Does Australian prosperity depend on immigration?

By Leith van Onselen

A week ago, Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pronounced that she supported ongoing high rates of immigration, seemingly reversing her opposition to a “Big Australia” articulated when she took over the leadership from Kevin Rudd:

JULIA Gillard says Australia will continue to run “a sizeable immigration program” as she steers the nation towards a population of more than 40 million by 2050.

The former “big Australia” opponent said she did not anticipate a change in the overall rate of immigration and would not impose population targets…

“We will continue in the years to come in my view to be a nation that welcomes migrants and particularly welcomes skilled migrants, and we continue to operate quite a sizeable immigration program”…

“We will continue to see immigration. It will be important to economic growth,” she said.

The issue of whether high rates of population growth, and immigration in particular, are desirable from an economic, environmental, and social perspective is confounding for most people, and one that I continually battle over in my head. The above video from the ABC, which has been prepared ahead of the Future Forum next week, provides a useful primer on the key issues and the trade-offs involved should Australia opt for a stable or significantly larger population.

For what it’s worth, I want to share some of my thoughts on whether continued high population growth (based primarily on immigration) is desirable for Australia. Feel free to add your thoughts below.

Population growth and the economy:

Advocates of population growth argue that it is required in order to grow the economy and that, without it, growth would suffer, lowering overall living standards.

This view has never sat comfortably with me. From a narrow economic perspective, population growth (immigration) is good only if it raises the real incomes of the pre-existing population (e.g. GDP per capita). While it is true that Australia’s high population growth over the second half of the 2000s boosted Australia’s real GDP (more labour inputs, other things equal, means more outputs), evidence is sketchy as to whether GDP per capita increased due to population growth. In fact, as the below chart shows, real GDP per capita has remained lacklustre since 2007, suggesting that while the overall economic pie has increased in size because of high population growth, everyone’s share of that pie has remained relatively stagnant.

ScreenHunter_12 Apr. 12 10.29

Of course, we don’t know the counter-factual. Growth in per capita GDP might have been worse without such strong immigration. But the arguments for or against high rates of immigration purely on narrow economic grounds appears inconclusive.

We need immigration to ameliorate the affects of an ageing population:

Another common argument from proponents of high immigration is that it is required in order to mitigate the ageing of Australia’s population.

Indeed, the United Nations forecasts that the ratio of workers to dependents in Australia is projected to fall significantly over coming decades as the Baby Boomer generation retires en masse (see next chart).


ScreenHunter_13 Apr. 12 10.39

Nevertheless, the argument that Australia can avoid (rather than delay) population ageing is spurious. The issue of an ageing population will need to be addressed at some point irrespective of the level of immigration. Simply importing more workers to cover the retirement of the Baby Boomers would only delay the ageing problem, pushing the problem onto future generations. Further, what will be the solution in 30 years time when current migrants grow old, retire and need taxpayer support? More immigration and an even larger Australia?

While the current population growth rate of 1.6% seems fairly benign, due to the powers of compounding, such a rate of growth could be devastating over a long time frame (see next chart).

While you might think that the above chart is facetious, as population growth could easily be curtailed at some point in the future, the fact remains that there will always be vested interests pressuring governments to expand population growth in the face of an ever-ageing population.

Population, infrastructure and the environment:

A big negative of high rates of population growth is that it requires costly investments in new infrastructure (e.g. desalination plants) that would not be required absent population growth. It can also impose other costs, including: environmental degradation, water scarcity, increased pollution and congestion, and lower housing affordability.

While some of these issues could be resolved through improved policy (e.g. freeing up land supply and better financing of infrastructure), Australia’s governments have, so far, proven to be inept and have failed dismally in providing for the pre-existing population, let alone millions of extra citizens.

Another issue arising from ongoing high population growth is that it would become increasingly difficult for Australia to reduce its carbon footprint and meet international pollution reduction targets with a substantially larger population.

