Population Futures for Australia: the Policy Alternatives


Research Paper 5 1999-2000

Professor Peter McDonald
Rebecca Kippen
Social Policy Group
12 October 1999

Contents

Major Issues
Introduction
Criteria for feasibility
The assumptions of the standard population projection
Future levels of fertility in Australia
The results of the standard population projection
Harry Recher: zero migration and a one-child policy
Con Sciacca and Jeff Kennett: solving our ageing problem through immigration
Tim Flannery: long-term population target of 6-12 million
Malcolm Fraser: 50 million in 50 years
One Nation: zero net migration
A pathway to a smaller population
A pathway to a larger population
A summary diagram: fertility, migration and population growth
A summary diagram: fertility, migration and population size
A faster fall in mortality rates
Government control over the level of annual net migration
Our changing age structure
A summary comment
A population policy for Australia
Endnotes

Major Issues

In recent years, there has been intense debate about the population size to which Australia should aim in the 21st century. Some argue for a much lower population than we have now. The environmentalist, Tim Flannery, for example, has suggested that Australians might opt for a future population of between 6 and 12 million people. Others argue for a considerably larger population. For example, former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, would like to see a population of 45 to 50 million people in the next 50 years. This paper shows that the targets specified by both Flannery and Fraser are unattainable in the next 50 years because such targets can only be reached through levels of immigration which are impossibly negative on one side or impossibly large on the other side.

The demographic reality is that the options for Australia's future population size are much more limited than the options that are considered in popular debate. The limiting factor is our low, and falling, level of fertility. The powerful demographic effects of low fertility have been little appreciated. One of the aims of this paper is to provide such an appreciation. We show that with zero net migration, Australia's projected levels of fertility and mortality would lead to the population rising initially to 20 million and then falling slowly in the first half of next century and rapidly in the second half. The population would age dramatically and the size of the labour force would fall markedly. We argue that these are not desirable outcomes and that, as a consequence, we should seek to have immigration levels which, at the least, lead to zero population growth. A level of net annual migration of around 80 000, in combination with our low fertility rate, would lead to zero population growth in about 25 years and a population size of about 24-25 million.

Given current trends in fertility and mortality, annual net migration to Australia of at least 80 000 persons is necessary to avoid spiralling population decline and substantial falls in the size of the labour force. This level of annual net migration also makes a worthwhile and efficient contribution to the retardation of population ageing. Levels of annual net migration above 80 000 become increasingly ineffective and inefficient in the retardation of ageing. Those who wish to argue for a higher level of immigration must base their argument on the benefits of a larger population, not upon the illusory 'younging power' of high immigration.

The level of about 80 000 is close to the average net migration of the past eight years and of the past 50 years. Thus, if present settings do not change, we are headed towards this outcome. There is an upper limit to annual net migration. We argue that there were difficulties in the late 1980s when net migration rose for just two years to over 150 000 per annum. While it is not possible to be prescriptive, a sustained net migration level of 120 000 per annum is at the high end of what Australia seems to be able to manage. Furthermore, it is little understood that the Australian Government has only a very limited degree of control over the final level of annual net migration. It has almost no control over movements out of the country and little control over long-term (as distinct from permanent) movement into the country. Even major components of permanent movement into the country (New Zealand citizens and spouses or children of Australian residents) are largely beyond the government's control. That is, it is not possible for any Australian government to precisely determine the level of annual net migration. For example, net migration was 72 000 in 1997 and 112 000 in 1998. The increase of 40 000 between these two years was not the outcome of deliberate government policy.

If the desirable range of annual net migration is as narrow as 80 000 to 120 000 and if government is unable to determine this level with any degree of precision, heated debate about immigration levels seems pointless. In these circumstances, the major parties should reconsider the advantages of a bipartisan approach to immigration policy. Our analysis in the paper is based on the assumption that the fertility rate in Australia will not fall below 1.65 births per woman on average in the long term. In our view, population policy for Australia should revolve around ensuring that fertility does not fall below this level.

Introduction

In the 1970s, the Report of the National Population Inquiry (the Borrie Report)(1) placed demography in the centre of discussion about the future of the Australian population. Since the Borrie Report, however, the science of demography has been relatively absent from the population debate.(2) The dominant players in the past two decades have been those concerned with the demographic outputs rather than with the demographic inputs. The demographic inputs (fertility, mortality and migration) in this context have been largely taken for granted, either through an assumption that we can manipulate them at will or, alternatively, that there is nothing we can do to influence their future path. In the absence of science, populism prevails and, as we shall demonstrate, some of the more populist statements made by prominent people about Australia's future population are sheer demographic nonsense.

Like Borrie in his Report of the National Population Inquiry, we are very sceptical of the concept of an optimum population for Australia, or for any other country, simply because circumstances change; the economy changes, the environment changes, the politics change, and demographic components change. Furthermore, most of those calling for a particular target population for Australia consider only the total population size and ignore population composition, particularly age composition. As we demonstrate, age composition cannot be ignored. If the aim is to achieve a particular target size of population, it is insufficient to merely advocate a target number. We must also indicate in demographic terms how that target can be achieved and, more importantly, how that target would be sustained once it has been achieved. To do this, we must re-emphasise the forgotten elements of the population debate, births and deaths, and we must give consideration to the age structure of the population ensuing from our history of births, deaths and migration.

The dominant feature of Australia's long-term population future is not immigration, but the balance between births and deaths and the consequent effects upon the age structure of the population. All industrialised countries now have fertility rates and mortality rates which imply that, in the absence of migration, their populations will fall once the growth effect of current young age structures has passed (about 25 years in Australia's case). The populations of some countries in Europe have already begun to decline. The importance of fertility and mortality is evidenced by the emergence of the ageing of the population as a central demographic issue. Borrie, in 1975, made almost no mention of ageing as a future policy issue. Ageing has recently emerged as an issue because fertility and mortality have both fallen since the mid-1970s to a much greater extent than was envisaged in the Borrie projections. If birth rates were the same at each age today as they were in 1973, there would have been 40 per cent, or 100 000, more births in 1998. If death rates at each age were the same today as they were in 1971-76, there would have been 60 per cent, or 78 000 more deaths in 1998. These are remarkable changes within a short period of time. One hundred thousand less people each year at the young end of the age structure and close to 78 000 more people each year at the old end of the age structure are the reasons ageing of the population has emerged as a policy issue.

