Immigration no cure for population ageing

ScreenHunter_2187 Apr. 28 08.37

By Leith van Onselen

In the wake of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s and New Zealand Treasury’s recent reports arguing against high immigration as it lowers living standards by reducing productivity, a new report has been released by Dr Katherine Betts from the Monash University Centre for Population and Urban Research, which claims that high immigration is an inappropriate policy response for population ageing, and can instead drain the nation’s productivity by crowding-out productive investment and capital deepening:

If we were to follow the stable path the population would grow from 22.7 million in 2012 to just over 27 million in 2066 and stay at around 26 to 27 million thereafter. The median age would rise from 37.3 in 2012 to around 47 in 2063 and then stabilise.

But so far we are not heading down this path. Instead governments have opted for immigration- fuelled population growth. From 2003 to 2012 the TFR has averaged 1.9131 but immigration has ballooned to record levels. The average (mean) annual net intake from December 2006 to December 2012 was 228,343…

In percentage terms the increase in population from net migration averaged 0.9 per cent from 1950 to 1969. From 2006 to 2012 it averaged 1.06 per cent. Thus the intake is not only now much higher in numerical terms, it is higher in percentage terms, and if it were to remain at this percentage level (or at any constant level in percentage terms) the nation would indeed be growing exponentially…

Figure 10 shows six of the projections from the 2013 series. All assume high life expectancy but the fertility and migration assumptions vary in such a way that the six projections form two sets. The three in the first set assume nil net migration (balanced migration — number of arrivals equals number of departures),135 but different levels of fertility. The three in the second set include one with a TFR of 2.0 and ‘low’ NOM while the other two both have high NOM and different levels of fertility. Comparing the two sets demonstrates that high levels of NOM, whether they be 200,000 per year or 280,000, make an enormous difference to the eventual size of the population. Indeed there is no end to expansion; the three projections in the second set are still growing briskly in 2101.

ScreenHunter_2188 Apr. 28 08.56

Australia is getting bigger but, if governments maintain these levels of immigration, are we going to get younger? Up to a point, yes. If we embraced the stable projection (series 56) the median age would rise from 37.3 in 2012 to 46.8 in 2061 and then stabilise between 47 and 48. But if we were to stay on the path mapped out by the high-growth projection (series 1A) the median age would rise to 43 in 2101 though it would still be increasing then, albeit slowly. High net migration does make us a few years younger: a median age of 43 instead of 47. But like most magic spells there is a catch. This is massive population growth, including many more older people. For example, in 2061 high growth would result in 48 million people. The size of the population aged 65 plus would also have risen from 3.2 million in 2012 to over 18 million in 2101. And the numbers of older people and the total population would both still be growing. (The stable projection has the numbers aged 65 plus in 2101 holding steady at 8.3 million.)

Figure 11 illustrates the consequences for the median age of each of the six projections shown in Figure 10. A comparison of the two graphs shows that, while the positive NOM series produce high growth, they make only a marginal difference to the median age. Indeed projection series 14 (TFR 1.6 and NOM 280,000) leads to a population of 45.4 million in 2101, but one that is marginally older than the stable projection of series 56 (and, of course, one that is still growing).

ScreenHunter_2189 Apr. 28 08.59

Projection series 68, which assumes a TFR of 1.6 and nil net migration is the one that produces the highest median age, 51.8 in 2061 and 55.5 in 2101. Assuming that we do not want to have a population with a median age as high as this, that we do want to avoid hyper-ageing, what is the most efficient way of arriving at a more youthful median age?

Table 1 takes series 68 as the benchmark and shows the relative effects of other fertility and migration assumptions on the median age in 2061. Table 2 sets out the same analysis for 2101.

ScreenHunter_2190 Apr. 28 09.01
ScreenHunter_2191 Apr. 28 09.01

In both Tables 1 and 2 it is clear that reducing the median age by one year via high migration is expensive in terms of numbers of extra people, with all their added pressure on infrastructure, cities, services and resources. By 2101 the high-growth series (1A), which assumes a TFR of 2.0 and a NOM of 280,000 per year, costs up to 4.1 million extra people per one year shaved off the benchmark age of series 68. In contrast, series 56 (the stable projection) costs only 0.98 million extra people per extra year of youthfulness. It is also a much more cost-effective method of reducing the median age than is projection series 14, with a TFR of 1.6 and NOM of 280,000. Series 14 leads to an older median age in 2101 than does the stable projection series but nonetheless adds 4.8 million extra people for every year shaved off the age of the benchmark series.