Population growth and natural resources:

My final concern about ongoing high population growth is that Australia earns its way in the world mainly by selling its fixed mineral resources (e.g. iron ore, goal, and natural gas). More people means less resources per capita. A growing population also means that we must deplete our mineral resources faster, just to maintain a constant standard of living.

In summary, while I am sure that with improved policy settings and investment, Australia could support a substantially larger population, I don’t hold much faith in our political class or policy making processes, or that a substantially larger population would improve living standards anyway.

I am interested in reader’s views.

[email protected]

Unconventional Economist
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  1. The only reason immigration is “needed” is because the welfare state is unsustainable.

    Unless the age to receive the pension is increased, we will need more people to fund this welfare ponzi scheme.

    • No, we do not need more people at all and the PC has outlined how immigration will have none, or little effect on the ageing fiscal costs. 4.1 million boomers born here and now we have to support 5.3 million due to immigration. 80% will require full/part pensions.

      We simply can, and will tax the over 65’s more….
      1. GST to 20%
      2. Death tax over the value of $1 million at 25%
      3. Land tax on all property
      4. Counting the value of the PPOR over $750k towards the asset test for pensions.

      In the case of land tax and pensions, reverse mortgages provided exclusively by Centrelink, to pay these if on welfare/low income. A transfer of wealth to the state, not the banks!

      • You are forgetting that taxes are quite unpopular and with pensioners and retirees becoming a bigger voting demographics, no political party will introduce the policies you mentioned.

        Entitlement reform is needed now, not in the future.

        • Perhaps, however I am lobbying for 16 to 18 year olds to have a voluntary right to vote as well.

    • Amen.

      There is no right side dependency ratio at all, if there is no retirement age.

      It’s burden is calibrated by the retirement age, which is a feature of life expectancy.

      Increased migration means more tranferpayments coming from those that do work, towards those that don’t work.

      Increased immigration is a largese about giving an upcoming group of retirees a quality of life better than they deserve.

      The side effects, a repetition to be dealt with by someone else in the future.

      • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

        Correct RP.

        Migrants who apply for the age pension are tested against a 10 year rule.

        In other words, they need to have been residents for ten years, or have made enough contributions in countries Australia has social security agreements with

        Compare that to a locally born Australian who started paying taxes around age 20.

        4 and half decades of contribution vs 10 for a migrant.

        if we are really worried about the costs of aging, why are we funding age pensions for people with only 10 years residency?

    • dumb_non_economist


      In answer to your Q. No, we won’t get a say. If public opinion goes against a Big Australia, they’ll use fear to beat the public into submission and they’ll have the backing of the major business groups.

  2. high immigration combined with poor policy reponse provides more potential borrowers for banks and more houses to build for the property industry and more pressure on house prices thus helping out both bank cap ratios and developers profits.

    .. its clear who our ludicrous immigration rates are designed to help. Big business and migrants benefit, existing populace loses out on average.

    • It is sad that a developed country today relay on immigration for growth, but not on developing new high technologies and less labor intensive industries (of cause not having in mind financial sector).

  3. Australia’s GDP depends upon immigration not prosperity, there is a difference, also it is like heroin , more is required each time.

  4. Mad as batpoo!
    As our natural growth drops to perhaps to zero or even negative over the next 2.5 decades as our deaths double (boomers departing the home planet), what she is really saying is that we must accept a double or even a treble increase in immigration. Not going to happen! Will anyone accept 450,000 or 600,000 net immigrants per year? As I said, mad as batpoo!

    End of September 2012 – 22 785, 000
    ABS says now April 12, 2013 – 22, 988,000
    So what 213,000 additions in 6 months? Just shows how ‘out’ the abs really is, like the 300,000 extra that they had that our census showed we did not.

    Back of envelope – to get to 40 million from our 23 million, we will need to add 17 million over 28 years, or approx 607, 142 per year. Now lets say we have a natural growth (2013 to 2035) as 2.5 million (2013 at 150k, 2104 at 145k, 2035 at 50k etc to 2050) that means we would need to add 14.5 million net immigrants or approx 518K per year. Yep, not going to happen! What politics is this actually about? It certainly is not about reality or even possibility!

