3222.0 - Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/11/2018   
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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 between 2018 and 2066.

The projections reveal the size, structure and distribution of the future population under various assumptions of 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.

For simplicity, most analysis is limited to three selected series which cover three sets of possible future population growth outcomes: higher (series A), medium (series B) and lower (series C). However, there are a total of 72 series available for use.

Selected projection series

Life expectancy at birth(a)
Total fertility rate(b)
Net overseas migration(b)
Net interstate migration(b)
babies per woman

Series A
15 680
–7 000
1 866
2 087
2 437
Series B
12 830
–4 500
1 853
2 016
2 214
Series C
9 980
–2 500
1 838
1 952
2 040

(a) From 2066
(b) From 2027


Population size

South Australia's population of 1.7 million people is projected to increase by between 0.1% and 0.9% per year, reaching a population of between 1.8 million and 2.7 million in 2066. This growth rate is lower than that projected for all states other than Tasmania.

The three selected series project continuing population growth throughout the projection period. In 2027, South Australia is projected to reach between 1.8 million and 1.9 million people. In series A, South Australia experiences steady growth, reaching 2.4 million in 2066. In series B, the population will reach 2.2 million in 2066 and in series C, growth is projected to slow over the period, with the population reaching 2.0 million in 2066.

The combination of assumptions in series 3 results in the largest population for South Australia in 2027 (1.89 million people). The difference to series A is the assumption of smaller interstate migration flows, which results in a smaller loss of 2,500 people per year for South Australia. Conversely, series 52, which compared to series C has larger interstate migration flows, resulting in a net loss of 7,000 people per year, projects the smallest population by 2027 (1.81 million people). In series 52, South Australia’s population is projected to reach a high point of 1.85 million in 2042, before entering population decline.

Graph Image for Projected population, South Australia

Source(s): Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066

South Australia's growth is projected to be driven by growth in Greater Adelaide. At 30 June 2017, Greater Adelaide had 77% of South Australia's population. This proportion could reach approximately 80% by 2042.

The population for Greater Adelaide is projected to increase from 1.3 million at 30 June 2017 to between 1.4 million (series 52) and 1.5 million (series 3) in 2027. Series A, B and C project positive population growth over the whole projection period, with series A increasing to 2.1 million, series B increasing to 1.8 million and series C increasing to 1.7 million in 2066.

The rest of South Australia is projected to have very low growth up to 2027. The highest projected population for 2027 was an increase from 389,500 in 2017 to 406,900 (series 3). The lowest projected population was almost flat growth to 389,900 (series 52). Series A, B and C project overall population decline over the whole projection period, with series A decreasing to 368,300, series B decreasing to 365,700 and series C decreasing to 367,400 in 2066. This is due to an ageing population leading to increasing numbers of deaths, despite assumed increases in life expectancy.

Graph Image for Projected population, Greater Adelaide

Source(s): Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066

Graph Image for Projected population, Rest of South Australia

Source(s): Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066

Natural increase

In 2016–17, there were 19,400 births and 13,800 deaths in South Australia, resulting in natural increase of 5,700 people.

Natural decrease is projected to occur from 2035 in series C, and from 2047 in series B. Natural increase is projected for the whole period in series A.

Series A projects a natural increase of 7,300 in 2066, which is mainly due to higher assumed fertility rates compared to other series. A higher assumed level of net overseas migration also contributes to more births and greater natural increase, as these migrant are younger, while a higher assumed life expectancy has a minor effect.

In series B, deaths increase at a greater rate than births up until 2053, after which natural increase remains steady around zero.

In series C, the number of births decline due to the low fertility rate and low levels of total migration, while the deaths increase at a rate similar to series B.

Below the state level, most natural decrease occurs outside Greater Adelaide. In series B, natural increase is projected for Greater Adelaide over the whole period, while natural decrease is projected for the rest of South Australia from 2026 onwards.

Graph Image for Projected natural increase, South Australia

Source(s): Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066

Net overseas migration

In 2016–17, there were 23,800 overseas arrivals and 11,800 overseas departures in South Australia, resulting in net overseas migration (NOM) of 12,000 people.

Series A assumes NOM will increase to 15,700 people per year. Series B assumes NOM will remain at recent levels (12,800 people per year), and series C assumes a decline to 10,000 people per year.

Greater Adelaide is assumed to receive 92% of the state’s NOM.

Net interstate migration

In 2016–17, there were 22,000 interstate arrivals and 28,800 interstate departures in South Australia, resulting in a net interstate migration loss of 6,800 people.

In all series, the number of interstate departures will exceed interstate arrivals in South Australia, resulting in a net interstate migration loss.

In series A, the higher assumption of large interstate flows results in the largest NIM loss, of 7,000 people per year from 2027 onwards. In series B, NIM loss is projected to decrease to 4,500 people per year from 2027. The assumption of lower interstate flows in series C results in the lowest NIM loss of 2,500 per year from 2027, providing the highest population for South Australia.


Median age

The median age of the population of South Australia is projected to increase from 40.0 years in 2017 to 41.6 (series A), 42.7 (series B), or 45.2 (series C) in 2066. In each case, South Australia’s median age remains the second highest of all states, behind Tasmania.

Series C projects the largest increase in the median age by 2066, with the median age of males increasing by 5.0 years to 43.9 years and the median age of females increasing by 5.3 years to 46.4 years. Series B projects the median age increasing to 41.4 years for males and 43.9 years for females. Series A projects the lowest median age, with males increasing to 40.5 years and females increasing to 42.6 years.

Age structure

The graph below presents the age structure for South Australia for series A, B and C, compared to the 2017 age structure.

The proportion of people aged 65 and over increases from 18% in 2017 to between 24% (series B) and 26% (series C) in 2066. Series A projects the largest number of people in this age group, but these make up a smaller percentage of the population due to corresponding larger numbers of children.

Over the same period, the number of children (persons aged 0–14) is projected to decrease from 18% to between 15% (series C) and 17% (series A), while the working age population (persons aged 15–65) is projected to decrease from 64% to between 59% (series A) and 60% (series B).

The population age 85 and over made up 2.6% of South Australia’s population in 2017. This is projected to increase to between 4.6% (series B) and 5.6% (series A).

Graph Image for Population proportion(a), South Australia

Footnote(s): (a) The 85 years and over population has not been included in the graph but was used to calculate the proportion for all ages.

Source(s): Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066