Projecting spatial population and labour force growth in Australian districts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Projecting population in a local community is especially important to deliver public good provisions such as health services, education and social security. In addition to the size of the population and its age distribution, sex and location are also of importance for understanding needs and developing future infrastructure plans and growth policies. The projection of labour force growth is particularly important as labour is one of the primary inputs of economic production. This study aims to project the distribution of the future Australian population and its detailed characteristics. We analyse the projection of labour force growth in Australia and the proportion of people born outside the country, both at the district level, as examples of the model’s capability and applications. The microsimulation model used is designed to capture a detailed picture of the demographic evolution of the Australian population given current population trends, while also enabling us to understand the spatial distribution of migrants among the future Australian population. We validate our projections by making comparisons with recently released census data from 2016. The validation procedures we use show that our model has managed to not only project the population for sub-state/territory regions but also its age distribution as well as whether a person was born outside Australia. However, although our projection of the total size of the labour force produces reasonably accurate results, we found that estimates of the growth of the labour force were not as reliable, as the model was unable to capture the current negative growth of the labour force that is reflected in recent census data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-232
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Population Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


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