    • “Will anyone accept 450,000 or 600,000 net immigrants per year?” Do we have a choice? Nobody asks us – the government does what they want.

      “What politics is this actually about?” It’s about the politics of keeping the housing bubble going.

  5. mine-otour in a china shop

    Everyone assumes that surging migration is a one way bet in the lucky country. trying to forecast population, particularly migration, is the hardest thing to do (apart from forecasting the movements of the Aussie dollar).

    Growth models often assume population growth as exogenous to the model. In fact is highly endogenous and correlated heavily to growth and employment gains.

    Flip the coin and see what happens if unemployment rises to 10%. Inward migration (particularly skilled) will slow significantly. The Irish experience shows this well with inflows slowing as growth crashed and unemployment rose, with outflows also surging.

    I know of many ex-pats returning due to the high cost base here (particularly for property – renting or buying). Also some young Aussies I speak to are also sprouting wings once more.

    Population growth is risky and forecasts should be based on low scenarios.

    • Did Ireland try to keep high immigration as their bubble burst and their economy fell apart? Forgive my ignorance on this, but did Ireland experience reduced demand from migrants or did the Irish government turned off the immigration tap when there was clearly no job to provide new arrivals?

    • +1 Research in UK showed when unemployment rises immigration falls….. many immigrants are prepared to move but not if it means being unemployed…. unless like some refugees absolutely desperate.

  6. I tend to see this not so much as a dependence issue (does the economy depend on migration) but one of working out what sort of economy (and society) we want and nutting out how immigration is fits into that.

    But that tends to be the sort of discussion that as a nation Australia is incapable of having.

    If we are simply going to open up the immigration sluices with the (for example) property development/ lack of industry policy settings as they are then to me it may not make much sense. But that said I tend to be supportive of immigration (believing it adds value as a society) and feel that if we can get the real estate/industry/environment/infrastructure issues at least generally mapped out then we can easily accommodate more punters here, and that there would be economic advantages to doing so.

    • +1 The question is not so much about immigration but rather population growth. On chart #3 we are currently travelling somewhere between the top two lines. That is not a sustainable path.

      Aust currently has a pop growth rate nearly double of most comprable economies. Why? What’s the big hurry?

      1% pop growth should be targeted until the pressure can be taken off our already overloaded infrastructure. To do otherwise is wilfully negligent.

      • Totally agree with this. Immigration is like housing in Aus, as soon as someone like leith throws some numbers at it we realise just how much the options we’ve been fed in the past don’t stack up.

  7. I could grow Australia’s population by 4,400,000 overnight. Increase the size of your internal market; provide skilled, educated (?) people of a similar cultural mix to yours……all this, and expand the territorial boundaries of land an fish…without the burden of infrastructure building etc. – all in one go. An option that is still on the table from 1901. How abaout it?

    • Well as an Australian Janet, and one with more than a few kiwi mates, I actually reckon it is in Australia’s interest to have another like batch of punters nearby with their own seat in the global markets, UN etc.

      More pertinently I am prepared to wear the regular Rugby beltings in exchange for cricket wins…

      • I also think that before any serious contemplation of NZ federating with Aust there would need to adoption of a language test which ran along the lines of

        …a six pack of Vic bitter with fish and chips is the best way to see the sunset in…..

      • Sounds like a silly idea to me.
        Why would Australia want all the NZ young, aged, disabled and disaffected, when it can take the most productive working section of the population without any commitment to the rest.

        Come-on Janet, from you I’d have expected a better thought out plan then this….

      • The more likely scenario is that some clever NZ pollie realises that if they pop their housing bubble to produce low cost real estate and a competitive advantage – the only ones to suffer will be those Aussie Mega Banks holding a bunch of underwater Kiwi mortgages.

        Let Oz take the haircut.

        After all it is private debt no public debt.

