Sunday, March 6, 2011

A graph of Australia's recent population growth.

It's surprisingly hard to find a clear graph of Australia's recent population growth. (See below).

A little background. Australia's annual rate of population growth is bizarrely high. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures for recent quarters have fluctuated between 1.8, 2.1% and 1.7% (the most recent). Depending on which table of world statistics you use, this is between 6 and 4 times the average rate for industrialized countries. Indeed many Third World countries have lower growth rates. For instance Australia's neighbor Indonesia is growing at about 1.2% a year, and making efforts to reduce this figure.

 I went looking for a historical graph of Australia's population,  googled "graph of Australia's population", and was amazed to find nothing very clear or recent. Though the data is readily available from Wikipedia and ABS, no one seemed to have turned it into a graph, except for a rather miniature one labelled "ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION" that ABS provides (for the years 1989 to 2009).

I am indebted to R. Cully for the larger graph below, and for permission to put it in the public domain. Also of course to ABS for the underlying information.  So now we have a good historical graph of how Australia's population has grown over the past 110 years.

From the same sources, here are two maps that disprove two other common myths: 

(1)  that Australia's population growth is due purely to net migration (the surplus of immigrants over emigrants) and owes little to natural increase (the surplus of births over deaths). 

And (2) that the government should pay a baby bonus, because "births in Australia are not keeping up with deaths" (Costello, Bracks, and various lobby groups).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this graph Mark. The graph showing births vs deaths would suggest that Australia has a high birth rate, although I have read that it is around 1.8 per woman.
    Surely our high immigration rate must be distorting the picture by constantly increasing the number of people of child bearing age.