During the past 20 years, while these significant changes in fertility and mortality have been altering our demographic future, the policy attention has focused only upon immigration. Debates about the future size of Australia's population and about its age structure have been debates about immigration, with no consideration of possible future variations in levels of fertility and mortality. We consider this to be a very serious error. Immigration can play an important role in shaping population futures, but its impact must be considered in the context of trends in fertility and mortality. The aim here is to consider the demographic feasibility of population paths recommended by various prominent Australians. We conclude that, because of low fertility, the range of options is much more limited than the more populist statements would imply.

Criteria for feasibility

In assessing the demographic feasibility of different future population scenarios, we make use of a set of demographic criteria. The five criteria we use are as follows:

We should aim to avoid excessive ageing of the population

Substantial ageing of the population in the next 40 years is absolutely inevitable and we should be considering policy approaches to deal with it. At the same time, we should avoid future demographic pathways that exacerbate the extent of population ageing.

We should avoid creating a substantial momentum of population decline

At present in Australia, our fertility rate is below the level of generational replacement. That is, those in the childbearing ages today are not having sufficient births to replace themselves. Despite this, there are many more births in Australia than deaths. The reason for this is that, in Australia today, there are large numbers of people in the reproductive ages as a result of the post-war baby-boom, and relatively small numbers at older ages. An age structure configured in this way provides what is termed a momentum for population increase. When a population has a momentum for population increase, it will continue to grow even though its fertility and mortality rates are low.

However, the momentum for population growth inherent in our present age structure will disappear over the next 25 years and from that point, in the absence of immigration, our population would begin to decline. Sustained low fertility and the ageing of our population would then create an age structure that has a momentum for population decline, the reverse of our present situation. As we shall demonstrate, a population with a momentum for decline can fall in size very rapidly, with the decline being difficult to reverse. Thus, a criterion that we specify is that our future population path should avoid creating a substantial momentum for population decline.

We should avoid excessively high or negative numbers of immigrants

Population targets for the future cannot be such that we would have to make people leave Australia in order to achieve the target. Also, there are upper limits to the number of immigrants that we can recruit and settle within any given period of time. Significant problems arose when net migration rose to an average of over 150 000 people per annum in the two-year period 1988-89. Unemployment rates were very high among this group of immigrants relative to those who entered at times of low immigration. Part of the immigration equation has been that, as numbers increase, skill levels decrease. Alternatively, skill levels might be maintained, but the ages of immigrants would have to rise. Sustained levels of net migration above 150 000 per annum could be considered to be excessively high.

As far as possible, we should avoid wide fluctuations in our age structure

Fluctuations in age structure can mean that demand for public services such as education and health services also fluctuate. As these services can involve substantial infrastructure and training costs (schools, teachers, hospitals, doctors, nursing homes), it is more efficient to try to avoid widely fluctuating age structures.

We should avoid a substantial fall in the number of people in the working ages

A substantial fall in the number of people at working ages combined with an increase in the numbers at older ages, depending upon improvements in productivity, could lead to a fall in economic output per capita. Certainly, economic output per capita would be at a considerably lower level than it would have been if the labour force did not decline. There is also an argument that a considerable fall in the size of the economy has features that are undesirable, such as substantial falls in asset values, which, in turn, underpin retirement incomes.

In the discussion that follows, the different scenarios relating to our future population will be tested against these five criteria.

The assumptions of the standard population projection

In this paper, we compare the future populations advocated by various people with a single standard population projection. Our first task is to show the features of this standard. The standard is a standard because it is based upon a projection of current and recent trends into the future. That is, it is the future we will have if there is little change in the demographic paths we are following at present.

The mortality assumption we use in the standard and in all but one of the alternative scenarios is the same as that used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the most recent official projections.(3) With this assumption, the expectation of life at birth increases by about 10 years over the next 100 years. At the end of the discussion, we shall consider a scenario in which the expectation of life increases by 20 years over the next 100 years.(4) Immigrants are assumed to take on the fertility and mortality levels of the Australian population after they arrive in the country.(5)

The standard assumes that annual net migration (ANM) will be 80 000 per year, roughly the average of the past eight years (78 000). The age distribution of immigrants is assumed to be the average of the years 1994-97. This age distribution is used in the standard projection and in all of the scenarios. The recent age structure of immigrants is quite young such that a significantly younger age distribution would be most unlikely unless we were to provide preference to immigrants with children.

Finally, the standard projection assumes that the birth rate (technically, the Total Fertility Rate or TFR)(6) will fall to 1.65 births per woman over the next ten years after which it will remain constant at that level. This assumption requires discussion.

Future levels of fertility in Australia

Table 1 shows the Total Fertility Rate in various industrialised countries in 1997, or in the nearest available year. Australia's fertility rate at 1.78 births per woman is comparatively high on this list and there is at least a potential that our fertility rate could fall to the lower levels now prevailing in most other industrialised countries; fertility has already fallen in Canada, a similar country to Australia in many ways, to 1.64 births per woman.

In general, Table 1 shows that relatively higher fertility rates apply in the English-speaking countries and in the Scandinavian countries. The lowest fertility rates apply in the Southern European and Germanic countries, as well as in Japan. McDonald(7) has argued that this international ranking of countries according to their fertility level matches their ranking on the extent to which they facilitate the employment of mothers in the paid labour force and the extent to which a degree of gender equity applies within the family itself. The countries which, through their social institutions, make it difficult or unrewarding for women to combine work and family, or which provide incentives for mothers to stay at home rather than to be employed, are the countries that have very low fertility. Faced with a choice between an uninterrupted career or having a child and withdrawing from the work force for an extended period, women in these countries often make the decision not to have the child. In short, where countries continue to support or promote the male breadwinner model of the family, fertility falls to very low levels. The consequence for the countries that have had very low rates of fertility is that they are now facing faster and higher levels of ageing than is Australia.

