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3222.0 - Population Projections, Australia, 2004 to 2101  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/11/2005  Reissue
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MEDIA RELEASE

November 29, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
125/2005

Australia in 2051: almost half the population older than 50 years

Australia will look very different in 2051, with almost one in two Australians being older than 50 years, according to the latest population projections released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. These projections, which are not intended as forecasts, are based on a series of assumptions that take into account recent trends in fertility, mortality and migration.

By 2051 Australia's population is expected to increase to between 25 and 33 million people, with around 44% to 48% being older than 50 years. In 2004 Australia's population was 20 million people, with almost one third being older than 50 years. The ageing of Australia's population is the result of sustained low fertility, combined with increasing life expectancy at birth.

The number of people aged 65 years and over will increase rapidly over the next 50 years, from 2.6 million in 2004 to between 7 and 9 million people in 2051. By then, slightly more than one in four Australians will be aged 65 years and over (around one in 8 at 2004).

The number of people aged 85 years and over will increase even faster, from just under 300,000 people in 2004 to between 1.6 million and 2.7 million people in 2051. By then, people aged 85 years and over will make up 6% to 8% of Australia's population, compared to only 1.5% in 2004.

Australia's population aged 15-64 years, which encompasses much of the working-age population, is projected to decline from 67% in 2004 to between 57% and 59% in 2051.

State and territory populations - Series B (middle) projections

All states and territories, except Tasmania and South Australia, are projected to continuously increase in population to 2051. South Australia's population will peak in 2032 and Tasmania's in 2024. Queensland is projected to increase by 77%, the Northern Territory by 75% and Western Australia by 60%.

New South Wales will remain the most populous state in Australia, while Queensland is projected to replace Victoria as the second most populous state in 2041. Western Australia will increase its share of Australia's population, while South Australia's and Tasmania's shares will decline.

All capital cities will experience higher percentage growth than their respective rest of state, resulting in further concentration of Australia's population in the capital cities. Two out of three Australians (66%) will live in a capital city in 2051 (64% in 2004). Sydney and Melbourne will remain the two most populous cities in Australia, while Darwin is projected to exceed Hobart in population from 2049.

Further details are in Population Projections, Australia, 2004 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).


POPULATION SIZE: Observed and projected ('000)

At June 2004
At June 2051(a)


Capital city/state or territory
Observed
Projection
Series A
Projection
Series B
Projection
Series C

Sydney
4 225.1
6 311.6
5 608.8
5 292.1
Total New South Wales
6 720.8
10 107.9
8 742.7
7 960.4
Melbourne
3 593.0
5 894.6
5 041.1
4 566.8
Total Victoria
4 963.0
7 428.7
6 574.1
6 191.2
Brisbane
1 777.7
4 202.0
3 354.7
2 778.1
Total Queensland
3 888.1
8 584.8
6 899.0
5 744.1
Adelaide
1 123.2
1 326.8
1 203.9
1 138.5
Total South Australia
1 532.7
1 736.1
1 580.7
1 537.5
Perth
1 454.6
2 999.2
2 453.6
2 017.6
Total Western Australia
1 978.1
3 890.2
3 164.5
2 578.6
Hobart
202.2
286.9
219.6
178.2
Total Tasmania
482.2
620.1
453.0
335.4
Darwin
109.4
295.5
232.3
153.0
Total Northern Territory
199.8
470.5
350.0
224.3
Total Australian Capital Territory
324.1
547.1
401.6
289.5
Total capital cities(b)
12 809.3
21 863.7
18 515.7
16 413.8
Total Australia(c)
20 091.5
33 389.8
28 169.7
24 864.5

(a) Each series is based on differing assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration.
(b) Includes the Australian Capital Territory.
(c) Includes Other Territories


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