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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Population >> Population projections


Population projections

The ABS has published projections of the population of Australia to the year 2101 and of the states, territories, capital cities and balances of state to the year 2051, based on assumptions about future levels of fertility, mortality and overseas and interstate migration. Three main projections (Series A, B and C) have been published using different combinations of assumptions. The current set of population projections are based on preliminary population estimates for 30 June 2007.

Assumptions used for the three series of projections were:

Series A

  • a total fertility rate of 2.0 babies per woman from 2021 onwards,
  • life expectancy at birth increasing to 93.9 years for males and 96.1 years for females by 2056 and remaining constant thereafter,
  • net overseas migration of 220,000 people per year from 2011 onwards,
  • high levels of interstate migration.

Series B
  • a total fertility rate of 1.8 babies per woman from 2021 onwards,
  • life expectancy at birth increasing to 85.0 years for males and 88.0 years for females by 2056 and remaining constant thereafter,
  • net overseas migration of 180,000 per year from 2008 onwards,
  • medium levels of interstate migration.

Series C
  • a total fertility rate of 1.6 babies per woman from 2021 onwards,
  • life expectancy at birth increasing to 85.0 years for males and 88.0 years for females by 2056 and remaining constant thereafter,
  • net overseas migration of 140,000 per year from 2008 onwards,
  • low levels of interstate migration.

Unless otherwise stated the following analysis uses Series A and C to depict a range, although not the full range, of projected populations. At times, to simplify the analysis, only the medium series (i.e. Series B) has been used.
Australia's population in June 2007 of 21.0 million people is projected to increase to between 30.9 and 42.5 million in 2056, and reach between 33.7 and 62.2 million by 2101.

All three series project continuing population growth throughout the projection period. In Series A, the population is projected to reach 42.5 million in 2056 and 62.2 million in 2101. In Series B, the population will reach 35.5 million in 2056 and 44.7 million in 2101. In Series C, the projected population is 30.9 million for 2056, and 33.7 million for 2101 (graph 7.10).

7.10 Projected population, At 30 June
Graph: 7.10 Projected population, At 30 June


The growth rate of Australia's population reflects the interaction of the components of population change - natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) and net overseas migration (NOM).

In the 10 years to June 2007, Australia's population increased by 1.3% per year on average, with just over half of this growth resulting from natural increase and just under half from 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 June 2007. In 2006-07, there were 274,300 births and 134,800 deaths in Australia, resulting in a 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, NOM 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.

Series B projects continuing population growth over the next 50 years in all states and territories except Tasmania, where the population increases slowly before levelling out by around 2040 and then decreasing marginally from 2051 onwards. Between June 2007 and 2056, the populations of both Queensland and Western Australia are projected to more than double (with increases of 109% and 104% respectively) while the Northern Territory is projected to increase by 87%. In comparison, the projected growth for Australia for the same period is 69%.
In Series B, New South Wales is projected to remain the most populous state in Australia, although its share of Australia's population will decline from 33% in June 2007 to 29% in June 2056. Queensland is projected to replace Victoria in 2050 as the second most populous state, with Queensland's share of Australia's population increasing from 20% to 25% over the next 50 years, and Victoria's share decreasing marginally, from 25% to 24%. Western Australia is projected to increase its share of Australia's population from 10% in June 2007 to 12% in June 2056, while South Australia's share will decline from 7.5% to 6.2% over the same period. Similarly, Tasmania's share is projected to decline from 2.3% in June 2007 to 1.6% in June 2056. The Northern Territory's share will remain at a similar level, increasing from 1.0% to 1.1%. Likewise the Australian Capital Territory's share will change only marginally, decreasing from 1.6% to 1.4%.