Table 1. Total Fertility Rates, Various Countries, 1997 (or nearest available year)

Country

TFR

Country

TFR

Spain

1.15

Scotland

1.58

Italy

1.22

Canada

1.64

Greece

1.32

France

1.71

Germany

1.36

Luxembourg

1.71

Austria

1.36

England

1.74

Japan

1.44

Denmark

1.75

Portugal

1.46

Finland

1.75

Switzerland

1.48

Australia

1.78

Sweden

1.52

Norway

1.85

Belgium

1.55

New Zealand

2.04

Netherlands

1.57

United States

2.06

In Australia, policy seems to have shifted back to a model that is unfriendly to the combination of work and family. Child care has become more expensive, employment conditions favourable to families with young children are being withdrawn through new industrial agreements, the tax-transfer system is being modified to provide greater benefits to parents who do not work, and the sense of job security has fallen giving rise to uncertainty.

It is no surprise to find that, under these circumstances, Australian fertility has fallen in the 1990s (Table 2) and can be expected to continue to fall. Another indicator of the future trend in fertility is the timing of the first birth. We cannot expect a cessation of fertility decline, or an increase in fertility, while the age at first birth continues to rise.

Table 2. Total Fertility Rate, Australia, 1992-1997

Year

TFR

1992

1.89

1993

1.86

1994

1.85

1995

1.83

1996

1.80

1997

1.78

1998

1.74

Finally, Table 3 shows the regional variation in fertility rates in Australia. Some States and Territories already have fertility rates in the region of 1.65 births per woman and this is the level that now already applies in the combined metropolitan areas.

Table 3. Total Fertility Rates, States and Territories and Capital Cities of Australia, 1997

State/Territory

TFR

City

TFR

New South Wales

1.83

Sydney

1.74

Victoria

1.69

Melbourne

1.61

Queensland

1.80

Brisbane

1.67

South Australia

1.70

Adelaide

1.59

Western Australia

1.79

Perth

1.67

Tasmania

1.80

Hobart

1.64

Northern Territory

2.17

Darwin

1.95

ACT

1.60

Canberra

1.60

Australia

1.78

All capitals

1.67

Thus, the assumption that Australia's fertility will continue to fall over the next decade to at least 1.65 births per woman seems justified. It is very difficult to predict the future course of fertility after this time. However, unless there is a shift in policy direction in Australia, further falls in fertility are possible beyond the next decade. Here, we take the somewhat optimistic assumption that policy makers will recognise that the level of fertility cannot continue to be forced downwards by social policy and that, within the next decade, policies halting further decline will be put in place.

Immigrants are assumed to have the same fertility rates as the rest of the population after they arrive in Australia. While there are wide variations in the levels of fertility among different immigrant groups, this assumption is very close to being correct across all immigrant groups. This is because some of the larger immigrant groups, such as those from the United Kingdom and New Zealand, have lower fertility than the Australian average.(8)

The results of the standard population projection

The results of the standard projection (and of the other scenarios) are presented in two main forms: a series of diagrams (Figure 1) which show the projected numbers in five-year age groups at six points in time (1998, 2018, 2038, 2058, 2078 and 2098) and a table showing outcome measures at the same six points in time.

Figure 1. Selected 'Standard' population pyramids, Australia, 1998-2098

Table 4. 'Standard' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Year

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

1998

18.8

1.0

20.9

12.2

0.73

2018

22.0

0.6

16.7

16.6

0.84

2038

23.9

0.2

15.2

23.1

1.04

2058

24.5

0.0

14.6

25.8

1.15

2078

24.6

0.0

14.2

27.3

1.19

2098

24.7

0.0

14.0

28.5

1.24

In the diagrams, each successive layer from the bottom to the top represents the size of the population in a five-year age group. The male population is depicted on the left side of the diagram and the female population on the right side. The bottom layer is age group 0-4 years, the next is 5-9 years and so on. The second top layer is age group 80-84 years and the top layer is age group 85 years and over. The diagrams relating to years after 1998 all have a grey shadow in the background. This is the size and age structure of the original population in 1998. The shadow allows the projected population to be compared with the original population. The projected population at each age for the given year is indicated by the outer lines of the diagram. The inner lines depict the projected original (1998) population and their descendants, while the gap between the inner lines and the outer lines depicts the immigrants since 1998 and their descendants. Thus, the diagram enables us to see the impact of immigration after 1998 on future population.

The main story of the standard population is that numbers are progressively added at older ages (50 and over) while, at the same time, there is very little change to the size of the population at ages below 50. Thus, the population becomes older, but there is no reduction in the working age population. Immigration has contributed substantially to maintaining the numbers in the labour force ages.

Table 4 shows five outcome measures which relate to each of the six points in time: the size of the total population in millions, the annual rate of growth of the population in the given year (r%), the proportion of the population aged less than 15 years (<15%), the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over (65+%), and an age dependency ratio (DR).(9)

The table for the standard projection shows that the total population increases to just over 24 million by 2058, after which time there is very little further increase in the size of the population. Accordingly, the second column of the table shows that the growth rate would drop close to zero by the middle of next century and remain at zero. Hence, the standard provides a zero population growth scenario from the middle of next century, but one which is achieved through a combination of low fertility and a constant level of migration.

While the numbers aged less than 15 years do not change very much during the 100 years of the projection, the percentage of the population aged less than 15 years falls from 21 per cent to 15 per cent in the next 40 years. Thereafter the percentage of children remains around 14 per cent. The main changes occur at the other end of the age distribution. The proportion aged 65 years and over more than doubles between 1998 and 2058 shifting from 12.2 per cent to 25.8 per cent. After 2058, the proportion at older ages increases at a much slower rate, reflecting the continued fall in mortality rates.

The age dependency ratio also shifts up sharply during the next 60 years after which the changes are more moderate. It is important to realise that the low level of dependency in Australia in 1998 arises from the fact that, in 1998, the age structure is heavily concentrated in the working ages. As we describe below, this is a historically unique situation arising as our age structure shifts from a young to an old age structure. The dependency ratio never has been lower than it is now and never will be again.

The standard projection scores well on all five of the demographic criteria described above. The population ages, but, as we shall see, in comparison with other projections, ageing under the standard is close to the minimum that could be expected. No momentum for population decline is created. The numbers of immigrants, being at the level of recent years, are not excessively high or negative. The age structure is very stable at the younger ages and does not fluctuate, and the numbers in the working ages do not fall. Thus, the standard projection is a good benchmark against which other projections can be compared.

