Thursday, April 08, 2010

The "lucky" country thinks big

The Age is reporting that the Australian Treasury has predicted their population will grow to 36 million by 2050. The roughly matches what the Australian Bureau if Statistics are forecasting as well.

Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) at 30 June 2007 of 21.0 million people is projected to increase to between 30.9 and 42.5 million people by 2056, and to between 33.7 and 62.2 million people by 2101. Series A projects the highest growth, while Series C projects the lowest growth.

In contrast Statistics New Zealand is predicting the following for New Zealand;

Low fertility and the ageing of the large baby boom cohort have raised the prospect of slow or no growth in the future. Regardless of which projection is chosen, the general demographic outlook for New Zealand over the coming decades is for slowing growth, a narrowing gap between births and deaths, and an ageing population. This is a radical departure for a society accustomed to a growing population. Any innovative or expansionist planning or business programme must take account of structural shifts in progress.

This graph is from 2000, but even latest population projections - June 2009 - are only slightly higher:

The latest projections of New Zealand's population have the estimated resident population (provisional) at 30 June 2009 as a base. Projection series 5 presented here assumes that:

* New Zealand women will have 1.90 children each on average in the long-term (below the 2.1 children required for the population to replace itself without migration)
* life expectancy at birth will increase to 85.6 years for males and 88.7 years for females by 2061
* there will be a net migration gain of 10,000 people each year from 2013 onwards.

Given these assumptions, New Zealand's population is projected to grow from 4.32 million in 2009 to 5.15 million in 2031 and 5.75 million in 2061.

There are people who celebrate low or zero population growth. I am not one. The economic reality is that dependency ratios are growing and without an expanding working-age pool (what might be expected from net migration) NZ is facing massive problems.


bez said...

The real problem is not population growth, but economic growth. The causality is (in my opinion) reversed, i.e. we must strive for economic growth, and then the population growth will follow, not the other way around.
As long as we are not prepared to do that, all that will happen is that government will be presiding over a gradual decline of this country in all respects.
The real problem is that NZ has in fact for at least the last six or seven decades been a socialist country and is now simply reaping the consequences of that.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

There's something of the 'chicken and egg' about it. Without the economic growth people won't come and without ambitious and productive people (which returning ex-pats and immigrants typically are) we won't get the economic growth.

StephenR said...

What do you think of Australia's 'Baby Bonus'?

bez said...

Yes, the actual process contains a chicken and egg conundrum, but what 'to strive' for doesn't. Hence my comment re socialist state. As long as the objective or assumed solution is an all controlling state, then economic growth simply cannot happen.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Stephen, Against it. Paying people to produce children always has more downsides than up sides.

Manolo said...

Among the ones who celebrate zero-growth are the backward-looking Greens for whom every newborn is a potential user of Gaia resources.

With the help of their new member, comrade Neville Key (and his trusted advisor "The Mad Doctor" Smith), the lunatics are well poised to send NZ back to the Stone Age.