Source: The Ausralian, 15 July, 1998, p.1
MICHELLE GUNN Social affairs writer THE year is 2051 and Australia has a population of 24.9 million. Sydney remains our biggest city, with more than 5.2 million people, but other parts of the nation have seen dramatic change. The Northern Territory has more than doubled its popu- lation in the past 50 years and now has more residents than Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory. Queensland overtook Vic- toria in 2030 as the country's second-most populous State but Melbourne still retains its position as the second-largest capital, with 4 million people to Brisbane's 2.9 million. Tasmania, meanwhile, has lost 35 per cent of its popu- lation since 1997 and now has just 309,700 people, almost a third of whom are aged 65 years or older. This futuristic snapshot of the nation is one of three likely scenarios presented in a new Australian Bureau of Stat- istics publication, Population Projections 1997 to 2051. The publication uses a series of assumptions about migration, fertility and mor- tality rates to project the nature of Australia's popu- lation into next century. Using mid-range projec- tions, the Northern Territory, Western Austraba and Queensland are predicted to grow strongly, at the expense of Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia. Tasmania and South Aust ralia can expect to lose popu- lation over the 50-year period. The age structure of the population will also change profoundly, with a quarter of Australians aged 65 and over by 2051, compared with just 12 per cent today. At the other end of the spectrum, there will be 2.6 million 5- to 14-year-olds in 2050-the same number as in 1997. School-age children will thus make up a much smaller pro- portion of the population than they do now. All this assumes a fall in the fertility rate to 1.75 births per woman by 2005-6, after which it remains constant; annual net overseas migration of 70,000 from 1998-99; and medium internal migration. Under a 1.75 fertility rate and high overseas migration (90,000 a year), Australia in 2051 could have 26.4 million people and Sydney could boast a population of more than 6 million.
Where to next?
Student Questions for this article
Teacher Discussion of this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Representation
Main Index - Numeracy in the News