        The dumbest thing NZ could do is take the debts onto the public sector books.

        Needless to say Aussies will fulminate like a bunch Germans moaning about lazy Greeks.

    • Most unlikely. What would be Australia’s benefit?

      There never has been a cultural imperitive for unification. Although we are very similar, our (small) differences are very hard to overcome. The big one’s -like Waitangi treaty issues- would in the political too hard basket.

      Australia already gets plenty of educated and/or entrepeneurial kiwis to join us. The free flow of labour in both directions is already happening. Oz banks control the kiwi financial system and we clearly don’t care enough about New Zealand important economic driver – the dairy industry, as ours is pretty much foreign owned.

      A common currency in the next decade is imho possible though, but complete meshing of the West Island with the North and South Island is very unlikely.

      • MMM! Just what we need! A currency union without a fiscal union!

        I’m pretty sure that always works out for the best.

        • Yes, we can live without common currency, but how about at least having common borders for passport control and customs? Why on earth do we have to endure passport queues to go to Auckland from Sydney?

          Suggestion – if you enter Australia or NZ from elsewhere, then standard border protection applies, with common protection and policies in place.. Once in, freedom of movement. Can’t be so hard, surely?

  8. Nobody has discussed the impact that this mass-migration program is having on amenity in the big cities.

    Most new migrants will want to live in Sydney or Melbourne – that’s because its where there existing ethnic communities are. I don’t blame them for wanting to settle exclusively in these places but the fact is that my experience of living in inner Melbourne has deteriorated substantially in the last five years all due to the fact that we are constantly cramming more and more people in.

    Try catching a train from Toorak Station between 7am and 9am on a weekday. You’ll find most trains (if they do stop) are impossible to physically board because they are jam packed. I tried to complain to my local member about this but he wasn’t interested. Look at the ridiculous congestion on the Monash toll-way every day – the only thing they actually do spend money on ($1 billion to add an extra lane recently) and it’s still hopelessly inadequate. And don’t ask Denis Napthine to spend money on improving things – the purse is slammed shut on any major infrastructure bar some ridiculous $15 billion East-West road that won’t solve anything.

    What sort of a city are we planning for in another twenty years – Bangkok?

      • Yeah the plan is for everyone to drive cars everywhere. Tony Abbott made this perfectly clear – it’s back to the 1950’s despite the fact that places like Los Angles are now trying to go in the other direction (rebuilding their light rail network in fact).

        There’s no plan for the future, that’s the bottom line.

    • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

      Leith – thanks for the article. Great food for thought.

      In our political system migration levels are set at the Federal level but the social infrastructure and services are managed by the states.

      At random, pick a service or infrastructure that is under stress from migrant growth.

      Hospitals, schools, water, sewage, public transport, urban land release, -whatever – invariably you have come up with a state-based service or function

      I think Gillard has spotted this structural flaw in our federation system.

      Federal politicians are free to boost migration numbers to the moon without ever feeling electoral pain that state governments feel.

  9. Good analysis above on the immigration effect on economy, business, environment and resource deposits.

    One thing that is often forgotten because of difficulty to predict and evaluate is the social impact on existing population. It is often mentioned that high immigration rate in rapid way (in short time instead of gradually) will create social problems from mild erosion to social cohesion to racial riot in some countries.

    Jac Nasser mentioned yesterday that Australians are not patriotic in deciding not to buy Australian-made cars, unlike the Japanese or Korean who prefer to buy their national car brands. Quality issue aside, the reason is obvious i.e. the Japanese/Korean society is more homogeneous and therefore, having stronger social cohesion and patriotic/nationalistic fervor.

    • I am with the late Dr Johnson when it comes to the deployment of ‘patriotism’ as a emotive base ball bat.

      • +1 I enjoyed that patriotic reference. So now it is unpatriotic to question the payment of billions of dollars to foreign-owned companies to build cars here that no-one wants?
        That baloney ain’t gunna wash here.

        • Dunno, it appeals to a certain demographic.

