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These population projections were prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for Geoscience Australia. The projections are not official ABS data and are owned by Geoscience Australia.

These projections are for Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2s) and Local Government Areas (LGAs), and are projected out from a base population as at 30 June 2022, by age and sex. Projections are for 30 June 2023 to 2032, with results disaggregated by age and sex.

Method
The cohort-component method was used for these projections. In this method, the base population is projected forward annually by calculating the effect of births, deaths and migration (the components) within each age-sex cohort according to the specified fertility, mortality and overseas and internal migration assumptions.

The projected usual resident population by single year of age and sex was produced in four successive stages – national, state/territory, capital city/rest of state, and finally SA2s. Assumptions were made for each level and the resulting projected components and population are constrained to the geographic level above for each year.

These projections were derived from a combination of assumptions published in Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071 on 23 November 2023, and historical patterns observed within each state/territory.

Projections – capital city/rest of state regions
The base population is 30 June 2022 Estimated Resident Population (ERP) as published in National, state and territory population, June 2022.

For fertility, the total fertility rate (at the national level) is based on the medium assumption used in Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071, of 1.6 babies per woman being phased in from 2022 levels over five years to 2027, before remaining steady for the remainder of the projection span. Observed state/territory, and greater capital city level fertility differentials were applied to the national data so that established trends in the state and capital city/rest of state relativities were preserved.

Mortality rates are based on the medium assumption used in Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071, and assume that mortality rates will continue to decline across Australia with state/territory differentials persisting. State/territory and capital city/rest of state differentials were used to ensure projected deaths are consistent with the historical trend.

Annual net overseas migration (NOM) is based on the medium assumption used in Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071, with an assumed gain (at the national level) of 400,000 in 2022-23, increasing to 315,000 in 2023-24, then declining to 225,000 in 2026-27, after which NOM is assumed to remain constant. State and capital city/rest of state shares are based on a weighted average of NOM data from 2010 to 2019 at the state and territory level to account for the impact of COVID-19.

For internal migration, net gains and losses from states and territories and capital city/rest of state regions are based on the medium assumption used in Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071, and assume that net interstate migration will trend towards long-term historic average flows.

Projections – Statistical Areas Level 2
The base population for each SA2 is the estimated resident population in each area by single year of age and sex, at 30 June 2022, as published in Regional population by age and sex, 2022 on 28 September 2023.

The SA2-level fertility and mortality assumptions were derived by combining the medium scenario state/territory assumptions from Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071, with recent fertility and mortality trends in each SA2 based on annual births (by sex) and deaths (by age and sex) published in Regional Population, 2021-22 and Regional Population by Age and Sex, 2022.

Assumed overseas and internal migration for each SA2 is based on SA2-specific annual overseas and internal arrivals and departures estimates published in Regional Population, 2021-22 and Regional Population by Age and Sex, 2022. The internal migration data was strengthened with SA2-specific data from the 2021 Census, based on the usual residence one year before Census night question. Assumptions were applied by SA2, age and sex.

Assumptions were adjusted for some SA2s, to provide more plausible future population levels, and age and sex distribution changes, including areas where populations may not age over time, for example due to significant resident student and defence force populations. Most assumption adjustments were made via the internal migration component. For some SA2s with zero or a very small population base, but where significant population growth is expected, replacement migration age/sex profiles were applied.

All SA2-level components and projected projections are constrained to the medium series of capital city/rest of state data in Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071.

Projections – Local Government Areas
The base population for each LGA is the estimated resident population in each area by single year of age and sex, at 30 June 2022, as published in Regional population by age and sex, 2022 on 28 September 2023.

Projections for 30 June 2023 to 2032 were created by converting from the SA2-level population projections to LGAs by age and sex. This was done using an age-specific population correspondence, where the data for each year of the projection span were converted based on 2021 population shares across SA2s. The LGA and SA2 projections are congruous in aggregation as well as in isolation.

Unlike the projections prepared at SA2 level, no LGA-specific projection assumptions were used.

Nature of projections and considerations for usage
The nature of the projection method and inherent fluctuations in population dynamics mean that care should be taken when using and interpreting the projection results. The projections are not forecasts, but rather illustrate future changes which would occur if the stated assumptions were to apply over the projection period.

These projections do not attempt to allow for non-demographic factors such as major government policy decisions, economic factors, catastrophes, wars and pandemics, which may affect future demographic behaviour.

To illustrate a range of possible outcomes, alternative projection series for national, state/territory and capital city/rest of state areas, using different combinations of fertility, mortality, overseas and internal migration assumptions, are prepared. Alternative series are published in Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071. Only one series of SA2-level projections was prepared for this product.

Population projections can take account of planning and other decisions by governments known at the time the projections were derived, including sub-state projections published by each state and territory government. The ABS generally does not have access to the policies or decisions of commonwealth, state and local governments and businesses that assist in accurately forecasting small area populations.

Migration, especially internal migration, accounts for the majority of projected population change for most SA2s. Volatile and unpredictable small area migration trends, especially in the short-term, can have a significant effect on longer-term projection results. Care therefore should be taken with SA2s with small total populations and very small age-sex cells, especially at older ages.

While these projections are calculated at the single year of age level, small numbers, and fluctuations across individual ages in the base population and projection assumptions limit the reliability of SA2-level projections at single year of age level. These fluctuations reduce and reliability improves when the projection results are aggregated to broader age groups such as the five-year age bands in this product. For areas with small elderly populations, results aggregated to 65 and over are more reliable than for the individual age groups above 65.

With the exception of areas with high planned population growth, SA2s with a base total population of less than 500 have generally been held constant for the projection period in this product as their populations are too small to be reliably projected at all, however their (small) age/sex distributions may change slightly. These SA2s are listed in the appendix.

The base (2022) SA2 population estimates and post-2022 projections by age and sex include small artificial cells, including 1s and 2s. These are the result of a confidentialisation process and forced additivity, to control SA2 and capital city/rest of state age/sex totals, being applied to their original values.

SA2s and LGAs in this product are based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) boundaries as at the 2021 Census (ASGS Edition 3). For further information, see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3.


Made possible by the Digital Atlas of Australia
The Digital Atlas of Australia is a key Australian Government initiative being led by Geoscience Australia, highlighted in the Data and Digital Government Strategy. It brings together trusted datasets from across government in an interactive, secure, and easy-to-use geospatial platform. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is working in partnership with Geoscience Australia to establish a set of web services to make ABS data available in the Digital Atlas of Australia.

Contact the Australian Bureau of Statistics
If you have questions or feedback about this web service, please email geography@abs.gov.au. To subscribe to updates about ABS web services and geospatial products, please complete this form. For information about how the ABS manages any personal information you provide view the ABS privacy policy.

Data and geography references
Source data publication: Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071
Geographic boundary information: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3
Further information: Population Projections, Australia, 2022 (base) to 2071
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)



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