The message from the 2013 set of projections is clear. If policy makers genuinely want to minimise demographic ageing at the least cost, the most effective way of doing this is to support the two-child family and minimise net migration…

The Productivity Commission report on ageing points out that the infrastructure spending needed to manage population growth over the next 50 years will be five times the total that was needed over the last 50 years. This investment in capital widening must seriously weaken Australia’s capacity to invest in the capital deepening that would boost productivity.

Despite this, Treasury continues to emphasise its ‘three Ps’: population, participation and productivity. While Treasury treats these three variables as if they were independent some commentators argue that population growth has a positive effect on productivity. But there is a contrary argument. Population growth imposes pressures on infrastructure and adds to congestion; in so doing it depresses productivity.

International comparisons show that there is no association between population growth and growth in per capita GDP. This is not surprising as comparative data on 32 OECD countries show no positive association between population growth and growth in labour productivity…

Assertions that immigration-fuelled population growth will boost productivity remain conjectural. There is no empirical evidence that such growth in an advanced economy increases productivity. This means that advocates of population growth are left with the argument that it should be pursued in order to reduce the average age of the population. It may do so, to a limited degree, but adopting this strategy represents a considerable effort for a minor reduction in the median age. This costly benefit would also be fleeting. As no population can grow for ever, the median age of 47.5 would still be waiting for us when we slowed down…

In contrast the balanced migration route of the stable projection (series 56) would lead to a stable number of older people: around 8.3 million out of a 26.5 million. We would have turned 47.5 faster, but with much less stress.

As I keep arguing, a big negative of high rates of immigration is that it places increasing pressure on the pre-existing (already strained) stock of infrastructure and housing, reducing productivity and living standards unless costly new investments are made, which in turn chokes-off other productive investment.

Indeed, as explained in a 2011 speech by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Phil Lowe (summarised here), rapid population growth (immigration) since the mid-2000s has placed upward pressure on rents, as well as caused a big surge in utilities prices as the capacity of the system struggled to keep pace with the growing demand, requiring costly new investments.

In a similar vein, modelling by the Productivity Commission has found that immigration is neither beneficial for the economy or living standards, nor can it sustainably alleviate the impacts of an ageing population.

Any objective examination of the facts suggests that the case for a high level of immigration is anything but clear-cut and those advocating a strong migration program need to justify their position.

[email protected]


Leith van Onselen


  1. Immigration of high quality people is good, period.

    If we could lose the political correctness it would help; change the debate to “who we let in”, not “shall we let x number of people in or not”.

    • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

      I know many people share this view, but I find its just not up to the complexity of the issue.

      “Immigration of high quality people is good, period.”

      That’s a bit like saying ‘eating quality food is good, period.

      We can have too much of both.

      Australia’s median age was 37 at the last census, but the migrant demographic has a median of 45. The rest of the country was only 32.

      Migrants have a head-start in the aging process, so the more of them we have, the faster our population ages.

      • No fking way….You’re telling me the magic to fix our aging population are older than the existing population?

        All politicians straight to jail. Can someone please stand up and tell the nation about these rorting grubs (politicians) employed by big business to shaft us.

      • It seems incredibly difficult to get the truth on anything from our elected so-called representatives. Public servants my arse – they exist above all to serve their own interests.

  2. Colin Clark’s magisterial 1967 book, “Population Growth and Land Use”, analyses numerous positive feedback loops in economies as populations are rising, that go into reverse when the population growth levels out or falls. This is even more significant in its economic effects, than resources like oil becoming scarcer and more expensive.
    We need to understand the consequences of the end of growth, either planned or unplanned: it means recession and falling income, not equilibrium at the “status quo”.

