Within a decade, Australia’s population is expected to be smaller and older than what was predicted before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centre for Population’s 2022 Population Statement reveals the pandemic has had a substantial impact on the country’s population, which has mostly been caused by a limit to overseas migration from border closures.
That statement reveals how Australia’s population growth will change over the coming 10 years.
Here are the key takeaways:
Population won’t make a full post-pandemic recovery by 2033
The estimated resident population in Australia is expected to go from 25.7 million on June 30, 2021, to 29.9 million by June 30, 2033.
This means there will be a slight recovery from the pandemic, but it won’t be a full one.
Annual population growth is expected to:
- Increase from 0.1 per cent in 2020-21 to 1.4 per cent in 2022-23
- Gradual decline from 2024-25
- Reach 1.2 per cent by 2032-22, which would be 29.9 million people
- Grow to 39.2 million by 2060-61.
The median age is also projected to increase, from 38.4 years in 2020-21 to 40.1 years by 2032-33.
There was no COVID-19 baby boom
It may surprise some, but according to the statement, COVID-19 did not significantly impact fertility rates.
Over the past 60 years, fertility rates have been declining slowly and the trend is likely to continue.
The total fertility rate is projected to decline from 1.66 babies per woman in 2021–22 to 1.62 babies by 2030–31.
Sydney will no longer be our largest city
Australia’s two largest cities often clash when talking about which one is the best but, by 2031-32, Melbourne is predicted to take out the prize for the largest city in the country, overtaking Sydney.
Meanwhile, South Australia and Tasmania will continue to have older populations than the rest of the states and territories.
States and territories are projected to return to their pre-pandemic patterns of population growth as migration continues to return, so population growth will remain steady.
COVID-19 was the main contributor to population impacts
Overseas migration has returned to Australia quickly since borders opened, but the recovery is not expected to fully offset the lost population growth during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, there was a net outflow of migrants for the first time since World War II.
So far, Australia has not seen as large an impact on deaths caused by COVID-19 as many other developed countries.
However, as infection numbers and death rates rose last year, deaths from COVID-19 and other causes have increased, resulting in a short-term fall in life expectancy from 2021-23.
After this, it’s expected to improve at the same rate as what was predicted before the pandemic.