Insights from Australia’s first Population Statement
The impact of COVID-19 is expected to be long lasting. Australia’s population is expected to be smaller and older than projected prior to the onset of the pandemic.
Australia’s population is estimated to be around 4 per cent smaller (1.1 million fewer people) by 30 June 2031 than it would have been in the absence of COVID-19. The population will also be older as a result of reduced net overseas migration and fewer births. Despite COVID-19, Australia’s population is still growing and is expected to reach 28 million during 2028–29, three years later than estimated in the absence of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is projected to slow population growth across all geographic areas, with the duration and magnitude linked to the importance of net overseas migration to different parts of the country.
Capital cities are projected to bear the heaviest impacts, with total population across capital cities estimated to be around 5 per cent lower by 30 June 2031 than in the absence of COVID-19. By contrast, population outside the capital cities is estimated to be around 2 per cent smaller than it would otherwise have been.
The number of people migrating interstate is projected to fall by 12 per cent in 2020–21. This would be the largest year-on-year drop in interstate migration in 40 years and would lead to the lowest rate of interstate migration as a proportion of the population on record.
Melbourne is projected to overtake Sydney to become Australia’s largest city in 2026–27, with a population of 6.2 million by 2030–31, compared to 6.0 million in Sydney.
Slow population growth - 0.2 per cent in 2020–21
Population growth is expected to be the slowest it has been in over a century
A net outflow of 72,000 in 2020–21
Net overseas migration is expected to fall sharply due to COVID-19
1.61 babies per woman in 2020–21
Some families will defer their decision to have children due to COVID-19
Expected 1.1m population reduction
Australia’s population is projected to be 1.1 million lower by 2031 than in pre-COVID-19 projections
Melbourne is projected to overtake Sydney to become Australia’s largest city
Australia’s population is still growing and is expected to reach 28 million during 2028–29, three years later than in the absence of COVID-19.