Future Australia - A Detailed Spatial Population Projection

Jinjing Li, Hang To

Research output: Book/ReportReports


The primary objective of this study is to project the distribution of the future Australian population under a set of growth scenarios and to describe the evolution of the spatial concentration of migrants, alongside other socio-demographic
characteristics under each scenario. Knowing the size and distribution of the Australian population in the future is critical to the national economy and many policy planning processes. Population size reflects the size of the economy and
the scale of the population-related issues and is an important denominator of many frequently used indicators, such as gross domestic product per capita and food consumption per person, which are used to compare across populations. In
addition to the size of the population, its distribution by age, sex, and location are of importance for studying and developing future infrastructure plan and growth policies.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provides a set of time-series data on the projected population growth in Australia by age, gender and the state of residency. However, certain policy questions, such as the evolution of the average English language skills at regional levels, cannot be derived based on the broad groupings offered by ABS. Instead, there is a need for a more refined population projection with more extensive socio-economic attributes.
Currently, about 1 in 4 of the Australian population is overseas-born, and immigration heavily drives the population growth. It is known that certain migrant groups are often concentrated in particular metropolitan areas, but little research has been done to analyse how the migrant density would evolve in different parts of Australia. Additionally, the movement patterns of the population from various country origins would also have substantial implications for the economic, social and culture interactions. For instance, the birth country is often a significant factor contributing to a person’s linguistic profiles. As new migrants to Australia are more likely from Asian countries, it is important to understand how this would affect the demographic attributes at both national and regional level. In this project, we project the Australian population to 2050 with a great level of details and provide a series of metrics of the future population, including:
• Population size at national, state and statistical area level 42
• Demographic attributes, such as age, gender, country of birth distribution of the population at national, state and statistical area level 4
• Expected labour force size at national, state, and statistical area level 4

The output of the project can help to evaluate the effects of different growth scenarios on the Australian population and provides useful insights on how policies might adapt to the changing population. It should be noted that this report does not provide an exhaustive list of all simulation outputs given the vast amount of data generated. Instead, it focuses on the highlights and the key findings around the changes in population size, migrant profiles and the implications in the labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
Commissioning bodyDepartment of Immigration and Border Protection
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2016


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