2021 Intergenerational report: Australia over the next 40 years

2021 Intergenerational Report

By Peter Buckingham

Department of the Treasury (Australia) – Analysis and Policy Observatory launched the 2021 Intergenerational report: Australia over the next 40 years on 28 June 2021. It can be downloaded at https://apo.org.au/node/312932

The fifth Intergenerational report came out in June 2021, from the office of, The Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia. Whilst it discusses many issues in detail, especially the long term economy, it places significant input into the expectations of the Government for the population changes predicted across Australia.

“The Intergenerational Report examines the long-term sustainability of current policies and how demographic, technological and other structural trends may affect the economy and the budget over the next 40 years. Past intergenerational reports have raised awareness of the demographic and other long-term challenges Australia is likely to face and the implications for economic growth and fiscal sustainability.”

It begins by acknowledging we hit a speed bump in 2020, with a basic reduction in population caused by a net migration, where 97,000 more people left the country than arrived, mainly due to the restriction on immigration. We normally see around 160,000 – 190,000 pa. immigrants settled in Australia, which basically hit zero in the last year. The expectations are to reach an immigration level of 235,000 pa. as the long term target.

With all the economic and policy settings in mind, the expectation is for Australia’s population to reach 38.8 million by 2060 – 61. This is lower than previous projections (but could still be adjusted upwards by immigration). The major reasons for this slowing are:

  • COVID-19 has had a one off effect in 2020
  • Reduction in the fertility rate across Australia
  • Reduction in immigration, starting from a reduction from 190,000 (2012 – 13) to 160,000 (2019 – 20). This was then expected (by policy changes) to increase back to 190,000 in 2023 – 24, before rising slowly to 235,000 as the longer term target.

The report also discusses the need for long term immigration as our population ages and leaves the workforce, and an expected shortage of skilled workers to fill many of the jobs that have been created. Immigrants normally arrive at a reasonably young age and contribute to the workforce for many years after arrival.

Other good news for us older citizens is the increase in life expectancy, and in 2019 – 20 there were 6,400 “Centenarians”, and this is expected to increase to 40,900 by 2060 – 61. Hopefully this is one club I will be able to join!

For a much more detailed read, please visit https://apo.org.au/node/312932 or https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-06/p2021-182464.pdf

Previous Editions of the Intergenerational Report

05/03/2015 2015 Intergenerational report: Australia in 2055 https://apo.org.au/node/53411

01/02/2010 Intergenerational report 2010 https://apo.org.au/node/20313

01/04/2007 Intergenerational report 2007 https://apo.org.au/node/53404

14/05/2002 Intergenerational report 2002-2003 https://apo.org.au/node/53405

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