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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2014  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/08/2014  Final
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12 August 2014
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Can you imagine Australia's future population?

If birth rates were low and net overseas migration was the major growth driver for the next 20 years, Australia's population would reach 32 million in 2033. Two thirds of the population would be of working age, and there would be 55 'dependents' for every 100 'workers'.

Did you know changes in natural increase (total births minus total deaths) and net overseas migration affect the size and shape of Australia’s population? The latest Australian Social Trends (AST) article released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today shows you what would happen to Australia's population in 20 and 50 years into the future with different growth scenarios.

With migration making up 60 per cent of total population growth in 2013, this AST article looks at what happens to the size and shape of Australia if migration levels were high but numbers of births were low. Scenarios are presented where all growth drivers are low, or all drivers are high.

ABS Assistant Director of Social and Progress Reporting, Ms Guinevere Hunt, said if all the growth drivers were low, our population in 50 years time is projected to be 37 million. This is 5 million less than current medium series projections. 25 per cent of Australians would be 65 years and over, and the proportion of children under 15 would decrease to 15 per cent. We would also see 66 'dependents' for every 100 'workers'.

"The scenario with the biggest growth shows our population being 49 million in 50 years’ time”.

“In this scenario, there would be more older people and more children. The working-age population would drop to 59 per cent, and there would be 70 'dependents' for every 100 'workers'. 6 per cent of Australians would be aged 85 years and over," said Ms Hunt.

AST articles are freely available online at

Media note:
  • Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.

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