NSW population projected to increase to 9.1 million by 2036

by Ray Clancy on September 14, 2011

in Australia

NSW population to increase

The population of New South Wales is projected to grow from 7.2 million in 2010 to 10.6 million in 2051.

However, average annual population growth is expected to slow from 1.1% in the last 30 years to an average of 0.9% over the next 40 years.

The projections assume net overseas migration to Australia of 180,000 people a year with 30% settling in New South Wales, a fertility rate of 1.85 babies per female and life expectancy at birth of 88.5 years for men and 90.9 years for women by 2051.

The projections, published to accompany the state government’s 2011/2012 Budget Report, indicate that the State’s population will continue to age. With the first baby boomers born exactly 65 years ago and now moving into traditional retirement age, 2011 is the beginning of 18 years of accelerated growth in the aged dependency ratio.

The intergenerational report points out that an older population means fewer people working and higher health costs.

Productivity growth nationally has averaged 1.6% year over the last 30 years. For the last 20 years of available data, NSW productivity growth has been broadly in line with national rates. It is assumed in this report, as in the Australian Government’s 2010 Intergenerational Report, that productivity will continue to grow at its historic rate of 1.6% a year.

The NSW intergenerational report will be seized upon by proponents of a Big Australia, such as former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, as evidence that higher rates of fertility and immigration increase living standards by countering the effect of a shrinking working age population and make the country stronger. The Green Party and others argue for a lower population on environmental grounds.

The report also reveals a slowdown in the ageing effect, with the proportion of those in the 65 plus age group in the NSW community projected to grow from 14.1% in 2009 to 24.3% in 2050. This is lower than the 24.5% predicted to kick in by 2040 in the first intergenerational report, released in 2006.

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