Australia’s population outlook


Population growth is an important driver of economic growth, lifting both demand and productive capacity.  Growth is currently 1.6% per year and may be falling.  The peak growth rate was 2.2% in 2008.

Peak births?  Births may have peaked in 2018, at 314,900.  The 1971 peak of 274,400 was not exceeded until 2007 despite significant population growth.  Fertility peaked in 1961 at 3.55 and the arrival of the oral contraception pill quickly caused a rapid decline.  Fertility has averaged 1.85 since 1985.

Peak deaths? The increase in the number of deaths has slowed recently and deaths may be at a peak.

Peak life expectancy? Not yet: life expectancy is still increasing at all ages.

Peak natural increase?  Natural increase (births minus deaths) appears to have peaked at 165,200 in 2012.

Peak net migration?  The peak was 315,700 in 2008.  The trend is currently rising, but not fast enough to break the record for several years.

Our report projects Australia’s births, deaths, net migration, and population for 2020 and 2021.  It also discusses the uncertainties surrounding births and net migration.

Charlie Nelson