Demography of Australia
The Unit focusses much of its work on analysing and monitoring the changing demography of Australia with a particular focus on population ageing. Often this work is comparative with other OECD countries and has a strong policy orientation. Unit members are frequently consulted on how demography affects the Australian economy and society and many studies have been completed for the Australian Government and for governments at lower levels. The work focuses upon three broad areas:
- Australian demographic trends
- Immigration: demography, economy and settlement
- Population ageing
The group closely monitors and publishes on demographic trends in Australia including birth rates, death rates, rates of internal and international migration, the age structure and other important characteristics of the population and population growth in cities and regions. In the recent past, this knowledge has been used in our projected estimates of housing demand for the Australian Government and for the New South Wales Government. We provide advice to governments at all levels on population matters and, in 2017, have been part of the Independent Assurance Panel for the 2016 Census. We are often asked to speak on population issues at business, academic and community events.
In our work on immigration and its demographic, economic and social consequences, we have a long record of policy work in association with Australian governments. The constant level of the Australian migration programme over the past six years is based on modelling work that we conducted for successive Australian governments. A central interest is how immigration affects the labour force and the ageing of the population and how, in turn, these affect GDP per capita. We also research the various pathways of migration to Australia (skilled permanent, skilled temporary, family, refugee, New Zealand, students and working holiday makers) and how each contributes to the Australian economy and society. We have researched settlement outcomes for immigrants and their children and ethnic concentrations.
As part of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, we monitor population ageing in Australia and its regions. We examine trends and differentials in older age labour force participation. In cooperation with the international programme, we produce National Transfer Accounts for Australia (see specific reference). Following each census, we produce the RADAR, free-source database which provides information on labour force participation, living arrangements and need for care among older Australians by selected characteristics at various levels of geography.
Professor Peter McDonald (Unit Head)
Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research