In the following sections, we take quotations of prominent Australians about Australia's future population and examine the demography underlying their statements. We examine the statements of both those who call for a much smaller population and those who call for a much larger population. We have chosen the statements on the basis that they represent a range of viewpoints about Australia's future population. That is, the statements should be seen not so much as representing the views of the person quoted so much as covering a range of views held or expressed in the wider community.

Statement 1. Harry Recher

I would stop immigration - adding more people from any source is an ecological error. Australia also needs a one-child policy. Not China's, which forces people to limit themselves to one child. But a policy in which people aspire to no more than one child. We may then avoid asking our daughters, granddaughters or great granddaughters to have no children.

Harry Recher, Professor of Environmental Management
Edith Cowan University
11 July 1997 (World Population Day)

Harry Recher: zero migration and a one-child policy

In this projection, fertility is assumed to fall immediately to 1.0 births per woman and annual net migration is set to zero. The mortality assumption of the standard applies. This projection allows us to demonstrate the power of low fertility, something which we believe is little understood. If, on average, each woman has one child, then the size of each successive generation will be half the size of the previous generation. A demographic generation, the mean age at childbearing, is about 30 years. Literally applied, the Recher approach would reduce Australia's population to 5 million by 2098. Sustained low fertility would then lead to less than half a million by the end of the next century and, soon afterwards, the population would disappear. If we call for a one-child policy, we need to specify how and when it would be reversed as reversed it would need to be.

This projection fails on several of the criteria. Ageing of the population occurs at a much faster rate than for the standard. By 2058, 44 per cent of the population would be aged 65 years and over compared to 26 per cent for the standard. By 2098, 50 per cent of the population would be aged 65 years and over. The undercutting of the age structure also creates an enormous momentum for future population decline. Cessation of the decline at some point would require a very large increase in fertility; if all our daughters do indeed have one child, we would have to ask our grand-daughters to have four children each in order to stop the decline of population. Having a one-child policy for a period and then reversing to a high level of fertility would lead to violent fluctuations in age structure. This projection also leads to a very sharp fall in the numbers at working ages. On the other hand, as a zero migration projection, the number of immigrants is not negative or excessively high.

From a social perspective, the Recher approach tends to assume that fertility can be engineered according to our preference. All the evidence of the determinants of fertility rates is contrary to this view.

Figure 2. Selected 'Recher' population pyramids, Australia, 1998-2098

Table 5. 'Standard' and 'Recher' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

Recher

Std

Recher

Std

Recher

Std

Recher

Std

Recher

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

0.0

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

18.3

0.6

-0.4

16.7

10.6

16.6

19.4

0.84

0.75

2038

23.9

16.0

0.2

-1.2

15.2

7.9

23.1

32.2

1.04

1.22

2058

24.5

12.0

0.0

-1.8

14.6

6.7

25.8

43.7

1.15

2.01

2078

24.6

7.9

0.0

-2.4

14.2

5.9

27.3

47.1

1.19

2.02

2098

24.7

5.0

0.0

-2.1

14.0

5.8

28.5

50.0

1.24

2.20

Statement 2a. Con Sciacca

I believe there are terrific arguments calling for higher immigration...immigration has been and will continue to be terrific for this country...it could well help us solve our ageing problem.

Canberra Times, 20 February 1999

Statement 2b. Jeff Kennett

...Australia has an ageing population...without immigration our population is going to get older, there'll be less people to provide and look after the elderly...there should be increased immigration.

3LO Radio, 19 April 1999

Con Sciacca and Jeff Kennett: solving our ageing problem through immigration

There is no question that immigration, at least the first 80 000 immigrants, provides a worthwhile reduction in the extent of ageing of the population. However, immigration cannot 'solve our ageing problem'. Substantial ageing of the Australian population over the coming decades is absolutely inevitable. To illustrate the lack of power that immigration has in relation to our age structure, we investigate the levels of immigration that would be required to maintain the proportion of the population aged 65 and over at its present level of 12.2 per cent. In doing this, we maintain the fertility and mortality assumptions of the standard but allow annual net migration to change.

To achieve our aim, enormous numbers of immigrants would be required, starting in 1998 at 200 000 per annum, rising to 4 million per annum by 2048 and to 30 million per annum by 2098 (Table 6). By the end of next century with these levels of immigration, our population would have reached almost one billion. This is obviously not what Mr Sciacca nor Mr Kennett had in mind, but it is important that the message is heard that our population cannot be kept young through immigration.(10) The problem is that immigrants, like the rest of the population, get older and as they do, to keep the population young, we would need an increasingly higher number of immigrants.

This projection obviously has excessively high levels of immigration.

Table 6. Annual Net Migration (ANM) required for the 'Sciacca/Kennett' projection

Year

ANM

(millions)

Year

ANM

(millions)

Year

ANM

(millions)

Year

ANM

(millions)

1998

0.2

2023

1.4

2048

4.0

2073

10.9

2003

0.4

2028

1.4

2053

5.2

2078

14.3

2008

0.8

2033

1.8

2058

6.2

2083

18.6

2013

1.0

2038

2.2

2063

7.3

2088

24.0

2018

1.2

2043

3.0

2068

8.7

2093

30.4

Figure 3. Selected 'Sciacca/Kennett' population pyramids, Australia, 1998-2098

Table 7. 'Standard' and 'Sciacca/Kennett' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

S/K

Std

S/K

Std

S/K

Std

S/K

Std

S/K

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

1.6

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

34.2

0.6

4.0

16.7

18.8

16.6

12.2

0.84

0.70

2038

23.9

71.1

0.2

3.6

15.2

19.1

23.1

12.2

1.04

0.70

2058

24.5

161.4

0.0

4.4

14.6

19.1

25.8

12.2

1.15

0.70

2078

24.6

374.0

0.0

4.4

14.2

19.1

27.3

12.2

1.19

0.70

2098

24.7

929.5

0.0

4.7

14.0

19.2

28.5

12.2

1.24

0.70

Statement 3. Tim Flannery

Virtually all hunter-gatherer societies seem to possess a 'golden rule' of population. This is, that in 'normal' times, the human population of a given area rarely exceeds 20-30 per cent of the carrying capacity of the land...If this were done, Australians might decide upon an optimum, long-term population target of 6-12 million.