    The development of free markets and the creation of wealth requires, along with a culture that encourages trust and co-operation; “connections” via transport
    and communication, between potential participants in exchange and trade. These connections can be the result of proximity (through density), as well as by roads and other transport infrastructure. There is a limit to how much density is achievable as a substitute for transport infrastructure, because the production of low-density rural areas, especially
    food, has to be transported to the workers in urban industry. There is actually a correlation between the “density achieved” in urban areas throughout history, and the provision of roads in those urban areas.
    Population growth is one way in which densities are increased, and “demand pressures” result in rural land being used more intensively and efficiently.

    Population growth disturbs a certain “status quo” that might have existed previously, where rural production levels were regarded as “satisfactory” to both the producers and the consumers of the produce. As population densities increase, and rural production increases, a number of
    efficiencies are realised. There is increased competition, and reduced oligopoly, monopoly, and monopsony exploitation. Increased specialisation becomes possible, because of a viable number of
    customers for the products of the specialist. “External efficiencies” are realised by increasingly networked producers.

    Economies are realised in infrastructure, social institutions, and government. Roads, bridges, harbours, etc, can be utilised by increasing numbers of people without capacity increases being immediately necessary. The same goes for churches and clergy, courts and lawyers, hospitals and doctors, other professionals, government bureaucracies, public buildings, educational and other institutions. This also allows for important advances in sanitation and health. Labour productivity growth occurs, and less additional “capital” is required for each additional unit of output. The utilisation of land and resources previously underutilised, is a “substitute for capital”.

    Nevertheless, return on capital increases, AND capital formation is also increased. A rising population results in increasing returns to existing
    investment, encouraging more investment. Less investments “go bad”, because there is a rising number of customers for whatever products or services the investor and his competitors provide. More production capital is properly utilised (and even worn out) before it becomes obsolete.

    The products that result from new investments, inventions, and efficiencies, are easily absorbed in a rising population; as are the redundancies and relocations that might be necessary. Younger people, of which there are more, are more mobile and receptive to change. The increases in wealth creation and demand, make society more amenable to changes in employment patterns as the result of advancing technology and methods. There are more valuable “positions” to go around, so that change is less regarded as a threat by those occupying positions of advantage.

    Younger people tend to accumulate capital, while older people tend to “draw down on it”. Larger families result in pressure on the parents to save more, and on the children to provide for themselves because their inheritance will be split more ways.
    (Note: Julian Simon added a further thesis to Colin Clark’s: that a higher population includes both more inventive geniuses, and more people to purchase
    and enjoy the fruit of those creative geniuses).

    A high proportion of government spending is inflexible to rises and falls in population. This spending is more efficient if population is higher. Much government spending is extremely difficult to reduce even when falling population justifies it. If population is falling, there is much greater pressure on politicians to cheat by inflating the money supply, as the fewer numbers of young simply cannot sustain the taxation levels necessary to keep the government running, apart from the burdens of caring for larger numbers of elderly. Younger people are rendered less able to save, capital is “drawn down on”, returns on investment decline, more investments fail, investment declines.

    Population increases demonstrated beneficial effects in Holland in the 1500′s, Britain in the late 1700′s, and Japan in the late 1800′s. Holland and Japan were economic successes while importing most of their food. A LOWER percentage of the workforce in agriculture, correlates to wealth increases. These increases in population and in wealth, result in a freer, more mobile society.

    Ancient Rome in its decadent phase, illustrates the effects of falling birthrates, including increased taxation burdens and monetary debasement.
    Declining populations, in ancient Rome and in Europe in the 1400′s, brought about a simultaneous shortage of workers, and yet lack of demand. Many people clung to their source of diminishing income, becoming protective and demanding restraint of competition; others had serfdom imposed upon them by the government, their freedom to relocate and change their livelihoods being removed. These seemingly contradictory effects are the result of a reversal of the “virtuous cycle” described earlier, that occurs when population is increasing. France, in the period from from the revolution onwards, also illustrates economic decline consequent on falling birthrates. In underpopulated lands, and where population is falling, the people themselves become more “protectionist” in sentiment, and more vulnerable to illusions regarding “planning” and regulation of production and prices. This only worsens the vicious circle of decline.

    • Thank you for a logical and well-argued analysis. Prepare for it to be totally ignored as the anti-immigration hysteria ramps up over the next few years.

      • Like the precious need for food security….. sold family farm for $600K in 1987, price 2014 still $600K…… join the dots….

