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Newsletters - Demography News - September 2003


The preliminary estimated resident population of Australia at March 2003 was 19,875,000 persons. The population increased by 0.4% in the March quarter 2003 and 1.3% in the 12 months ended March 2003. With the exception of the Northern Territory all states and the Australian Capital Territory recorded positive growth in the March quarter 2003. Queensland and Western Australia recorded the highest growth (each 0.6%) followed by Victoria (0.5%), Tasmania (0.4%) and New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (each 0.3%). The Northern Territory loss (-0.1%) was mainly due to an increase in interstate migration losses (-1,200).

Similarly, for the year ended March 2003 the Northern Territory was the only state or territory to record negative growth (-0.2%). The highest positive growth was recorded by Queensland (2.4%) and lowest by South Australia (0.6%).

The March quarter 2003 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) was released on 18 September 2003.

For more information please contact Anne Ward on (02) 6252 6296 or


From March 2003 the layout and content of the quarterly ABS publication
Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) has been modified to accompany processing and publication changes. Additional inclusions are quarterly rates of population change, projections of the Australian population and estimates of the resident population in households. Exclusions are estimated resident populations by marital status and country of birth, marriage and divorce numbers and rates, permanent arrivals and departures by country of birth and detailed interstate migration data. For additional information on availability of iscontinued data see the NOTES page of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0), March quarter 2003 or email

While no changes have been made to AusStats time series spreadsheets associated with Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) the spreadsheet names have been modified to reflect the table structure of the publication.

For more information please contact Anne Ward on (02) 6252 6296 or


ABS recommends that caution should be exercised when using the net overseas migration data from September quarter 1997 onwards.

Net overseas migration is the difference between the number of permanent and long-term arrivals and permanent and long-term departures plus an adjustment for category jumping, which reflects changes in travel intentions. In recent years there have been substantial changes in the patterns of passenger travel into and out of Australia, and this, combined with changes to passenger card design in July 1998, caused the ABS to become concerned about the quality of the adjustment used for category jumping. In March 2003, category jumping was set to zero from September quarter 1997 onwards, being 12 months before the introduction of a new passenger card design (see Demography Working Paper 2003/1 - Estimated Resident Population and the Measurement of Category Jumping).

The ABS is developing a new model for estimating category jumping - a statistical adjustment for changes between travellers intended and actual duration of stay. The ABS is intending to release revised estimates of net overseas migration in the June quarter 2003 edition of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) to be released on 11 December 2003. This is expected to result in a downward revision in the levels of net overseas migration as reported in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) from September quarter 2001 onwards.

For more information, please see the Main Features of Australian Demographic Statistics, March Quarter 2003 (cat. no. 3101.0) or contact Phil Browning on (02) 6252 7612 or


ABS has released the 2002-2101 population projections for Australia and the 2002-2051 population projections for the states and territories, capital city and balance of state. These projections were released in Population Projections, Australia, 2002-2101 (cat. no. 3222.0) and in Australia and capital city/balance of state data cubes available in AusStats and ABS@.

The cohort-component method was used for these projections, which requires various assumptions to be made on future levels of fertility, mortality, overseas migration and interstate migration. This method begins with a base population for each sex by single years of age and advances it year by year by applying these assumptions. These assumptions are formulated on the basis of past demographic trends, both in Australia and overseas and in consultation with Commonwealth, State and Territory government representatives and demographic experts.

The projections show that Australia's total population will increase from 19.7 million in 2002 to between 23 million and 31 million by 2051, and to either decrease to 19 million or increase to 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.

According to the projections, Australia's population will continue to age. 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. 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 15–64 years, which encompasses much of the working-age population, is projected to decline as a proportion of the total population, from 67% in 2002 to between 57% and 59% in 2051. While 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.

For more information please contact Katrina Phelan on (02) 6252 6573 or


Preliminary state and territory estimated resident population by age and sex for 30 June 2002 were released on the 14 August 2003. The main features and Data Cube for Population by Age and Sex, States and Territories - Electronic release (cat. no 3235.1-8.55.001), can be accessed through AusStats and ABS@. Each data cube contains estimates of the population classified by sex and grouped ages to Statistical Local Area level (based on Australian Standard Geographical Classification, 2002 Edition, cat. no. 1216.0).

The median age of the Australian population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) at June 2002 was 35.9 years. South Australia had the oldest population of all the states and territories (median age of 37.9 years) at June 2002, followed by Tasmania (37.7 years), New South Wales (36.1 years), Victoria (36.0 years), Queensland (35.3 years), Western Australia (35.2 years) and the Australian Capital Territory (33.5 years). The Northern Territory had the youngest population in Australia (28.9 years).

For more information please contact Jacqui Cristiano on (02) 6252 5117 or


The annual update of the Australian Historical Population Statistics was released on the 29 September 2003. Where possible the latest figures have been added, and the data revised based on the 2001 census results. The electronic product includes 105 spreadsheets which contains a wide range of time-series demographic data going back where possible to the beginnings of European settlement (1788) of Australia. Statistics are included on population size and growth, population distribution, population age-sex structure, births, deaths, migration, marriages and divorces. The electronic spreadsheets can be accessed through AusStats under Data Cubes.

