3222.0 - Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/09/2008   
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September 4, 2008
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)

One in four Australians aged 65 years and over by 2056: ABS

Australia's population is set to change substantially over the next 50 years, with around one in four Australians being 65 years or older by 2056, according to the latest population projections released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). These projections are based on a series of assumptions that take into account recent trends in fertility, mortality and migration.

By 2056 Australia's population is projected to increase to between 31 and 43 million people, with around 23% to 25% being 65 years or older. In 2007 Australia's population was 21 million people, with 13% being 65 years or older. The ageing of Australia's population is the result of sustained low fertility, combined with increasing life expectancy.

The number of people aged 85 years or over is likely to increase rapidly over the next 50 years, from 344,000 people in 2007 to between 1.7 million and 3.1 million people in 2056. By then, people aged 85 years or over will make up 5% to 7% of Australia's population, compared to only 1.6% in 2007.

State/territory populations - Series B projections

The populations of all states and territories, except Tasmania, are projected to continuously increase to 2056. Using the Series B assumptions Tasmania's population will increase slowly before levelling out by around 2040 and then decreasing slightly from 2051 on.

Queensland's population is projected to more than double in size, from 4.2 million people in 2007 to 8.7 million people in 2056. As a result, Queensland would replace Victoria as Australia's second most populous state in 2050. Western Australia's population is also projected to more than double over the same period, from 2.1 million people to 4.3 million people. The Northern Territory is projected to increase by 87%, from 215,000 in 2007 to 402,000 in 2056.

The remaining states and territories are projected to increase by smaller proportions between 2007 and 2056: Victoria (64%), New South Wales (48%), the Australian Capital Territory (50%) and South Australia (39%).

Further information is available in Population Projections, Australia, 2006–2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).

Media note:

Population projections are not intended as forecasts or predictions, but are illustrations of growth and change in the population that would occur if assumptions made about future demographic trends were to prevail over the projection period.