0.6% and 0.2% respectively by 2101.

Population aged 85 years and over

The projected number of people aged 85 years and over has implications for the provision of health services and appropriate housing (Department of Treasury, 2010), given that non-private dwellings are currently the most common form of housing for people in this age group.

At 30 June 2012 there were 420,300 people aged 85 years and over in Australia. This age group is projected to increase rapidly throughout the projection period. In Series A, which uses the high life expectancy at birth assumption, the population is projected to more than double within 20 years (to 842,500 people in 2031), to double again by 2045 (1.7 million), and to double once more by 2069 (3.5 million). Over the second half of the century the number of people aged 85 and over will continue to grow strongly, reaching 5.5 million people by 2101.

Series B and C (which both use the medium life expectancy at birth assumption) also project high growth, though considerably less than Series A from around 2033 onwards. By 2061 the population aged 85 years and over is projected to be 1.9 million in both series, and between 2.8 and 3.0 million in 2101.

People aged 85 years and over made up 1.8% of Australia's population at 30 June 2012. This age group is projected to account for around 4.5% (Series B) to 6% (Series A) of the population in 2061, and 5.6% (Series B) to 7.8% (Series A) in 2101.

PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 85 YEARS AND OVER, Australia
Graph: PROJECTED POPULATION AGED 85 YEARS AND OVER, Australia


The population aged 85 years and over is projected to experience the highest growth rates of all age groups. Growth for this group will peak at between 7% and 8% in 2032. This peak is due to the large cohort of people born in 1947 reaching 85 years around this time.

A noticeable change within this age group is the increasing proportion of men due to the narrowing of the gap between male and female life expectancy. At 30 June 2012 men accounted for 35% of all people aged 85 years and over. This proportion is projected to increase to 42% in 2031, 43%-46% in 2061, and 44%-48% in 2101.


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