Tim Flannery, Senior Research Scientist
Australian Museum in Sydney
The Future Eaters 1997

Tim Flannery: long-term population target of 6-12 million

In this projection, we aim to achieve a population of 12 million (the upper end of Flannery's target) over a period of 50 years. The fertility and mortality assumptions of the standard are used but net migration is assumed to be an annual constant number to the point where the target is reached. Once the target is reached, net migration is varied to maintain the target population at 12 million.

The main point to note here is that, to achieve the aim of this projection, we would have to remove 100 000 persons net from Australia every year for the next 50 years. However, to keep the population at 12 million once that target had been reached, we would have to switch to positive immigration from 2048 onwards. Thus, the projection fails the criterion that net migration should not be negative. It also fails the test of maintaining the size of the labour force, but this would be expected if we are aiming at a much smaller population than we have now. The age structures of this projection are interesting in that initially the population becomes much older than the standard (36 per cent aged 65 years and over in 2048 compared to 24 per cent for the standard). However, after 2048, the population becomes younger again, ending in 2098 with a very similar age structure to that of the standard. Thus, this projection leads to severely fluctuating age structures.

Substantial population decline is difficult to achieve in anything but the very long term because of the momentum for population increase inherent in Australia's present age structure.

Table 8. Annual Net Migration (ANM) required for the 'Flannery' projection

Year

ANM

('000)

Year

ANM

('000)

Year

ANM

('000)

Year

ANM

('000)

1998

-103

2023

-103

2048

138

2073

56

2003

-103

2028

-103

2053

113

2078

48

2008

-103

2033

-103

2058

93

2083

37

2013

-103

2038

-103

2063

75

2088

28

2018

-103

2043

-103

2068

63

2093

22

Figure 4. Selected 'Flannery' population pyramids, 1998-2098

Table 9. 'Standard' and 'Flannery' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

Flannery

Std

Flannery

Std

Flannery

Std

Flannery

Std

Flannery

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

-0.1

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

17.6

0.6

-0.7

16.7

15.2

16.6

19.5

0.84

0.93

2038

23.9

14.4

0.2

-1.7

15.2

12.6

23.1

32.2

1.04

1.42

2058

24.5

12.0

0.0

0.0

14.6

12.7

25.8

32.7

1.15

1.44

2078

24.6

12.0

0.0

0.0

14.2

14.8

27.3

26.5

1.19

1.14

2098

24.7

12.0

0.0

0.0

14.0

14.3

28.5

27.2

1.24

1.21

Statement 4. Malcolm Fraser

If we believe we can maintain Australia at 18 or 20 million people without increasing envy, without marginalising ourselves, without challenge, then we are gravely and seriously mistaken...Australia's population has grown 2 1/2 times since 1945. There is no reason at all why we could not grow 2 1/2 times again by the middle of next century. We would then be a nation of 45 million to 50 million people.

Weekend Australian, May 3-4 1997

Malcolm Fraser: 50 million in 50 years

In this projection, we assume that fertility and mortality will follow the path of the standard projection, but that migration will be set at a constant annual figure for the next 50 years such that a population of 50 million would be reached in 2048.

The constant annual number of immigrants that would be needed if we were to reach 50 million in 50 years is 463 000 (Table 10). This is clearly above any level of immigration that could be realistically achieved. Once 50 million had been reached in 2048, we would require a period of negative migration in order to avoid overshooting the 50 million mark.

In the first 50 years, this projected population is noticeably younger and less dependent than the standard, but by 2098, it has the same age distribution as the standard. It is interesting to note that, despite vastly different assumptions about immigration, the 'Flannery' projection, the 'Fraser' projection and the standard all end in 100 years time with the same age structure. This is because the level of immigration has little impact on age structure in the long-term. In order of significance, age structure in the long-term is determined by fertility, mortality and the age distribution of immigrants, and these are the same in all three projections.

Our population cannot continue to grow at the rate of the last fifty years. The reason for this is that the fertility rate today is only half of what it was in the first 25 years after the Second World War. If current fertility was double the prevailing rate, we would have an additional 250 000 births each year. Because 250 000 people per year are not added through births in this projection, they have to be added through immigration, resulting in an unsustainably high level of immigration.

Table 10. Annual Net Migration (ANM) required for the 'Fraser' projection

Year

ANM

('000)

Year

ANM

('000)

Year

ANM

('000)

Year

ANM

('000)

1998

463

2023

463

2048

-99

2073

131

2003

463

2028

463

2053

-29

2078

150

2008

463

2033

463

2058

35

2083

167

2013

463

2038

463

2063

79

2088

180

2018

463

2043

463

2068

109

2093

186

Figre 5. Selected 'Fraser' population pyramids, Australia, 1998-2089

Table 11. 'Standard' and 'Fraser' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

Fraser

Std

Fraser

Std

Fraser

Std

Fraser

Std

Fraser

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

2.9

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

31.1

0.6

2.0

16.7

18.6

16.6

13.1

0.84

0.73

2038

23.9

43.9

0.2

1.4

15.2

17.1

23.1

16.8

1.04

0.83

2058

24.5

50.0

0.0

0.0

14.6

15.5

25.8

22.6

1.15

1.03

2078

24.6

50.0

0.0

0.0

14.2

13.9

27.3

28.0

1.19

1.23

2098

24.7

50.0

0.0

0.0

14.0

13.9

28.5

29.2

1.24

1.25

Statement 5. One Nation

The justification for our policy of not exceeding zero net immigration is that environmentally Australia is near her carrying capacity. Economically immigration is unsustainable and socially, if continued as is, will lead to an ethnically divided Australia...on current demographics our population will exceed 23 million even if immigration is cut to zero net immediately...To aim for population stability in Australia, the immigration intake will be restricted to zero net migration."

Pauline Hanson's One Nation
Immigration, Population and Social Cohesion Policy
2 July 1998

One Nation: zero net migration

We assume that in the 'One Nation' projection, fertility and mortality follow the path of the standard while annual net migration falls immediately to zero and remains at zero. This is an important projection because its comparison with the standard projection indicates the long-term power of low fertility to reduce our population and the impact upon our age structure of a moderate level of immigration.