          For example take a trawl through say, for a combination of economic illiteracy combined with flag waving boneheadedness.

          If they are to be believed, the reason why the public isn’t interested in buying the petrol guzzling equivalents of catastrophic diahorea is the fault of the Button plan, free trade and Unaustrayaness….

  10. I’m sure you could argue about it all day.

    One thing I’d like to know is what we are going to do to support ourselves if and when mining stops and the housing mania stops.

    The world only needs so many Oracles, Microsofts, BMWs and the like. Plus I doubt we’d even have the intellect and conditions to even start anything like them even if we wanted to. Our culture is pretty anti intellectual and too laid back. Plus we’re more concerned with paying 3rd grade teachers and plumbers the big bucks than the maths nerds.

    I want mass immigration to end. So I’ll be voting for the Stable Population Party. There’s nothing wrong with resting on your laurels if the alternative of trying to become some sort of mid level superpower is too high risk, and I think it’s worse than high risk, I think it’s just downright fantasy.

    Finland has a population of under 6 million. They didn’t need a huge population to start Nokia and their supposedly high tech industry.

    • I am not opposed to immigration per se but I think the current rate is too high and too rapid and only accrues benefits to business and vested interests.

      Stable Population Party needs to be supported by younger generation if they want to get better life in current generation warfare environment.

    • Ditto Bluebird. I’ll be voting for the Stable Population Party because it’s in my interest as highly educated but non-property owning younger person.

      Now to get all of my lefty friends to vote the same way without them accusing me of being racist. For my weapon, I think I’ll choose… Environmentalism!!!

  11. Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

    None of the arguments for immigration hold up, the only benefits seem to accrue to the vested interests in business or development.

    Your point about mineral resources being dug and sold to support a larger and larger population base is the key – collectively we will become poorer and poorer.

    The environmental degradation is terrible. Perth does no have enough water for itself now, let alone if we keep growing by 3-3.5% per year and the climate becomes dryer.

    • rob barrattMEMBER

      Brisbane damn nearly ran out of water four years ago. It was only a 30 year event that saved it. Four years of relative drought will bring it all back.

      The demographic problems viz the baby boomers we have will re-appear following any effort we make to populate the country to the limit it can support environmentally. The only difference will be, you will have far bigger a problem as there will be less available in the way of food and space to support them. All this quite apart from the decrease in quality of life resulting from population density increase. Ask any Pom.

      Who needs it? Well, highrise developers do, but then, you don’t have commuting problems when you travel by helicopter…

  12. One of my favourite subjects

    I would like to see the figures associated with this calculation

    Number of Immigrants per year

    multiplied by

    average amount of money brought into Australia by immigrants per year

    and i would like to see such data plotted against, say, income from mining, agriculture etc

    let’s say, just surmising, that our target preferred immigrant list effectively attracts people who have money and that those who slip in without money is sufficiently low that they don’t count (they can go work in a 7/11 or a supermarket checkout with their degree in business etc)

    let’s say they average is like $2 million (don’t laugh – EVERY immigrant worker working in my org has brought in much more after selling up abroad)

    do the sums – it’s a LOT of money

    and every one of them buys a house and a car…

    our immigration system and our tourism system are as if designed specifically to push house prices up and to force current residents to either compete with immigrants (and enter into very expensive mortgages) or to abandon the more expensive areas and migrate over generations to poor areas

    i have never had any objection to immigration of people who are on average no richer than existing Australians

    but immigration targeting the rich is exactly the sort of immigration that led to the NZ Maori being almost entirely disentitled to their ancestral lands (that and changes to land tenure law in the UK which abolished fee in tail – conveniently in time to render almost all ancestral title invisible/null at law)

    immigration of the rich is a terrible danger to those who can not compete with them

    inevitably they end up owning everything and the only “Australians” who otherwise prosper are those that can sell to them

    at a gut level all Australians know this

    those with no clear understanding of it confuse it with racism

    and those who do understand it but want to undermine any criticism of our policies use the racism label to protect their interests

    and issues like boat people conveniently hide deeper discussions like this from the general public who stand to lose out by our policies

    i say bring them in and bring them in in plenty

    but let’s do it like the old USA

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless,
    Tempest-tossed to me
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    these are the ones who truly build a nation

    all others simply acquire it


    • Besides the persuasive argument you make pop, nett immigration numbers do matter significantly. Those numbers must be compatible with our infrastructure and economic growth.