    • EnoughAlready

      I’ve got two words for you, Phil: per capita.
      None of the benefits you claim yield a net benefit per capita. That’s aside from the ones that are just bunk, like ‘underpopulated lands’ being more protectionist.
      The growth in both wealth and population in Holland and Japan were related to opening of trade opportunities. An increase in resources per person. Density is the opposite. Sure, a few niche economies can be successful while importing most of their food, but where do you suggest we import it from when everyone follows suit?
      Do you really think the increase in price of land substitutes in terms of wealth creation for the decreasing access to the products of land (food and energy for starters)?
      The arguments you present are usually attributed to Esther Boserup, who set out to debunk Malthus. The problem is, the scenarios she anticipated were pretty much the same as those he anticipated, except what she called a valuable stimulus to innovation and productivity (being land-poor enough to farm more labour-intensively, and having lots of desperate landless people available to build irrigation channels for bare subsistence etc.) he called ‘misery’.

  3. Pity she get other facts wrong. She has the boomers as 4.3 million and counts them like the non-demographer Salt, as 1951 to 1964.
    She also states the participation rate is rising? Wtf?

    4.1 million boomers born here and now we have 5.3 million due to immigration, 80% of which will require full or part pension. The math is simple, immigrants age as well.

  4. Immigration policy should be based on ethics and micro rather than macro economics. We should allow immigration in cases where that meets certain ethical standards: family reunions, saves people lives, saves people from unfair prosecution (political, racial, sexual, other types of discrimination). In addition we should allow immigration of people who are required to perform very specific job that cannot be done internally and nobody in Australia can be educated or trained in couple of years to do it satisfactory (jobs that require years of education, training and experience scientists, artists, people with high level of uncommon skills, ..) . If we can educate or train our people in couple (5 or 10) of years (even if that means sending them overseas) we should not use the lack of that skill as excuse to increase immigration.

    Allowing high immigration of bricklayers and other tradies with something like two or three years of training and or experience, or gardeners (WTF), or chefs that can be trained here in a year or so, or pre-school teachers with two years of training, or building associates that we could train in just two years … We should pay people more for these important jobs and our kids will flock into these trades and professions.

    Our youth unemployment is at all times high, we have large number of young people with no skill and we decide to import workers although it takes just few years to train our kids to do these jobs.


    Once upon a time there was a Pacific Island with 20 adult people. 10 of them were of productive working age. The other 10 sat amongst the palm trees enjoying their senior years, supported by the working adults.
    The working islanders raised pigs, farmed yams and made pots and axes (mostly for domestic use) but the most lucrative and important trade on the island was collecting sea shells, which were unique and highly prized by neighboring islanders. They were able to make a comfortable income from the shells, enough to buy the necessary imports from neighboring populations. The were ruled by a democratically elected tribal council and people were generally happy.

    It so happened that the island had a perfect population replacement rate. There were always 10 retirees supported by 10 workers. Despite having a comfortable way of life, the envy of some of their neighbors, some of the working islanders began to grumble. “Why should I give such a large share of my hard earned income to support our parents generation?” they said. Eventually it was decided to allow 10 more working age people from neighboring islands to join the tribe. This had a wonderful immediate effect on the workers of the island. Suddenly their burden of caring for the elders was halved!

    The years rolled on and the new group of 20 workers retired, supported by 20 younger islanders (due to perfect population replacement). But the new generation of workers noticed that their living standards were not as high as their parents. “Let’s use the same solution as our elders” someone suggested. So it was agreed to allow 20 working islanders from neighboring tribes to join the group. The workers were now happy.

    This process continued over many generations. The next age group allowed in 40 immigrants, the one after that 80 immigrants, the following one 160 and so on. Some islanders worried that this might not be such a good idea but nobody wanted their burden of looking after the elders to increase, so the exponential population growth continued.

    After a while, problems started to emerge. The island’s governing council found that it needed to spend more and more of the revenue from shell trading to clear tracks between the island bungalows, to remove dung and waste, to supply drinking water to the island’s village and so on.

    Furthermore, competition for the best located village bungalows intensified. The more established island families decided that they could make more money from buying and renting out bungalows so they stopped collecting shells and raising pigs and making clay pots. “Bungalow equity mate!” was the catch cry at the village pig roast barbeques.

