Your big Australia to hit 24 million people tomorrow night 71



View Profile

Tomorrow evening at 12.50am Australia is meant to roll over to the magic number of 24 million people, a not too insignificant number.  And considering how fast the country is growing we have to ask today if you think we’re now growing too fast?

At Federation in 1901, Australia’s population was 3.7 million according to the ABS. From then, it took Australia 58 years to reach a population of 10 million. By 1964, the population was increasing by a million every 4-5 years. Since reaching 20 million in late 2003, there have been around three years between each million person increase, with the population reaching 21 million in 2007, 22 million in 2010 and 23 million in 2013.

The important thing to note is how heavily our country’s growth is due to migration.

In 2009, 66 percent of our growth was due to migration, with the number in June 2015
Since 2006, net overseas migration has been the driver of Australia’s annual population growth.  Our most recent data (June 2015) indicates net overseas migration contributing 53 per cent to Australia’s total growth, with the remaining 47 per cent due to natural increase.

Since the 1970s Australia has cha ged an awful lot and it is fascinating to contemplate…

In 1971, 28.7 per cent of the population were children (0-14 years), 63 per cent were working age (15-64 years) and 8.3 per cent of the population were aged 65+ and there was 2.9 children born per woman.

Now, in 2015, 18.8 per cent of the population were children, 66.2 per cent were working age and 15 per cent were aged 65+. There were 1.8 children born per woman.


This structural change is rather fascinating, but what does it mean for the country we have become?  Less children, more older people, more migrants and a bigger country… Australia is very different to 50 years ago.

Do you think it is for the better?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. The population of this country and The World is increasing at alarming rate. How long before we can’t feed the world? already there are hungry people somewhere on this planet today and water is another worry

    18 REPLY
    • I only drink filtered water Debbie , I saw a group of men urinating in a damn near me, that turned me off for life

    • Libbi Elliot I buy the bottled water from Coles. Lord knows where it comes from but it does not make me sick.

    • Most of the new comers can’t support themselves, how on earth are we going to pay for all this new infrastructure, especially when we can’t support our own?!!

    • Libbi Elliot They have to tighten the immigration laws and only take the people who have skills that we need. In our town we have a lot of overseas trained doctors, they are great. This is good because we have a shortage of doctors that are willing to come to the bush. The foreign doctors seem to be keen to go to the bush. Without them we would have very few specialists in our town. Controlled immigration is the key.

    • Yep not the lucky country any more,too many people Melbourne is ridiculous but the water is good drink tap water all day about all that’s ok anymore..

    • Judy Chappell Lucky you Judy. Our tap water is undrinkable. The council keep telling us it is within guidelines. It made my husband and myself sick. The Mines have been allowed to dump their untreated waste water into our river. Successive state governments have been spineless and our town is paying for it.

    • Melbourne’s water always been good,go interstate quite a bit can’t drink any of the other states water it’s disgusting,but Melb going down the gurgler with lots of other things plus standard of living very expensive state too live in & now far too many people for the infrastructure…

    • Debbie Bryant Put a good filter on your water and it will take out all the chemicals etc in. Buy them at the health food shops or they will order them in – the water is beautiful.

    • Judy Chappell …I lived in perth for 7 years …they did a test on 7 bottles of water….1st Franklin Spring water…..2nd Water from the tap.

    • Judy Chappell, when the first boat loads of British convicts arrived, there were far too many people for the infrastructure, too. And so it has been ever since, but the infrastructure is created in response to the demand, and thereby providing employment.

  2. can we please stop breeding. i’ll be gone before it’s really deadly but still worry about those left.

    3 REPLY
    • That in itself raises another problem which China is now facing. They are recently allowed their citizens to have 2 children instead of 1. They now have an inverted pyramid and that is where we are heading in 30 years time as people have less babies and the population ages. It is a very complex issue and I hope that someone with more knowledge than me is giving it their full attention.