Under the 'One Nation' projection, the population initially rises to just over 20 million (not 23 million as stated in the above quotation) and then slowly falls to the present population level by 2048. After that, however, the population begins to fall rapidly because of the momentum for population decline that is created in the first 50 years. Declining at the rate of 0.6 per cent per annum, at some point the brakes would have to be applied through the re-establishing of an immigration program. This may be difficult to do once we have lost the art of absorbing immigrants. The statement in the quotation that we can achieve 'population stability' through zero net migration is demonstrably false.

The projected age structure is the other main problem with the 'One Nation' approach. The population would be significantly older and more dependent than is the case with the standard population and there would be substantial falls in the number of people at working ages. With the low level of fertility used in this projection, the first 100 000 immigrants have a significant impact on the ageing of the population, but, beyond that level, immigration is an inefficient approach to ageing.

Figure 6. Selected 'One Nation' population pyramids, Australia 1998-2098

Table 12. 'Standard' and 'One Nation' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

O.N.

Std

O.N

Std

O.N.

Std

O.N.

Std

O.N.

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

0.5

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

20.1

0.6

0.1

16.7

16.1

16.6

17.7

0.84

0.87

2038

23.9

19.8

0.2

-0.4

15.2

14.4

23.1

26.0

1.04

1.15

2058

24.5

17.9

0.0

-0.6

14.6

13.6

25.8

29.2

1.15

1.28

2078

24.6

15.8

0.0

-0.7

14.2

13.1

27.3

31.1

1.19

1.35

2098

24.7

13.9

0.0

-0.6

14.0

12.9

28.5

32.6

1.24

1.41

A pathway to a smaller population

Here, we attempt to formulate a more moderate pathway to a smaller population. Once again, the standard mortality assumption is used, but now fertility is allowed to fall to 1.5 births per woman (over 15 years). A fall in fertility to a level of 1.5 births per woman might be expected if we continue the family-unfriendly policies of recent years. Annual net migration is set at 50 000 per annum.

Under these assumptions, the population rises to just over 21 million by 2038 and then begins to fall. The resulting population is somewhat older than the standard. Eventually, immigration may have to be increased to slow the rate of population decline.

Figure 7. Selected 'Smaller population' pyramids, Australia 1998-2098

Table 13. 'Standard' and 'Smaller population' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

Small

Std

Small

Std

Small

Std

Small

Std

Small

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

0.8

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

21.0

0.6

0.3

16.7

15.7

16.6

17.2

0.84

0.83

2038

23.9

21.7

0.2

-0.2

15.2

13.8

23.1

24.8

1.04

1.07

2058

24.5

20.7

0.0

-0.3

14.6

12.8

25.8

28.5

1.15

1.22

2078

24.6

19.2

0.0

-0.4

14.2

12.4

27.3

30.8

1.19

1.29

2098

24.7

17.8

0.0

-0.4

14.0

12.3

28.5

31.8

1.24

1.34

A pathway to a larger population

Here, we attempt to formulate a more moderate pathway to a larger population. The standard mortality assumption is again applied but fertility is assumed to remain at its 1998 level of 1.74 births per woman. Cessation of the fall in fertility implies a reversal of the family-unfriendly policies of recent years. Annual net migration is set at 120 000.

Under this projection, the population rises throughout the projection period, reaching 29 million in 2058 and 33 million in 2098. The age structure is only slightly younger than the standard and dependency is slightly lower. This again illustrates that a large immigration program will not keep our population young.

Figure 8. Selected ' Larger population' pyramids, Australia 1998-2098

Table 14. 'Standard' and 'Larger population' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

Large

Std

Large

Std

Large

Std

Large

Std

Large

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

1.2

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

23.2

0.6

0.9

16.7

17.8

16.6

15.9

0.84

0.84

2038

23.9

26.7

0.2

0.5

15.2

16.5

23.1

21.4

1.04

1.01

2058

24.5

29.1

0.0

0.4

14.6

16.0

25.8

23.6

1.15

1.09

2078

24.6

31.1

0.0

0.3

14.2

15.6

27.3

24.9

1.19

1.13

2098

24.7

33.1

0.0

0.3

14.0

15.3

28.5

26.2

1.24

1.18

A summary diagram: fertility, migration and population growth

As the mortality rate is the same in all of the above projections, they may all be depicted on a diagram that plots the fertility rate against the level of immigration. This is done in Figure 9. The curved line running across the diagram represents the combinations of fertility and constant annual net migration that would yield a zero rate of population growth within 50 years; the point representing the standard projection lies on this line. The area above the line represents combinations that lead to long-term population growth and the area below the line represents combinations that lead to long-term population decline. All the projections that we have discussed are plotted on the diagram. It is evident from what we have shown that the demographic acceptability of a projection can be roughly measured in terms of its distance from this line.

Those who are interested in a larger population for Australia speak only of increasing the migrant intake. The diagram shows, however, that the level of immigration required to achieve even zero population growth would be 120 000 if fertility fell to 1.5 births per woman and 150 000 if fertility fell to 1.4 births per woman. With annual net migration at 150 000, we are nudging into the excessively high region by our criterion. As we move from right to left along the line on the diagram, that is, to combinations that have higher migration and lower fertility, the age structure of the population becomes older. Those who are interested in a larger population for Australia should be interested in slowing and eventually stopping the decline of our birth rate. If business organisations want a larger population, they need to take a real interest in family friendly policies to arrest the decline in fertility.

A summary diagram: fertility, migration and population size

The line in Figure 10 indicates the eventual size of the population resulting from the combinations of fertility and net migration that lead to zero population growth in Figure 9. For example, a combination of fertility at 1.65 births per woman with 80 000 immigrants leads to the population stabilising within fifty years at just over 24 million.(11) If the combination is 1.5 births per woman and 115 000 immigrants, the eventual size of the population would be 26 million and so on. That is, for those who are interested in a smaller eventual population for Australia, a better result is obtained with combinations of moderately high (below replacement) fertility and low immigration. Such a combination would also lead to a younger population.

