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Projections of Australia’s migrant populations


Australia’s demography has been shaped to a large extent by its history of immigration. Various waves of immigration, including from many European countries in the immediate years after World War II and from a broader range of origins from the 1970s onwards, have created an ethnically and culturally diverse population today. In the coming decades this immigration history will bring major changes to Australia’s older population.

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Journal Article

Wilson T, McDonald P, Temple J, Brijnath B, and Utomo A (2020): Past and Projected Growth of Australia’s Older Migrant Populations. Genus 76(20): 1-21. 

In recent years, Australia’s older population (aged 65 and over) has been growing rapidly, accompanied by a shift in its country of birth composition. Although a great deal of research has been undertaken on past and current aspects of Australia’s migrant groups, little attention has been paid to future demographic trends in older populations. The aim of this paper is to examine recent and possible future demographic trends of Australia’s migrant populations at the older ages. We present population estimates by country and broad global region of birth from 1996 to 2016, and then new birthplace-specific population projections for the 2016 to 2056 period. Our findings show that substantial growth of the 65+ population will occur in the coming decades, and that the overseas-born will shift from a Europe-born dominance to an Asia-born dominance. Cohort flow (the effect of varying sizes of cohorts moving into the 65+ age group over time) will be the main driver of growth for most older birthplace populations. The shifting demography of Australia’s older population signals many policy, planning, service delivery and funding challenges for government and private sector providers. We discuss those related to aged care, health care, language services, the aged care workforce, regulatory frameworks and future research needs in demography and gerontology.



Associate Professor Jeromey Temple, The University of Melbourne

Dr Tom Wilson, The University of Melbourne