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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PROJECTION RESULTS – AUSTRALIA


INTRODUCTION

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 24 series available for use.


Selected projection series

ASSUMPTIONS
PROJECTED POPULATION
Life Expectancy at birth(a)
Total fertility rate(b)
Males
Females
Net overseas migration(b)
2027
2042
2066
Average annual growth rate
babies per woman
years
years
persons
million
million
million
%

Series A
1.95
87.7
89.2
275 000
29.3
36.6
49.2
1.4
Series B
1.80
83.0
86.0
225 000
28.8
34.3
42.6
1.1
Series C
1.65
83.0
86.0
175 000
28.3
32.3
37.4
0.9

(a) From 2066
(b) From 2027



AUSTRALIA

Population size

Australia's population at 30 June 2017 of 24.6 million is projected to increase to between 28.3 million and 29.3 million in 2027.

The three selected series project continuing population growth throughout the projection period. In series A, Australia experiences strong and consistent growth, reaching 49.2 million in 2066. In series B, the population will reach 42.6 million in 2066 and in series C, growth is projected to be lower, with the population reaching 37.4 million in 2066.

In addition, an assumption of zero net overseas migration (NOM) has been included to demonstrate the trajectory of Australia's future population relying entirely on natural increase. In series 65 (medium fertility and mortality and zero NOM), the number of births will exceed the number of deaths until 2039, at which point Australia's population will reach 26.4 million. From 2040 onwards the number of deaths will exceed the numbers of births, resulting in Australia's population declining to 25.1 million in 2066.

Graph Image for Projected population, Australia

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




Growth rates

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

In the 10 years to June 2017, Australia's population increased by 1.7% per year on average. In the 10 years to 30 June 2027, Australia's population is projected to increase at an annual average rate of between 1.4% (series C), 1.6% (series B), and 1.8% (series A).

Growth rates are projected to decline over the long term in all three selected series, with the average annual growth rate for the entire projection period ranging from 0.9% (series C) to 1.4% (series A).

In series A, Australia's growth rate initially increases to 1.8% per year and remains above the 20 year average (1.5%) until 2037. Growth rates then gradually decline to 1.2% in 2066.

In series B, Australia's annual growth rate decreases from 1.7% in 2017 to 0.8% in 2066.

In series C, Australia's annual growth rate decreases at a faster rate, reaching 0.8% in 2039, and declining to 0.5% in 2066.


Births

There were 307,800 births and 160,200 deaths in Australia during 2016–17, resulting in a natural increase of 147,600 people.

The three selected series present quite different scenarios for projected births.

Series A projects strong and consistent increases in the numbers of births each year, due to the relatively high total fertility rate (1.95 births per woman assumed in this scenario). In 2066, series A projects 626,400 births per year.

Births are also projected to increase in series B, although at a slower rate than series A. Series B projects 496,900 births in 2066.

In series C the projected number of births increases only slightly to 2066, reaching 384,400.

Graph Image for Projected births, Australia

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




Deaths

From 160,200 deaths in 2016–17, series B and C project deaths to more than double by 2066 (to 379,200 and 370,200 respectively).

Series B and C project similar numbers of deaths, as both series use the same mortality assumption. The increase in numbers of deaths each year rises from around 2.0% initially, to 2.7% in 2032. This is a result of the ageing of the population and in particular the progression of the large cohorts born during the post World War II 'baby boom' into the older age groups. From 2033 onwards, the number of deaths generally increases at gradually declining rates.

Series A assumes higher life expectancy than series B and C, therefore lower numbers of deaths are projected despite the higher level of population. Series A projects 340,200 deaths in 2066.

Graph Image for Projected deaths, Australia

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




Natural increase

While the number of both births and deaths in Australia are projected to increase in all three selected series, the number of births are projected to vary widely. As a result, projected natural increase (births minus deaths) differs significantly for each of the three selected series.

Natural increase in series A is projected to increase, reaching 286,300 in 2066.

Series B projects a gradual decline in natural increase over the projection period, reaching 117,700 in 2066, while in series C natural increase declines at a faster rate, declining to just 14,200 in 2066.

Graph Image for Projected natural increase, Australia

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




Effect of net overseas migration

In 2016–17, net overseas migration (NOM) contributed 262,300 people to Australia's population. Although the age structure of migrants at arrival in Australia is younger than the general population of Australia, migrants will age along with the rest of the population in the years following their arrival. Over time, changes in NOM therefore affect the size of the population as well as the age distribution.

Net overseas migration contributes to population growth through both the levels of migration itself, and by children born to migrants to Australia. The effect of NOM can be determined by comparing the projected population of each of the three selected series with the projected population resulting from an assumed NOM level of zero. For example, series B (29) and series 65 share the same fertility and mortality assumptions, but where series B assumes medium NOM, series 65 assumes zero NOM. In series B, Australia's population is projected to increase to 42.6 million people by 2066 while in series 65 Australia's population is projected to be much lower, increasing to 25.1 million in 2066. This difference is made up of 11.3 million migrants, and a further 6.2 million people due to additional natural increase.