Thus, whether one's interest is a large population or a small population, that interest is better served by ending the fall in our fertility rate. A fall in fertility to levels such as those now applying in Southern and Eastern Europe, the Germanic countries and Japan is not in anyone's interest. In regard to population policy for Australia, we are not advocating that the fertility rate should rise. Rather, we are warning that it is very much in the nation's interest to stop fertility declining below about 1.6 births per woman.(12) Levels of fertility somewhat below this would place us in a situation where our population directions would be less controllable. The population would age to a greater extent and more rapidly and we would create a substantial momentum for future population decline that would be difficult to reverse.

Figure 9. Population growth according to combinations of fertility and migration

Figure 10. Final Population size according to combinations of fertility and migration

A faster fall in mortality rates

So far, we have assumed that the expectation of life at birth will rise by about 10 years for both men and women over the next century. This is consistent with the assumption presently used in the latest official projections made by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Over the past century, however, mortality rates have been dropping faster than is the case under this assumption; the increase in expectation of life has been about 20 years. Recently, the rate of improvement in mortality has been even greater, with the expectation of life increasing by five years over the last two decades. Most of this change has taken place at the older ages. A more rapid fall in mortality rates in the future than has been assumed in the ABS projections probably implies an increasing degree of control over diseases such as cancer. This seems at least a possibility during a period as long as 100 years.

In the projection illustrated in Figure 11, fertility and migration are assumed to follow the paths of the standard projection, but expectation of life improves by about 20 years over the next century. Under this projection, the population at the end of the next century would be almost four million larger than the population of the standard projection. Furthermore, almost all of the additional four million people would be aged 75 years and over. By the end of the century, the proportion aged 65 years and over would be 36.9 per cent compared to 28.5 per cent for the standard, and the age dependency ratio would be much higher. Much of this additional ageing would occur in the next 50 years. There would be virtually no changes, compared to the standard, in the numbers at younger ages.

Population ageing will be much greater than indicated in the official projections if falls in mortality continue the trend of the past century. The key will be the extent of control over cancer mortality.

Figure 11. Selected 'Older population' pyramids, Australia, 1998-2098

Table 15. 'Standard' and 'Older population' projection statistics, Australia, 1998-2098

Total population (millions)

r%

<15%

65+%

DR

Year

Std

Old

Std

Old

Std

Old

Std

Old

Std

Old

1998

18.8

18.8

1.0

1.0

20.9

20.9

12.2

12.2

0.73

0.73

2018

22.0

22.1

0.6

0.7

16.7

16.6

16.6

16.9

0.84

0.85

2038

23.9

24.8

0.2

0.4

15.2

14.8

23.1

25.1

1.04

1.11

2058

24.5

26.3

0.0

0.2

14.6

13.7

25.8

30.1

1.15

1.31

2078

24.6

27.4

0.0

0.2

14.2

12.9

27.3

33.9

1.19

1.46

2098

24.7

28.3

0.0

0.2

14.0

12.3

28.5

36.9

1.24

1.60

Government control over the level of annual net migration

In 1998, annual net migration for Australia was 111 600. The breakdown of this figure is given in Table 16. It is little understood that government policy in regard to migration (the Migration Program) relates only to the first of the figures in Table 16, the number of permanent arrivals. Furthermore, only 56 123 of the 81 065 persons who arrived permanently in Australia in 1998 were part of the Migration Program. The others arrived mainly from New Zealand. Of the 56 123 permanent arrivals who arrived as part of the Migration Program, 21 142 arrived under the family reunion category. As these were mainly spouses and children of Australian residents, the government also had little control over the size of this movement. In total, 471 000 people in 1998 moved either in or out of Australia on a permanent or long-term basis or they changed their category of movement from short to long term or vice versa (net). The government had control through its Migration Program over about 10 per cent of these movements. For the other 90 per cent, movement was related to marriage, relative economic conditions in Australia compared to other countries, holidaying, movement of students, demands for particular skills in Australia or in other countries and other factors. Government immigration policy relates to only a very small fraction of the movements that contribute to annual net migration.

Table 16. Annual Net Migration, Australia, 1998

Permanent arrivals

81 065

Long-term arrivals

187 318

268 383

Permanent departures

33 433

Long-term departures

146 169

179 602

Excess of arrivals over departures

88 781

Category jumping(13)

22 819

Net overseas migration

111 600

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Demographic Statistics, March Quarter 1999, Catalogue No. 3101.0

Many developed countries today have very low fertility rates (Table 1) and some are already experiencing population decline. In this context, the international competition for skilled labour is likely to increase. European countries facing shortages of labour in the future will be in competition with the traditional immigrant countries. Indeed, well-qualified young Australians in industries such as information technology are already in demand in other countries and this trend is likely to increase. Thus, in future, our skilled migration program may need to be increased simply to offset losses of Australians to other countries. This is the situation that New Zealand already faces.

Given the relative lack of control that the Government has over annual net migration, the setting of annual targets for the components over which the Government does have control is probably the correct approach. However, as discussed at the end, this might be done within a framework of longer-term population objectives for Australia.

Our changing age structure

The past and future of Australia's age structure can be characterised in fundamental demographic terms. In 1971, our age structure, following a period of high fertility, had the shape of a pyramid except for a small irregularity arising from low fertility during the Depression. The pyramid is the classic shape of a population that is growing. As fertility has fallen, our age structure is moving towards a beehive shape, the shape that results from a combination of below replacement fertility and positive net migration. However, our future age structure depends on the future course of the demographic components. There are two main possibilities. The zero-growth, beehive shape, will be maintained across the next century if the fertility level remains around 1.6 to 1.7 births per woman and net migration is in the region of 60-100 thousand per annum. Higher levels of immigration within a range that is reasonable will ultimately only add people to the population and make little difference to the age structure. The other main possibility is a shift to a coffin-shaped age structure, resulting from zero migration and a lower level of fertility. This is the classic shape of a population that is declining in size. Its age structure is much older than that of the beehive-shaped age structure. The beehive-shaped age structure also has a relative concentration of people in the working ages. The change in our age structure from 1971 and the two alternative future age structures are shown in Figure 12.

The ageing of Australia's population represents a fundamental, historical demographic change. The shift from a pyramid-shaped age structure is likely to occur only once in our history. A return to the pyramid shape would require a return to the fertility of the 1960s; twice as high as the present level of fertility. This seems extremely unlikely. From a population policy perspective, our choice now is between the beehive-shaped age structure and the coffin-shaped age structure. Based on our five criteria, the beehive shape is clearly the superior option.