      The US had a massive bounty Australia does not possess. A largely benign geography with fertile farmland aplenty through the interior. A huge connected landmass North and South. Enormous reserves of cheap energy. Timing: at the time of the Statue of Liberty a cheap manufacturing base was a massive boost underpinning US growth. Europe savaged by war and religious strife. Cheap labour.

      We need a sensible immigration policy for our circumstances.

      • of course they do (numbers matter)


        and yes of course let’s not go for a billion people (or much less even, just yet at least)

        but you get the picture

        let’s not disenfranchise existing Australians with a policy to bring in predominantly rich so they can further enrich those rich already here

        to do so is in a very real way a form of treason

        for it damages the well being of man Australian citizens for those who are not even yet Australians

        just for the money and power they bring


        • We are on the same page, particularly on this;

          “let’s not disenfranchise existing Australians with a policy to bring in predominantly rich so they can further enrich those rich already here

          to do so is in a very real way a form of treason”

          Agree entirely. In fact I view the immigration situation we currently have as a betrayal of Australians already here. It’s out of control.

  13. Of course this assumes that all people are equally productive .. which in my experience is far from true …

  14. Interesting piece but like much of the Australian “debate” round population, immigration etc. seems more about vague use of headline statistics to support one’s personal views.

    Migration is a fact of life from which Australia has benefited immensely, but many prefer to “correlate” issues of infrastructure, environment, water management, social cohesion, benefits, health care etc. with “immigrants” (as opposed to us, and the governments we elect).

    Or in other words, we know what you are against but what are you for?

    Recent article highlighted fact that “immigration” and “population” statistics conflate temporary residents with permanent residents (but make for good headlines when an increase in e.g. international students and/or backpackers spike population growth)

    Moderate permanent immigration, mixed with float of temporary residents can have a +ve effect on ageing population toward mid century with first generations of workers to have paid super all their working life, and plugging skill gaps.

    Open societies tend be better places to live, richer mixed up gene pool, innovative, adaptive, multicultural social/economic links and welcoming.

    Australia can wish for no population growth/immigration, permanent, temp or otherwise, but it would be much like stopping the sun from rising in the east. Maybe we should appreciate more that many people choose Australia to visit, work and live in, and also many that don’t.

    • I am not against population growth per se, just the high levels we have experienced since the mid-2000s and the overall poor governance around housing/infrastructure etc more generally, which has exacerbated the problems.

      I accept that some level of immigration is inevitable and necessary, but do believe that it needs to be curtailed from current high levels.

      • +1 Leith. Instead of “build it and they will come” the philosophy appears to be “bring them and we might build it”.

      • Fine, but high temporary or permanent, compared to when? And which “immigrants” students, 457s, permanents etc.?

        With no immigration nor population growth, whatever shape of form, would zero or -ve be better for Australia, or would we find that we still have the same infrastructure, environmental etc. issues?

        When Australian media and commentators ignore domestic i.e. “Australian” migrants moving to cities (while country towns die), foreign “immigrants” going to regional areas, petrol price spike some years ago moved many “Australians” to public transport etc. etc. seems more about emotions and opinions?

        Too many opinions based upon perceptions but not hard data…… bit like the real estate industry spruikers, who also benefit from perception of high immigration/population growth.

        By maintaining we have high immigration line, or we need to stop population growth etc. we are left with the status quo, i.e. politicians, government and Australians do not need to do anything? We can keep blaming foreigners all we want, and avoid looking in the mirror….

        • So many straw-men, so little time.