    • Restructuring our population will also require us to restructure our perceptions of how life works.I agree – we need to stop rewarding people for having children (particularly once they have given birth/fathered two), and stop paying billions in research to increase fertility (but very little in real terms to address birth control safely and reliably), but we also need to ensure that our economy is designed to deal with it. Of course, it we fail to address the issue immediately, we are going to have it solved for us in a way that no rational person would wish on their descendents. I suspect we have left it too late to deal with it rationally however. I learned about ZPG at high school so it’s not like it’s news.

    • Yes population figures are complex…but if we keep on allowing in more people…those people do in turn reach pension age..and pensions the govts are reducing now..these people too will say we built Australia..Our newly arrive immigrants and refugees already have a number of children..(there is super of course!!) providing their are the jobs…Mmmm..headache…

  3. I think it depends on how the population is made up. Ideally we would have a pyramid. The inverted pyramid is where we are told we are heading and that is not good. We need more workers and more jobs to employ the workers. Immigration is fine as long as it is planned immigration. Then I wonder if anyone has done a study to find out what our optimum population is? That would be good to know. I really hope that there is someone in government giving these questions some thought as I feel population is one of the biggest challenges of the future.

    3 REPLY
    • Well, we certainly need more jobs – not sure about bringing in outside workers when we have locals who are more than competent to fill the jobs as is happening with so many s457 visa rorts at present.

    • Jo Bain I agree. Local Australian workers should be employed before FIFO overseas workers who take their pay packets back home with them. s457 visas are not in the best interests of this country.

    • I do not find it believable that both Govts could not see all this coming..much manufacturing has ceased or gone off shore..importing too much foreign food and goods has not too many do not support Australian made…govts have let foreign corporations off scott free and to our detriment…our population has to be controlled…we spend billionson outer space..and trillions destroying an unsustainable earth.

  4. Australia is the driest continent in the world yet we seem to feel we can infinitely fill it up with people. The people live on the coastal margins (where our most productive soil is) making it difficult to grow more food. This populate or perish mentality that was established after WWII is no longer relevant to our defense needs (we have technology to protect our borders), and the concept of infinite growth in a finite world has to end, or we all will end rather stickily. The fact we are needing to pump increasing quantities of water from our groundwater reserves to keep pace with growth should be sounding alarm bells in all but the most complacent.

    2 REPLY
  5. All those baby bonuses the Liberal Government handed out are coming to fruit and look how over crowded we are becoming, people are homeless and living on the streets and still they are bring more into the country and 27 thousand this year alone

  6. Sadly as the world population grows and resources become less plentiful there is more often than not a very negative outcome from government bodies and then the USA makes a lot of money.

  7. I have 500 acres and have space to swing the cat. With a growing population, I’m starting to feel hemmed in! I don’t think the increase is for the better as we don’t have the infrastructure, resourses, water or employment. Industry and housing is minimal and our cost of living is beyond normal. If we don’t control our population, things will become a lot worse. Slow down and build first!

  8. I’m particularly concerned about water availability in OZ, especially since mining chews through vast quantities of it without any apparent oversight or regulation from government & fracking seems at least as destructive.

    2 REPLY
    • That is our situation in Rocky. The mines have been allowed to dump their untreated waste water into the Fitzroy River system. We then pump our water from the river. I will not drink it as it made me sick. Successive state governments have bowed to the mining companies and not made them treat the water before dumping into the river. Our council keeps telling us the water is within guidelines. Yea right. This little black duck will not drink it.

  9. I came to Australia when they the government was begging for teachers! My husband a teacher and me a former teacher in California! We came with our two little girls one two,and one nine months! Best decision we ever made! Lots of people from different parts of America as well as California went back! But we decided that we would stay! We have had our ups and downs but love Australia! Would like to be a dual citizen but have found it hard up to now! This was all back in 1971. A world away! But I have lost my husband to Cancer caused by Asbestos exposure! I have had Cancer myself! Am in my seventies,but have two lovely daughters with Australian husbands,and four fantastic grandkids! Also Australian! As it should be! You are the lucky country! And I so enjoy living here! Thanks Australia! Thanks!

    1 REPLY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *