We’re now have over 23.7 million Australians.
The Population Clock over at the Australian Bureau of Statistics continues to keep track of the estimated population in perpetuity.
The ongoing estimates are based on the following parameters:
- one birth every 1 minute and 41 seconds,
- one death every 3 minutes and 32 seconds ,
- a net gain of one international migration every 2 minutes and 10 seconds, leading to
- an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 18 seconds
You can see what the estimated population is today here.
A pretty rapid-fire rate of growth there, with the number around closing in on 400,000 additional people, and we’re not even close to a year on yet.
That’s all fairly well known about.
But, what of the demographic shifts? Do we have an ageing population in Australia?
Well, here is what the Australian population looks like today, expressed in the favoured format of a ‘population pyramid’:
Pretty interesting stuff. The demographics of Australia are not quite what popular consensus might have you believe. There are around 11.7 million males and 11.6 million females in Australia today (I often hear friends say that there is a shortage of good men around, and right there is just a little bit of evidence…).
Sure, we have a fair number of ‘Baby Boomers’ (ages approximately 50-70) who are heading towards or into their retirement years.
But look at what’s in the pipeline in my own age group – the so-called Gen X’ers – which broadly speaking covers 35-50 years olds. Not much of a drop off at all. In fact, far from it – there are millions of us.
And the numbers don’t really tail off for the Millennials or Generation Y age group either.
The Population Pyramid of the future
Now here’s the really cool bit. The ABS population pyramid allows you to play around with the year and see what our population will most likely look like in the future.
Below, I’ve rolled the data out to 2061, to present a likely picture of Australia’s demographics in that year.
Population to almost DOUBLE
The most obvious thing which strikes you from this bulbous graphic is that the population will have swollen to a massively greater size than exists here today.
There will be an estimated 20,688,000 males and 20,826,000 females, making a total of more than 41,500,000 persons.
That’s one heck of an population boom from today’s 23.3 million, an increase of close to 80%.
Not top heavy
The other noticeable point is that due to Australia’s immigration policy, our demographics will be far more favourable than those seen in many other developed countries.
Note how even as the decades roll on, the Aussie population will not become massively top heavy with retirees as is the fear in countries located elsewhere.
Instead, there will be a constant flow of new, young taxpayers coming through the pipeline, particularly as our immigration policies are typically skewed towards skilled migrants who are under 30 years of age.
Hard to imagine
It’s not at all easy to picture how the Australia of tomorrow will look, and indeed, even those forecasting the population only have at best an approximate idea.
At present, around 70% of the population growth takes in place in our five main cities.
Lob in two other capitals in Darwin and Canberra, together with Newcastle, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Townsville and the Sunshine Coast and the number covers off some 80% of the total growth in population.
In other words, regional centres only account for a relatively small part of the growth, and the wider availability of land for release and development should keep dwelling prices comfortably affordable in the majority of those locations.
The ABS forecasts that the populations of the respective major capital cities could look something like this by 2056:
Sydney – 6.5 – 7.6 million
Melbourne – 6.1 – 8.0 million
Brisbane – 3.2 – 5.0 million
Perth – 2.8 – 4.2 million
Adelaide – 1.6 – 1.8 million
With the exception of Adelaide, these are vast numbers.
In cities such as Sydney, given the fact that the city is essentially unable to spread further due to geographical constraints (Pacific Ocean, Blue Mountains, National Parks), this means that we will be seeing a lot more apartment blocks.
I mean, a lot more.
I’m not sure about you, but I haven’t popped my clogs by then, I certainly don’t plan on driving to any place of work (In fact, truth be told, I already don’t – I walk to my office at Martin Place).
The traffic on our roads already beggars belief at times, so imagine what another 2 million or 3 million people will do to Sydney’s strained road network. I’m certain that the three other large cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth will face similar challenges.
There are certain trends which you don’t really need me or anyone else to tell you about, because you can see them with your own eyes.
Increasingly, people of my age group and the others coming through the pipeline of slightly younger years, are ideally choosing to live:
-close to the centre of capital cities
-near to key transport hubs and entertainment
-in medium-density dwellings
-in desirable suburbs to the extent that is possible
And if that’s not a long-term opportunity for property investors, I don’t know what is.
Steer away from the over-priced and oversupplied high-rise builds and towards boutique developments in the suburbs where height restrictions and NIMBYism have effectively capped the supply and you won’t got too far wrong over the long haul.
If you can buy and continue to own the type of property with outstanding owner-occupier appeal, you will be a long-term winner from the above demographic shifts.