          Perception of high growth? Here’s some hard data for you.

          Aus pop growth is currently 1.7%, nearly twice that of most comparable economies. Why? Who decided this was desirable/sensible/prudent? On what basis?

          Look around you. 380k-400k pa pop growth is too much strain on existing overloaded infrastructure.

          It is not a matter of “blaming foreigners”, just prudently managing pop growth to a level comparable with the rest of the developed world.

          The question is not “should pop growth be lowered?” but rather “why is it so high?”

          Maybe there is a good reason why we have our current pop growth setting at double that of comparable economies. If there is, I would like to hear it.

          • Good example of how statistics can be distorted, try 1.4%, and there is no distinction made between permanent and temporary.

            Good overview of issues from Malcolm King in recent article “Stable Population Party: a dead vote”

            “The Stable Population Party (SPP) will lead the Malthusian charge for a Senate seat at next Federal election on a platform of less people in Australia.

            The SPP has one simple message, ‘population is an everything’ issue.

            “Population growth is causing or exacerbating all of Australia’s major problems…. This is why population needs its own platform, and why it is important to not dilute the message with other divisive and less important policy positions (e.g. carbon tax, gay marriage, republic),” says the SPP website.”


          • “Late last month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released demographic statistics for the September quarter of 2012, which revealed that Australia’s population growth had grown by 1.7% (382,500) in the year to September 2012”

            Please identify the source of your 1.4% pop growth figure.

          • Patrician
            Do you understand that the 1.7% includes temp visa holders, now approx 60% of our NOM? Can you find any other country that counts temp visa holders in their official pop growth rates? I suspect not…..

            Approx 800,000 temp visa holders, all of which must return home or apply and compete with every one else seeking a permanent status, are already included in our 22.7 million. So from 2006 and the change in ten method, the rates have been distorted.

          • Actually, take outr temp visa holders as the OECD suggest and we would be at approx 1.1%.

          • Not really the point is it?

            WB 2011, as most recent data used to make estimates tends to change and or be adjusted downwards later……

            As the ABS states, the NOM fluctuates a lot in short term impacting population growth figures, because so many are temporaries…..

            According to OECD students should not be included in NOM and resident population.

          • Ok just so we are clear, you are referring to the 2011 World Bank report that put the AUS pop growth rate at 1.4% in 2011 as a more accurate measure of pop growth than the most recent ABS data from Sept 2012?

            By the way do you know what the ABS measure of pop growth rate was in 2011?


            Could you tell me from what source the World Bank gets its AUS pop growth data?

            BTW nice job bringing racism back into it. Your inability to argue your case on its merits and tendency to resort to thinly veiled accusations of racism reflects badly on you, your argument and your business

          • You are right Patrician. aiecquest flings around thinly veiled accusations of racism and then runs away if challenged. Don’t expect a straight answer from him, all he does is talk his own book – selling PR to international students.

  15. Love the charts of extrapolation of different net growth rates.
    It is so obvious that resource relative scarcity and cost will impose limits.
    During the Irish Great Famine some of the poor starved while food was exported.
    There is also war and disease to consider as limiting and even reversing growth.
    US already has falling average life expectancy.
    We are on track to “Limits to Growth” kicking in around 205.

  16. Score: 0 demografix 7:27 PM on 14/04/2013
    Our death rates double over the next 2,5 decades as the boomer death bust, a reflection of the baby boom, takes place. Our natural growth may drop to zero or even negative so can any of the panel members see net immigration doubling or trebling to compensate?
    1 reply…
    Score: 0 timsout 8:12 PM on 14/04/2013
    That’s one of the rationales for maintaining a long-term immigration program – the demographic reason. Of course, people are living longer and working longer. But the effects of an aging population and a declining birth rate will need to be offset to some extent by immigration. As for numbers, important to look at which numbers. The number of permanent settlers has been stable; temporary migrants have increased in number. Will future migrants tend to be permanent or temporary? That will be an interesting thing to watch.