7.11 ACTUAL AND PROJECTED POPULATION-30 June

2007(a)
2026
2056


Actual
Series A
Series B
Series C
Series A
Series B
Series C

Capital city/balance of state
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
Sydney
4 334.0
5 487.2
5 426.3
5 358.2
7 649.0
6 976.8
6 565.2
Balance of New South Wales
2 554.0
3 189.9
2 968.8
2 780.2
4 140.1
3 233.4
2 646.1
New South Wales
6 888.0
8 677.0
8 395.1
8 138.5
11 789.1
10 210.2
9 211.3
Melbourne
3 805.8
5 272.3
5 038.1
4 861.7
7 970.7
6 789.2
6 100.9
Balance of Victoria
1 399.1
1 626.1
1 624.1
1 636.3
1 879.6
1 749.1
1 742.9
Victoria
5 204.8
6 898.3
6 662.2
6 498.0
9 850.3
8 538.3
7 843.8
Brisbane
1 857.0
2 908.0
2 681.1
2 465.6
4 955.1
3 979.3
3 237.0
Balance of Queensland
2 324.5
3 645.4
3 356.9
3 129.7
5 966.3
4 759.6
3 998.2
Queensland
4 181.4
6 553.3
6 038.0
5 595.2
10 921.3
8 738.9
7 235.2
Adelaide
1 158.0
1 410.8
1 384.5
1 391.8
1 848.5
1 651.8
1 623.7
Balance of South Australia
426.2
531.5
499.8
451.0
691.4
552.7
406.7
South Australia
1 584.2
1 942.3
1 884.4
1 842.9
2 539.9
2 204.5
2 030.4
Perth
1 554.1
2 455.2
2 267.6
2 112.1
4 164.4
3 358.4
2 815.5
Balance of Western Australia
552.0
796.8
732.9
660.5
1 207.6
935.0
702.3
Western Australia
2 106.1
3 252.0
3 000.5
2 772.7
5 372.0
4 293.4
3 517.7
Hobart
207.4
266.8
245.3
228.2
367.2
279.7
224.0
Balance of Tasmania
286.0
338.5
307.0
277.5
411.1
291.2
202.6
Tasmania
493.4
605.3
552.3
505.7
778.3
571.0
426.6
Darwin
117.4
189.3
165.2
142.4
334.9
243.0
169.2
Balance of Northern Territory
97.5
140.1
119.8
100.8
238.1
158.6
94.9
Northern Territory
214.9
329.4
285.0
243.3
573.0
401.6
264.2
Australian Capital Territory(b)
339.8
462.5
416.5
373.0
683.2
509.3
374.2
Total capital cities(c)
13 373.4
18 452.0
17 624.7
16 933.0
27 973.0
23 787.5
21 109.6
Total balance of states and territories(d)(e)
7 641.7
10 271.0
9 611.9
9 038.9
14 537.3
11 682.5
9 796.5
Australia(e)
21 015.0
28 723.0
27 236.7
25 971.9
42 510.4
35 470.0
30 906.1

(a) Projections based on 2007 estimated resident population.
(b) Canberra and Balance of ACT not projected separately
(c) Includes ACT.
(d) Excludes Balance of ACT.
(e) Includes Other Territories. Other Territories comprise Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Source: ABS Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (3222.0)


Graph 7.12 illustrates the ageing of Australia's population projected to occur over the next 90 years. Ageing of the population is a trend which has been evident over recent decades as a result of fertility remaining below replacement level and declining mortality rates. In all three series this trend is projected to continue.

The median age of Australia's population is projected to increase from 36.7 years in June 2007 to between 38.7 and 40.7 years in 2026, and to between 41.9 and 45.2 years in 2056. In 2101 the median age of the population is projected to reach between 43.8 and 46.7 years.

7.12 Age structure of the projected population
Graph: 7.12 Age structure of the projected population


Ageing of the population affects the relative sizes of different age groups within the population. The proportion of the population aged under 15 years is projected to decrease from 19% (4.1 million people) of Australia's population in 2007 to between 15% and 18% (4.5 million and 7.5 million) in 2056, and to decline to between 14% and 17% (4.7 million to 10.4 million) in 2101. In contrast, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase, from 13% (2.8 million people) in 2007 to between 23% and 25% (7.8 million and 10.4 million) in 2056, and 25% and 28% (9.3 million and 17.1 million) in 2101.

Table 7.13 presents a range of indicators, such as population size and age structure, to illustrate changes in Australia's population from 1901 to 2101.

7.13 POPULATION, Summary indicators

1901
1947
1971
2007(a)
2026(b)
2056(b)
2101(b)

Total population
'000
3 774.1
7 579.4
13 067.3
21 015.0
27 236.7
35 470.0
44 744.8
Proportion of population
0-14 years
%
35.2
25.1
28.7
19.4
17.9
16.6
16
15-64 years
%
60.8
66.8
63
67.4
63.4
60.5
59
65 years and over
%
4
8.1
8.3
13.2
18.7
22.9
25
85 years and over
%
0.1
0.4
0.5
1.6
2.4
4.9
5.8
Sex ratio(c)
ratio
110.1
100.4
101.1
98.8
99.4
100.3
101
Median age
years
22.5
30.7
27.5
36.7
39.5
42.4
43.8
Proportion living in capital cities(d)
%
36.8
51.2
63.5
63.6
64.7
67.1
na

na not available
(a) Preliminary estimated resident population at 30 June.
(b) Series B population projections.
(c) Males per 100 females.
(d) Includes Australian Capital Territory.
Source: ABS Australian Historical Population Statistics (3105.0.65.001); ABS Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (3222.0)



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