Australian population to nearly double

Australian population to nearly double to 35 million by mid-century

Article from: The Courier-Mail

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Stefanie Balogh

September 18, 2009 12:00am

THE Australian population will explode to 35 million people in a generation and we will be younger than previously thought, according to forecasts.

Our demographic surge will be driven by more women of childbearing age, higher fertility rates, and increased net overseas migration.

Treasurer Wayne Swan will today provide a glimpse into the future when he reveals key details from the much-anticipated third Intergenerational Report.

The full report, due to be released before next year’s federal Budget, is a crucial planning tool.

With Treasury Secretary Ken Henry’s review of the nation’s taxation system, the intergenerational data will guide the Rudd Government’s policies for the nation’s growing and ageing population.

Mr Swan will tell the launch of the Australian Institute For Population Ageing Research in Sydney that the proportion of people over 65 will almost double to 25 per cent of all Australians in 2049 .

But the proportion is slightly less than previously projected.

In his speech, Mr Swan will say “the population ageing story in Australia is changing”.

The updated Intergenerational report will predict Australia’s population will grow by 65 per cent to 35 million people in 2049. It was previously tipped to reach 28.5 million in 2047.

The extra 6.5 million Australians over 40 years will come from births and migration.

“Our projections suggest that Australia’s population could be larger and younger than presented in previous (intergenerational reports),” Mr Swan will say.

He says the total fertility rate of Australian women has increased to more than 1.9 births per woman in recent years – a level of fertility not seen since the 1980s.

Migration to Australia will also increase, and Mr Swan says these people “tend to be younger than the resident population, and . . . contribute to the projected larger and younger Australian population”.

But despite changes to the nation’s demographic make-up in four decades, the drain on government services including health, pensions and aged care will come from a greying population.

The proportion of the population aged 85 and over is projected to increase most rapidly, rising from 1.7 per cent of the population in 2009 to 5 per cent in 2049.

The Government has laid the groundwork to tackle the ageing population by raising the pension age to 67 from 65 at a rate of six months every two years from 2017.

Mr Swan’s Budget boost to pensions begins next week, with single pensioners on the maximum rate receiving an extra $70.83 every fortnight, and couples on the maximum rate getting $29.93 more.

“Over the next 40 years it is projected that the number of young people and the number of people of traditional working age will both increase by about 45 per cent,” the Treasurer will say.

“But here’s the thing – over the same 40-year period, the number of older people aged 65-84 years will more than double and the number of very old people aged 85 and over will increase by more than 4½ times.”

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2 Responses to “Australian population to nearly double”

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