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POPULATION SIZE AND GROWTH
Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) at 30 June 2007 of 21.0 million people is projected to increase to between 30.9 and 42.5 million people by 2056, and to between 33.7 and 62.2 million people by 2101. Series A projects the highest growth, while Series C projects the lowest growth.
In the 10 years to 30 June 2007, Australia's population increased by 1.3% per year on average, with just over half of this growth resulting from natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) and just under half from net overseas migration (NOM). In the last 2 years, Australia's population has grown by 1.5% per year, with NOM contributing more to population growth than natural increase in the year ended 30 June 2007. In 2006-07, there were 274,300 births and 134,800 deaths in Australia, resulting in natural increase of 139,500 people, while NOM contributed 177,600 people to Australia's population.
In Series C, a state of natural decrease, in which deaths outnumber births, is reached in 2048. However, net overseas migration more than compensates for losses due to natural decrease and Australia's population continues to increase, albeit slowly, throughout the projection period. A state of natural decrease is also reached in Series B, but only in the last year of the projection (2101).
In contrast to the 2004-based set of ABS population projections released in November 2005, no series shows population decline for Australia before the end of the century.
The ageing of Australia's population, already evident in the current age structure, is expected to continue. This is the result of sustained low levels of fertility combined with increasing life expectancy at birth. The median age of Australia's population (36.8 years at 30 June 2007) is projected to increase to between 38.7 years and 40.7 years in 2026 (Series A and C respectively) and to between 41.9 years and 45.2 years in 2056 (Series A and C).
The age composition of Australia's population is projected to change considerably as a result of population ageing. By 2056 there will be a greater proportion of people aged 65 years and over than at 30 June 2007, and a lower proportion of people aged under 15 years. In 2007 people aged 65 years and over made up 13% of Australia's population. This proportion is projected to increase to between 23% and 25% in 2056 (Series B and C respectively) and to between 25% and 28% in 2101 (Series B and C). The proportion of people aged under 15 years is projected to decrease from 19% in 2007 to between 15% and 18% in 2056 (Series C and A respectively) and to between 14% and 17% in 2101 (Series C and A).
There were 344,100 people aged 85 years and over in Australia at 30 June 2007, making up 1.6% of the population. This group is projected to grow rapidly throughout the projection period, to between 4.9% and 7.3% by 2056 (Series B and A respectively), and to between 5.8% and 9.3% by 2101 (Series B and A).
STATES AND TERRITORIES
For the states and territories, further assumptions as to net population gains/losses due to overseas and interstate migration are required. See pages 29 and 33 for more information.
Assuming the medium level assumptions, Series B projects continuing population growth for all states and territories except Tasmania between 30 June 2007 and 2056.
By 2056 the population of New South Wales is projected to reach 10.2 million people, an increase of 3.3 million people (or 48%) since 30 June 2007, while Victoria is projected to reach 8.5 million people, an increase of 3.3 million people (or 64%).
Queensland is projected to experience the largest percentage increase in population between 30 June 2007 and 2056, more than doubling the 2007 population of 4.2 million to 8.7 million people by 2056. As a result Queensland is projected to replace Victoria as Australia's second most populous state in 2050.
Western Australia is also projected to more than double over the projection period, reaching 4.3 million people in 2056.
The Northern Territory's population is projected to increase by 186,600 people between 30 June 2007 and 2056, to 401,600 people. Although a smaller absolute increase than those projected for the larger states, this is a significant increase (87%) relative to the Northern Territory's population of 214,900 people in 2007.
The population of the Australian Capital Territory is projected to increase by 169,500 people (50%) between 30 June 2007 and 2056, reaching 509,300 people. South Australia is projected to increase by 620,300 people (39%) to 2.2 million people in 2056.
Tasmania's population is projected to increase slowly before levelling out by around 2040 and then decreasing marginally from 2051 onwards (571,000 people in 2056).
Series A and C
Compared to Series B, Series A assumes higher levels of components of population change (fertility, life expectancy, and migration) while Series C assumes lower levels. As a result, Series A results in larger projected populations by 2056 and Series C results in lower populations.
In Series B, all capital cities are projected to experience higher percentage growth than their respective state or territory balances, resulting in further concentration of Australia's population within the capital cities. At 30 June 2007, 64% of Australians lived in a capital city. By 2056 this proportion is projected to increase to 67%.
Sydney and Melbourne
Series B projects Sydney to remain the most populous city in Australia, with 7.0 million people in 2056, closely followed by Melbourne with 6.8 million people. Sydney's population also continues to exceed that of Melbourne in Series C.
However, in Series A, Melbourne's population exceeds Sydney's in 2039. This is mainly due to the larger levels of internal migration losses assumed for Sydney (a net -48,000 people per year) compared to Melbourne (a net -15,000 people per year) in this series.
Other capital cities
In Series B, Perth is projected to experience the highest percentage growth (116%) of Australia's capital cities, increasing from 1.6 million people at 30 June 2007 to 3.4 million in 2056. The second highest percentage growth (114%) is projected for Brisbane, increasing from 1.9 million people to 4.0 million people. Darwin is also projected to double in size over the projection period, from 117,400 people in 2007 to 243,000 in 2056.
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