Figure 12. Selected Beehive and coffin population pyramids, Australia 1971-2098

A summary comment

This paper has argued that Australia's future population options are much more limited than many commentators have suggested. Low fertility is the principal limiting factor, but our options in regard to future levels of migration are also constrained. It is demographic nonsense to suggest that Australia should pursue a one-child policy. It is demographic nonsense to believe that immigration can help to keep our population young. No reasonable population policy can keep our population young. It is demographic nonsense to suggest that Australia's population can be reduced to 12 million or increased to 50 million within the next 50 years, especially when those who suggest the latter outcome are those who also promote current policies which push down our fertility rate.

A population policy for Australia must give due recognition to demographic realities. Our future population is not simply a matter of picking a number that may seem good for business on one hand or good for the environment on the other. It is foolish for us to be wasting time arguing the relative merits of outcomes that are clearly unachievable. It is foolish to specify a number without considering the age composition of the population. While we cannot avoid substantial ageing of our population, it is advisable for us to be considering population futures that minimise the extent of ageing. When fertility is around 1.6-1.7 births per woman, immigration levels up to 100 000 per annum make a significant difference to the extent of ageing. On the other hand, it is foolish to ignore the continuing fall in our fertility rate and to focus only upon immigration as the lever for population policy.

A population policy for Australia

The arguments are strong for avoiding demographic pathways that would lead to a declining Australian population. A declining population inevitably develops a coffin-shaped age structure and, hence, a substantial momentum for population decline. A declining population would mean a reduction in the size of the labour force as well as an increase in the numbers at older ages. To avoid the 'charge of being politically irrelevant' through recommending a declining population, Doug Cocks(14), a person with strong environmental credentials, has advocated that we should aim to 'stabilise' Australia's future population size. That is, we should be aiming at zero population growth. On the basis of our criteria, we agree that this should be the lower end of any acceptable range of future population outcomes for Australia. The standard projection scenario described above takes us to a population of 24-25 million within 50 years, after which the rate of population growth would be close to zero.(15) The implication of accepting this pathway as the lower end of any acceptable range is that zero net migration, as advocated by One Nation and the Australian Democrats, is not a sensible option. Indeed, to avoid long-term population decline, annual net migration would need to be in the order of 80 000 if fertility falls to a level of about 1.65 births per woman, as we suggest is likely. If fertility were to fall below this level, higher levels of net migration would be required to achieve zero growth, and the resulting population size would be larger than the 24-25 million that results from the standard projection scenario.

From an environmental perspective, a smaller population is not a substitute for an ecologically sustainable future. False hopes that population decline is a realistic option for Australia detract from the need for environmental reform.

The upper end of any demographically acceptable range of future population outcomes for Australia depends upon the future course of fertility. As we have argued, annual net migration of 150 000 per annum seems to be beyond our present absorptive capacities but, if fertility were to fall to 1.4 births per woman, a net migration level of 150 000 would merely lead to zero population growth, the lower end of our acceptable range. Thus, those who wish to maintain population growth would do well to note the course of fertility. While it is impossible to be precise, an annual net migration level of 120 000 seems about as high as we should extend under present conditions.

If the lower limit of annual net migration is about 80 000 and the upper limit is about 120 000 and if, as we have argued above, government has only a very limited degree of control over the level of annual net migration, political agreement about the setting of annual targets in the Migration Program should not be difficult. A bipartisan approach to immigration policy has served Australia well in the past and we see little reason why this should not be the aim of the major parties today.

Australia's future population will be largely determined by future levels of fertility and mortality. These cannot be predicted with accuracy. Thus, planning for a future population will always be a matter of adjustment to new demographic realities. Accordingly, it is not sensible to specify particular discrete population targets. However, it is possible to conclude that, in the new era of low fertility and low mortality, we are limited to a choice between approximately zero population growth on one side and slow growth on the other.

Endnotes

  1. National Population Inquiry 1975, Population and Australia: A Demographic Analysis and Projection, 2 volumes, Canberra: AGPS.

  2. The notable exception is the work of Christabel Young.

  3. The ABS projections are for 50 years. We extrapolate the trends inherent in the ABS mortality assumption for a further 50 years. Also, as the ABS does not publish the age-specific mortality rates used in its projection, our rates may be slightly different from the ABS rates.

  4. The latter trend is more in keeping with the trend in improvement of expectation of life over the past 140 years and is even a little slower than the trend over the past 20 years, during which expectation of life has risen by about five years.

  5. In reality, immigrants have slightly lower mortality but the small difference is not significant in this context.

  6. The Total Fertility Rate is the sum of the age specific fertility rates in a given year. It measures the average number of births that a group of women would have if they experienced the birth rates applying at each age in a given year.

  7. P. McDonald, 'Gender equity, social institutions and the future of fertility', Working Paper No. 69, Canberra: Demography Program, Australian National University, 1997.

  8. M. Abbasi-Shavazi, 'The fertility of immigrant women in Australia', People and Place 6 (3), 1998.

  9. The measure is [3P(0-19) + 5P(60+)]/4P(20-59) where P(i) is the population in age group i. This is a measure used in N. Ryder, 'Migration and population replacement', Canadian Studies in Population 24(1), 1997: 1-26. Reflecting relative costs, the age group, 0-19 years, has a lesser weighting than age group 60 years and over.

  10. See also P. McDonald and R. Kippen, 'The Impact of Immigration on the Ageing of Australia's Population', Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Discussion Paper, May 1999.

  11. For the purposes of this diagram, the improvement in mortality ceases after 50 years after which mortality is constant. This condition is applied so that zero population growth is achieved in the 50-year period after 2048.

  12. There is a social or family policy argument that institutional constraints are forcing couples to have fewer children than they would prefer to have. Here, we are only concerned with population policy.

  13. Category jumpers are persons who, after entering or leaving Australia, change their stated period of stay or absence from short to long-term, or vice-versa. The figure for category jumping is the net result of the four possible changes.

  14. D. Cocks, People Policy: Australia's Population Choices, Sydney: UNSW Press, Chapter 14, 1996.

  15. The population would increase very slowly if mortality rates continued to fall.

 
 

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