The key objective of the Demography Program is to produce estimates of the recent and projected population; and analysis of the components of population change (births, deaths, and migration) and related demographic trends. These data are provided at the national, state, territory, and regional level.
These statistics are produced to:
- meet a range of legislative requirements that make reference to population estimates
- assist in the formulation and monitoring of government policies, and in the planning and administration of government programs
- enable planning and market analyses by businesses and community organisations
- enable research and analyses by governments, businesses, academic institutions and others into the causes and consequences of population change.
Reflecting the use of population estimates for electoral and funding purposes, the main clients of the program are: Australian and state/territory-level electoral commissions, treasuries, and grants commissions. Within the ABS, demographic estimates and projections are the basis for population survey benchmarks. Other clients include agencies concerned with issues associated with migration and multicultural affairs, local area planning, health, education, the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, family and community services, the environment and international tourism. The program also works to build capacity of government agencies to understand and use demographic data and statistics, and supports the development of civil registration systems in the Asia Pacific region.
The program’s key outputs are population estimates published in Australian Demographic Statistics (ABS cat. no. 3101.0). The program produces estimates of the total population by age, sex, country of birth and geographical distribution; estimates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population; and estimates of families and households.
Regular statistics are also produced on births, fertility rates, deaths, mortality rates, life expectancy, international migration as well as interstate and internal migration. Projections of population, families and households according to specified demographic assumptions are published on a regular basis. Population benchmarks are provided for use in the ABS and other population surveys. Regular statistics based on the movements of overseas arrivals and departures are also produced.
Major publications include:
- Births, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3301.0)
- Deaths, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3302.0)
- Regional Population Growth, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3218.0)
- Population Projections, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3222.0)
- Household and Family Projections, Australia (ABS cat. no. 3236.0)
- Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (ABS cat. no. 3238.0).
- In addition, an extensive range of historical data is available on the ABS website in Australian Historical Population Statistics (ABS cat. no. 3105.0.65.001)
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- finalise the rebasing of all population estimates and projections series using the results of the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, including on the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) for sub-state estimates – due progressively from June 2012 to June 2014
- evaluate and implement improved methods for projecting future births into ABS population projections – due September 2013
- review and recommend changes to the demographic content of the 2016 Census of Population and Housing – progressively to March 2014
- complete the implementation of methods and systems to enhance data quality of preliminary estimation of net overseas migration – progressive to June 2014
- in consultation with stakeholders, consolidate an enhanced method for estimating mortality and life expectancy of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples using the 2011 Census of Population and Housing results and death registrations, which in turn is used as a key input to a range of demographic statistics of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – progressive releases to June 2014
- begin development of 2016 Post Enumeration Survey (PES) – due June 2014
- strengthen engagement and collaboration with State and Territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages to identify and implement initiatives to improve the coverage and quality of birth and death registration information – ongoing.
Gemma Van Halderen
and Social Analysis Branch
Health and Vitals Statistics Unit