Two new spreadsheets have been created with this update. Both new tables (table 16 and 86) are 2001 census based. They contain figures on the Indigenous population and the population by country of birth respectively. Due to the inclusion of these new spreadsheets, table numbers have changed since the last update.

For more information please contact Chrissy Beruldsen on (02) 6252 6522 or


From June 2003, the table structure in the monthly ABS publication Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) has been modified to accompany processing and publication changes. In particular, the publication tables have been re-ordered and renamed to be more meaningful to readers. The time periods shown in some tables have also been re-formatted. Progressive monthly aggregations of original estimates within calendar and financial years to the current month have been discontinued. This is because it was found that analysis and interpretation of trends over time using these aggregations may lead to statistically biased conclusions. Accordingly, tables now contain yearly totals for the last two calendar and financial years, the most recently completed quarter and the same quarter last year, and the most recent two months and the same months last year.

Changes have also been made to Overseas Arrivals and Departures AusStats time series spreadsheets. AusStats time series spreadsheets that accompany Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) have been re-formatted to reflect the table structure of the publication. AusStats time series spreadsheets that contain preliminary data have been re-categorised to accompany the electronic publication, Short-term Visitor Arrivals to Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 3401.0.55.001).

For more information please contact Olivia Agius on (02) 6252 5640 or


The final issue of the monthly electronic release, Short-term Visitor Arrivals to Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 3401.0.55.001), will be November 2003 (scheduled for release on 12 December 2003).

The electronic release of preliminary short-term visitor arrival data was introduced in June 2003 as a means of separating preliminary and final data, with the view to ceasing preliminary data. New processing and publication changes to the monthly publication, Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0) have enabled more timely release of final data, making the need for preliminary data redundant.

The ABS decided to continue the release of preliminary estimates of short-term visitor arrivals as an electronic product until the end of the year to enable clients and stakeholders sufficient time to adapt their data requirements to final data.


Due an increase in demand for electronically available information, the dissemination strategy for the Demography, states and territories (cat. no. 3311.x) publication series is under review. The proposed new format, currently in the initial design process, may take the form of an electronic product available through the ABS web site. This product is likely to contain a state and territory specific Main Features document and a small series of tables containing key demographic indicators at the SLA or LGA level. A set of spreadsheets prepared at the national level, but with state and territory specific data may also accompany the release and could be purchased via the ABS web site or through AusStats. The changes resulting from the review will be made effective for the upcoming release of these publications.

For more information please contact Rachael Hill on (02) 6252 7546 or


'Understanding Demographic Data,' the popular one-day seminar offered by ABS Demography, will be held in Sydney in November 2003 and in Canberra early in 2004.

The seminar provides an understanding of the demographic data framework and the processes which shape the population, and includes practical exercises in the analysis of demographic data. Key issues covered include:

        • Relationship of Census counts to Estimated Resident Population
        • Components of population growth: births; deaths; internal and overseas migration
        • How the ABS produces population estimates and projections, including for Indigenous people and small areas
        • The relevance of demographic data to society and the economy
        • Tools for demographic analysis, with practical exercises
        • Population dynamics such as population momentum, ageing and migration effects on the population profile.

Course notes and a copy of
Australian Demographic Statistics are provided. The cost per participant is $342*, which includes a light lunch.

For more information please contact Ian Appleby on (02) 6252 6141 or

* For courses in 2003. The price will increase to $350 at the start of 2004.


Mark your diaries - 15-17 September 2004, Canberra, APA Conference

ABS is pleased to support the 2004 Australian Population Association Conference (APA) as Principal Sponsor. The conference "Population and Society: Issues, Research and Policy" is being held in Canberra on 15-17 September 2004. Mark your diaries now and see for further information. Expression of interest and call for papers details will be available in December 2003.


The ABS Demography section produces estimates of population by age, sex, country of birth, Indigenous status, registered marital status, geographical distribution and estimates of families and households. Projections of the population, families and households, according to specified demographic assumptions, are published on a regular basis and produced on request. Statistics are also regularly produced on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, overseas arrivals and departures and internal migration. The Demography area also produces estimation benchmarks for population surveys conducted by the ABS. In addition to reporting on statistics, courses are conducted and an email newsletter is sent to national and international government and commonwealth agencies and other major clients, including the media and non-profit organisations.


If you are seeking demography or any other ABS data, you can:

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If you wish to discuss statistical issues, contacts are as outlined below. (02) 6252 6573 (02) 6252 5117
Migration - international and (02) 6252 6522
Overseas Arrivals and (02) 6252 5640
Marriages and divorces - (02) 6252 7030
Marriages and divorces - (02) 6252 6296
Households and (02) 6252 6487
Indigenous - (02) 6252 6663
Indigenous - (02) 6252 5129
Population (02) 6252 6573
Population - general and (02) 6252 6557

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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