A new population milestone

Friday, February 05, 2016

A new population milestone

Australia is fast closing in on the next population milestone of 24 million. In the early minutes of Tuesday 16 February 2016, at 12:51am, Australia will officially hit a population of 24,000,000. Because not everyone will be glued to the ABS Population clock (link) like us, we thought we’d give you an advanced peak at what it will show (we’re futurists after all!).

Doubling Australia’s population- in pace with the world

In 1968, Australia’s population reached 12 million and so it has taken 48 years to double. Interestingly, in 1970, the global population was exactly half what it currently is at 7.3 billion and so the world has taken only slightly less time, 46 years, to double.

More than one third of Australians have seen both Australia, and the world double in population size in their lifetime!

A new million- in record time

Australia reached 23 million on 23 April 2013 which means it has added its 24th million in 2 years, 9 months and 2 days. This is the first time that a million people has been added to Australia’s population in less than 3 years. From 1954 when the population hit 9 million, until 2003 when the population hit 20 million, each addition million was added in a time span of around 4 and a half years. From 20 to 23 million, the time span had decreased to add each million every 3 and a half years (keeping in mind the readjustment in the timing of Australia reaching 22 million which was altered due to population adjustments based on the results of the 2011 Census).

And 17 years ahead of schedule

When Australia’s population reached 19 million on 18 August 1999, the factors of population increase were such that the forecast was for the national population to reach 24 million in 2033. However rather than each new million being added every 7 to 9 years as was forecast based on the trends at the time, Australia is adding an extra million every 3 years (increasing from 21 million to 24 million in 8 years and 8 months).

Baby boom, longevity boom and migration growth

Not only has the fertility rate over the last decade been much higher than predicted (and the consequential record baby boom averaging 300,000 births per year), but the increase in life expectancy was also beyond these predictions. And while net migration numbers have been slowing over the last couple of years, growth from migration was, and still is above the forecasts of the late 20th Century.

40 million by 2050

As recently as 2009 the forecast was for the population to reach 36 million by 2050. However, even based on the more modest population growth rate of 1.5% (well below the highs of 1.9% achieved in recent years), Australia’s population will reach 40 million by mid-century, with the possibility of it being beyond 43 million (based on 1.7% annual growth).

24 million of 7.3 billion

While Australia’s population growth is significant in national terms, our new milestone of 24 million is small compared to the US population of 323 million. And in a global context, Australia’s share of the world’s population is just 0.32% - less than one-third of 1%!

Happy 24 millionth Australia!

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