    Finally, bad economic times fell on the island. The neighboring populations no longer had such high demand for the tribes beautiful shells. The islanders who did not own bungalows felt the economic shock particularly hard. Most could no longer pay rent so many of them took to sleeping rough on beaches or in the jungle.

    People on the island eventually began to lose all faith in their system of electing tribal elders. Crime increased. Disorder spread. Some people blamed the newer islanders for their troubles and took violent action against them. “How do we solve this crisis?” some cried.
    “She’ll be right, mate because ours is the Lucky Island” was all that the tribal elders could say.


    I’m so glad this doesn’t resemble any place I know.

  6. one would think that immigration policy would be framed around increasing quality of life for the existing population

    perhaps it is framed around increasing quality of life for our entrenched oligopolies instead ?

  7. Wonderful. Stopping non-Australians from coming in and reducing the average productivity of the existing population is just the first step. I recommend we also stop young people from entering into the economy because their productivity levels are horrendously low.

    We should also prevent those in the Northern Territory and Tasmania from coming into the rest of Australia because their productivity levels are lower than ours so they will reduce our living standards. Hell, we should put up barricades just east of Parramatta and stop all the unproductive western Sydneysiders from entering the eastern suburbs. Way to go!

    In fact, only those of us in the top 1% of the productive class should be allowed to work at all, because then our living standards will be at their absolute peak.

    Seriously – do you people actually think through some of this stuff that you write? You don’t think there’s more to immigration than just questions of productivity levels at a particular point in time? Did nobody teach you the basics of Ricardian economics? You don’t think that new immigrants are capable of helping build new roads and bridges and schools and houses? You don’t think that as they become educated and use their creativity for the better they can lift their productivity levels and contribute more to society – both existing society and the new future one with them in it? Can you apply any of your logic to the past 200 years of Australian history? Was all the immigration we’ve had to date just a big economic mistake?

    And I’m not even going to mention ethics or international law.

    • Whoa econ, relax. It’s the unfettered and unmanaged high RATE of population growth that causes the problems not population growth per se or honouring our ethical and international law undertakings.

      We can accomodate our current international obligations on less than half the current pop growth rate.

      What do you say is a prudent pop growth rate?

      • Sorry – it clearly does read like a rant. I just can’t understand how a country of immigrants can make the sort of arguments I see here. You went from half a million Aborigines in 1788 to 3mil people a century later and 17mil by 1990. Now there’s fears about immigration of 300,000 a year. On Betts’ figures, that a rate of only 1.06% pa!

        In short, it sounds like Malthusianism for the modern conservative. I am not questioning the facts presented, but the constant negativity of the underlying assumptions – more is bad, new is bad, poor is bad. As for the ethics, focusing only on the “existing population” impact and ignoring the benefits to the incoming population and the joint future population is rather unethical. It’s the patriotic equivalent of insider v. outsider unionism.

        (And please don’t let anyone facetiously point out that European immigration made things worse for the existing population in 1788 too.)

      • (And please don’t let anyone facetiously point out that European immigration made things worse for the existing population in 1788 too.)

        Some would think that the European immigration made things worse for the existing population in 1788.

        If the aboriginees had the power to stop that immigration would they have? should they have?

        Anyway, we can learn a lesson from their experience.

      • Claw – the reason I called it facetious is that what made things worse for the Aborigines wasn’t the economic competition and infrastructure improvements of the colonisers, which is what this thread is discussing.

        Instead it was the fact they got hunted and infected and used as slaves. If I can assure you that today’s immigrants won’t hunt you down like an animal, infect you with smallpox or take away your human rights, then will you allow them in? In short, the reasons for stopping the European invasion are very different from the economics that people are arguing here.

      • Population growth rate is the issue, econ.

        I agree 1% p.a. is about right.

        We are currently growing at about 1.8% p.a.(400,000+ p.a.)or about twice the rate of most of the developed world.

        • The rate is next to meaningless, it’s the absolute number that is more important. When Australia’s population hits 70 million, as is projected under the ABS’ “high growth” scenario, do we really want the population growing at 700,000 per annum (i.e. 1% growth)?

