Australia’s fertility rate continues to be below the long-term replacement level, although births will outnumber deaths for many years to come. The number of births is not increasing while deaths are increasing slowly, so natural increase is slowing.
Could Australia follow some other countries on a path to even lower fertility? It is unlikely at present, based on our research.
Net migration may be slowing and so our population growth rate may also be about to slow. The largest component of net migration is temporary visas – for foreign students, long-term visitors, and working holidays. The largest source of foreign students is China and the recent coronavirus outbreak there may prevent some students from coming to Australia.
It is important that Australia’s international image is one of high educational standards and a good quality natural environment. Recent tragic, extensive bushfires along with very poor air quality even in capital cities is not good for our image. Nor is the intransigence of many politicians on the issue of effective action to limit dangerous climate change.
Population growth is one of three important drivers of long-term economic growth. Let’s not turn young people away due to complacency about climate change.
Details are available at foreseechange.com.au.