Series A assumes NOM of 13.5 million people between 30 June 2017 and 2066. Series B assumes 11.3 million by 2066, and series C assumes 9.0 million by 2066.

Graph Image for Contribution of NOM to the projected population, Australia

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




Population ageing

Of the changes projected to occur in Australia's population, ageing is generally considered to be the most dramatic, with significant changes to the age structure of the population. 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.

Changes in Australia's age structure are reflected in the median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger), which is projected to increase from 37.2 years at 30 June 2017 to between 39.5 years and 43.0 years in 2066.


Population aged 014 years

Changes in the number of children aged 0–14 years, an age group closely aligned to compulsory ages for schooling, has implications for the provision of primary and secondary education.

Series A projects strong increases in the number of children in this age group, from 4.6 million at 30 June 2017 to 9.1 million in 2066. The number of children aged 0–14 are also projected to increase in series B, although at a slower rate than series A. Series B projects 7.4 million children aged 0–14 in 2066. In series C the number of children aged 0–14 increases much slower, reaching 5.9 million in 2066.

While the number of children aged 0–14 are projected to increase in all three selected series, their proportion will decline slightly from 19% at 30 June 2017 to between 16% and 18% by 2066.

Graph Image for Projected population aged 0-14 years, Australia

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




Population aged 1564 years

The population aged 15–64 years, which encompasses what many Australians still consider to be 'the working-age population', was 16.2 million people at 30 June 2017, making up 66% of Australia's population. The three selected series project this group to continue to increase throughout the projection period. Series A projects strong growth in the number of people aged 15–64 years, reaching 30.0 million in 2066. The number of people aged 15–64 is projected to increase in series B, although at a slower rate than series A, reaching 26.3 million people in 2066. In series C, the projected number of people aged 15–64 reaches 22.9 million in 2066.

Despite different outcomes in terms of population size, the proportion of the total population of 15–64 year olds will be similar for all three selected series throughout the projection period. This proportion declines from 66% at 30 June 2017 to between 61% (series A) and 62% (series B) in 2066.

Within the 15–64 years age group, ageing will occur in all three series. In 2017, 27% of people aged 15–64 were aged 50 or over. This was projected to increase to between 28% and 30% in 2066.

Within the 15–64 age group, the proportion of people aged under 30 is projected to decline slightly in all three series, from 31% at 30 June 2017 to between 29% and 31% by 2066. The proportion of people aged 30–49 years remains steady at 42% in 2066.

Graph Image for Projected population aged 15-64 years, Australia

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




Population aged 65 years and over

The population aged 65 years and over will increase rapidly throughout the first half of the projection period, in terms of both numbers and proportions of the total population, under all three series. This age group is projected to increase from 3.8 million at 30 June 2017 to between 8.6 million (series C) and 10.2 million (series A) in 2066. Series B projects 8.9 million people aged 65 and over in 2066.

The annual growth rate for people aged 65 years and over was 3.2% in 2017. Growth rates remain strong in series A due to higher assumed life expectancy at birth, declining to 1.8% in 2066. In series B and C, growth rates decrease more quickly, declining to 1.3% and 1.0% respectively in 2066.

As a proportion of the population, the population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase from 15% at 30 June 2017 to between 21% (series A and B) and 23% (series C) in 2066.

Graph Image for Projected population aged 65 years and over, Australia

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




Population aged 85 years and over

At 30 June 2017, there were 493,000 people aged 85 years and over in Australia. This age group is projected to increase rapidly throughout the projection period. In series A, which uses the higher life expectancy assumption, the population is projected to more than double within 20 years (to 1.0 million people in 2036), and double again by 2062 (2.0 million), reaching 2.2 million people by 2066.

Series B and C (which both use the medium life expectancy assumption) also project high growth, both reaching 1.0 million people aged 85 and over in 2038, though considerably less than series A for the rest of the projection period. By 2066, the population aged 85 years and over is projected to be 1.5 million in both series.

People aged 85 years and over made up 2.0% of Australia's population at 30 June 2017. This age group is projected to account for between 3.6% (series B) and 4.4% (series A) of the population in 2066.

Graph Image for Projected population aged 85 years and over, Australia

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



The population aged 85 years and over is projected to experience the highest growth rates of all age groups. The projected annual growth for this group peaks in the early 2030's as the post World War II cohort reach age 85.

A noticeable change within this age group is the increasing proportion of men due to the narrowing of the gap between male and female life expectancy. At 30 June 2017, men accounted for 38% of all people aged 85 years and over. This proportion is projected to increase quickly over the first 16 years of the projection period, to 43% in 2033, before stabilising in series B and C. The proportion of males continues to increase in series A, reaching 46% in 2066.