Dr Lisa Denny

Tasmanian Demographic Analysis SnapShot



Prepared by Dr Lisa Denny
Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania

This inaugural Tasmanian Demographic Analysis SnapShot provides an overview of quarterly statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from the perspective of the state of Tasmania.

The ABS’ Australian Demographic Statistics publication dated 19 September 2019 is a quarterly summary of total resident population estimates for states, territories and Australia as a whole.

Key points:

  • Tasmania’s population is both growing and ageing.
  • To the year ended 31 March 2019 Tasmania’s population grew at a rate of 1.2%, 0.1 percentage points greater than the previous year and lower than the national population growth rate of 1.6%. The annual population growth rate for the previous 5 years is 0.7%.
  • More than 80% of the population growth was sourced from migration (34.8% from net interstate migration and 46.8% from net overseas migration).
  • 4% of Tasmania’s population growth was derived from natural increase (more births than deaths), up 3.0 percentage points from the previous year. However, in 2015 natural increase made more than half (50.2%) of the state’s population growth.
  • Tasmania has now recorded four consecutive years of net migration gains after a four-year period (2010-2014) of net migration losses.
  • The number of interstate arrivals to the state has been increasing since 2015 and is at its highest level since 2004.The number of departures from Tasmania has also increased since 2015, albeit at a slower rate than those arriving.
  • In the year to 31 March 2019, 14,521 people arrived from interstate, while 12,267 left to live elsewhere in Australia. For every 100 people who left Tasmania, 118 people arrived.
  • Tasmania’s population remains the oldest and fastest-ageing state or territory in Australia. At June 2018, the median age[1] of the Tasmanian population was 42.3 years, the highest of all states and territories, compared with the Australian median age of 37.3, which has been stable for three years.
  • A quarter of Tasmanians are aged 65 or over, indicating what demographers refer to as ‘hyper-ageing’[2], the point at which longer term population growth is not considered possible in the absence of sustained net immigration, leading to the likelihood of eventual population decline.

[1] the age at which half the population is older and half is younger

[2] when 20 per cent or more of the population is aged 65 or older.

Australian Overview:
The preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at 31 March 2019 was 25,287,400 people. The annual population growth rate for the year ended 31 March 2019 was 1.6%.
The growth of Australia’s population is comprised of natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) and net overseas migration (NOM).

The contribution to population growth for the year ended 31 March 2019 was higher from NOM (64.2%) than from natural increase (35.8%). The numbers of both births and deaths were lower than the previous year, while NOM was higher by 4.9%.

Tasmanian analysis:
Tasmania’s population grew at a rate of 1.2% for the year ended 31 March 2019, resulting in a five-year annual average growth rate of 0.7%.

Despite this growth, the population is also ageing at a faster rate than the rest of the country, however, in the last year this has slowed. As at June 2018, the median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) of the Tasmanian population increased 0.1 of a year to 42.3 years, the highest of all states and territories, compared with the Australian median age of 37.3 which has been stable for three years.

While the population of Tasmania is growing at its fastest rate this century, it is also still ageing faster than the rest of Australia. A population can be growing and ageing at the same time, as is the case in Tasmania, but this can only happen up to a point.

Natural decline is projected to occur from around 2030 and any future population growth will increasingly need to be sourced from migration. Migration-led growth can be difficult to plan for as it is less predictable and more volatile than growth from natural increase.

Migration is varied, sourced from within Australia and from overseas under a range of visa categories. There are also New Zealanders who have the right to reside in Australia and Australians returning ‘home’. The diversity of these migrants, all with various age and socio-demographic profiles, contributes to the uncertainty in planning for migration-led growth.

Further, there are considerable differences in population change within the State which will be analysed in future Demographic Analysis ShapShots.

Lisa Denny is a demographer and research fellow with the Institute for the Study of Social Change.




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