What lies ahead in the next 10 years?
This is a question frequently pondered by those involved in the realms of government and business, particularly as Australia's population undergoes growth and change.
Monitoring the latest population trends and their societal implications is of great importance.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics national population report, the population of Australia is currently estimated at 25.9 million.
Notably, over the past decade leading up to June 2022, the population has surged by 3.2 million, resulting in a 14 per cent increase from 22.7 million in June 2012.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its Population Projections in 2018, which estimated that Australia's population would reach 26.5 million by 2022 with low growth assumptions.
However, the current estimated population falls short by a significant 600,000 people compared to the projected figure.
The pandemic's population loss has primarily caused this shortfall, which adversely affected population growth and immigration.
According to the Centre for Population's projections released in January based on the 2021 census estimates, some intriguing trends and patterns emerge.
These projections indicate that by 2033, Australia's population is expected to grow by 3.6 million people, resulting in a total population of 29.9 million people.
The annual net overseas migration figures primarily determine Australia's projected population growth.
This critical assumption suggests that roughly two-thirds of the anticipated population growth will result from overseas migration, with an expected net addition of 235,000 people per year.
This estimate underscores the significance of migration as a key driver of Australia's population growth and highlights the nation's continued appeal as a desirable destination for individuals worldwide.
The intake of migrants is likely to provide relief to Australia's skills shortage, support post-pandemic recovery, and ultimately benefit the country.
Insights into Australia's future demographic trends can be gleaned from the data, revealing potential changes in critical population indicators such as fertility rates and life expectancy.
The projections indicate that the expected average annual natural population increase between 2022 and 2033 will be approximately 125,000 people.
The data also suggests a probable decline in the fertility rate, which is expected to decrease from 1.66 in 2022 to 1.62 by 2033.
On the other hand, life expectancy for men is predicted to increase from 81.3 years in 2022 to 83.5 years in 2033, while for women, it is expected to rise from 85.3 years in 2022 to 87 years in 2033.
These projections paint a compelling picture of Australia's future demographic landscape, indicating the nation's continued population growth and expansion.
By understanding the underlying demographic landscape, opportunities for the next decade can be identified.
With every population shift, movement, and increase, new possibilities arise for housing, finance, white goods, and a growing need for various government services.
The Centre for Population’s projections reveal that all states and territories in Australia are expected to experience population growth, driven by natural increase, net overseas migration, and net interstate migration.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is expected to have the highest population growth rate of all regions, with an anticipated increase of 18 per cent from 467,000 in 2022 to 550,000 in 2033.
Victoria is projected to have the second-highest population growth rate, with an increase of 17 per cent or 1.1 million people.
Queensland and Western Australia are both expected to witness a population growth rate of 14 per cent, with Queensland reaching a total of 6.1 million and Western Australia reaching a total of 3.2 million.
Tasmania's population is also projected to grow from 581,700 to 646,500, while New South Wales (NSW) and the Northern Territory are expected to see an 11 per cent and 13 per cent increase, respectively.
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However, the Northern Territory is projected to experience a net loss of about 1250 residents per annum through interstate migration.
The combined population of capital cities is expected to reach 20.2 million by 2033, accounting for 77 per cent of the total growth in the nation's population.
Melbourne is expected to have the highest growth rate of all capital cities at 20 per cent, with its population surpassing that of Sydney by 10,300 in 2032.
Darwin, Perth, Brisbane, and Hobart are also expected to experience population growth rates ranging from 16 to 18 per cent.
Among the regions, regional Queensland is projected to have the highest growth rate at 13 per cent, followed by regional Victoria at 11 per cent.
All regions combined are expected to grow from 8.5 million in 2022 to 9.3 million in 2033.
Examining the demographic breakdown by age group allows us to identify the key markets that will require various services.
The change in population by year between 2023 and 2033 indicates growth across all age groups, with three cohorts exceeding the average growth rate.
The first group comprises individuals aged 18 to 28, highlighting a pressing need for a wide range of services to cater to their needs.
These services might include affordable and high-quality education and vocational training, career counselling, job placement assistance, affordable housing, and rental schemes.
Given that mental health issues were most prevalent among this younger population, accessible and affordable healthcare and mental health programs are crucial for supporting their well-being.
Furthermore, diverse community, cultural, and recreational facilities will be in demand to meet their needs.
The second group consists of 40 to 50-year-olds, representing a valuable market for businesses across various sectors.
Most people in this age group live in family households with children, making them the primary consumers of white goods and services.
Companies that can tailor their products and services to this demographic's specific needs and interests stand to benefit from their significant purchasing power and brand loyalty.
As established professionals with higher disposable income, they are attractive targets for businesses.
They may require assistance with wealth management, such as retirement planning, superannuation advice, and access to financial counselling services.
Legal services for estate planning, family law, and property matters may also be necessary.
Services that support career change, retraining, and upskilling opportunities may also be required.
Australia's aging society is not a recent development, with the largest growth cohort being those aged between 70 and 90.
To support the health and well-being of this older population, aged-care services and healthcare services are critical.
Suitable housing options, including retirement villages, assisted living facilities, and accessible housing, may be necessary.
Social support and opportunities for socialization, such as community centres, social clubs, and volunteer opportunities, are also required.
Government-funded programs can promote social inclusion and reduce social isolation among older people.
Transportation assistance, including public transport options, community transport services, and special needs transport, may be necessary.
Governments and businesses need to tailor services that help older people live with dignity and independence as they age.
Note: Looking ahead, the next decade presents opportunities for business expansion and progress, as well as a crucial need for a variety of government services in Australia.
Although there may be some obstacles to overcome in the near future, leveraging demographic information can help us create successful plans to take advantage of the projected increase in population.