          Sorry, but circa 250,000 immigration, as exists currently, is far too high given Australia’s planning policies, infrastructure and environment. What is wrong with a more moderate intake of say 100,000, as was the norm between 1990 and 2005?

      • Betts’ says (in para 3 of the quoted summary):
        “In percentage terms the increase in population from net migration averaged 0.9 per cent from 1950 to 1969. From 2006 to 2012 it averaged 1.06 per cent.”

        To my mind, that’s a very small increase in net migration. And note that 2006-12 covers the height of the GFC when all the immigrants (including European economic runaways) were coming to the world’s economic haven. I think the rate will fall back in time on its own.

        From 1990-2000 Aus popn growth pretty much equalled the US at around 1.2%. Since then, theirs fell a bit and ours rose a bit. What makes you argue for 1% rather than, say, 2%? Personally, I don’t have an “ideal” population rate, but I understand that slow and steady makes integration and economic adjustment easier.

    • +1 Betts has an agenda, a hard right one ….. like others at Monash University’s CPUR whom rely upon Malthusian ideas of ever increasing population growth….. yet the underlying trends are stabilising or slowing….

      • The Patrician

        Our population has grown by over 400,000 + extra residents in the last 12 months year or over 1000+ per day.The highest number of residents ever added to our population in one year.

        No stabilising or slowing there.

        Population boosters have an agenda…. whether they be real estate agents, bankers, property developers, migration agents or visa factory proprietors…..and their agenda has nothing to do with the hard left or the hard right or national interest

      • I thought MB was about balanced centre of politics discussion based upon facts vs memes and myths 🙂

        One can push the headine data (impacted in Oz by a change in definition 2006) and not make a distinction between different sub categories i.e. permanent vs temps, and internationally fertility rates have stabilised amongst younger generations…..

        Further, what’s the difference between a temporary in Oz < 12 months not included in population data and one 12+ months who is?

        In Oz it seems very important that temps are deemed to be 'immigrants' because it sounds a whole lot more alarming?

        Presently appears Brisbane has slowed right down….. Perth/WA no doubt following…..

        Huffington post has an alarming graph showing the peak world spike followed by cliff…… and what they predict with slowing population growth is more inequality, i.e. more concentration of wealth….. Google 'Huffington population growth chart'…

        Deutsche Bank demographer did research last year finding that population growth internationally has already slowed dramatically…..

        Conversely, the non population boosters like SPA and CPUR etc. don't have an agenda informed by US based white nativist neo cons?

        For those of that ilk I'd suggest they read the book reviewed by Katherine Betts, Raspail's "Camp of the Saints", suggested as top 10 must read for neo-Nazis and skinheads……

  8. Seems to me when people wake up to the fact that they’ve been had when it comes to mass immigration it will be too late.

    Plus it’s really hard to tell if the majority like it or not because it rarely gets talked about properly in the MSM.

    • What do you mean? It gets talked about ad nauseum. What do you think all the 457 whinging was about last year? And the pension age “debate” that is allegedly taking place now? Not to mention every anti-boatperson rant that blames our poor infrastructure and bad schools on – you guessed it – the immigrants. Don’t blame the politicians or the middle-class apathy or the low returns to those investments versus mining. Nope – blame it instead on population growth.

      • Potentially Bluebird means that the items you list – 457s, the boatperson ‘debate’, etc etc, are micro level distractions that are meaningless without reference to some sort of higher level goals for our immigration program, and it is these goals which are not being discussed.

      • every anti-boatperson rant that blames our poor infrastructure and bad schools on – you guessed it – the immigrants.

        Such inflammatory language!
        Some thinkers believe that boatpeople are unfairly jumping a queue and are coming to Australia as “economic refugees” rather than seeking asylum closer to their home country.
        Other people are concerned that boatpeople do not have sufficient language and other skills to survive in Australia with its high cost of living.

      • Yeah 457s. Well if people are really against it why do they just vote Lib/Lab all the time?

        Anyway I’m talking about plain old numbers. You rarely if ever see in the news that our population grows by 300k+ a year.

        I hardly ever see posts on the internet blaming immigrants.

        I really don’t think the general consensus on it is being measured.

        Ad nauseum by butt. Sure the 20k or so refugees does. But that’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the ones coming in the front door.

        For instance a while ago I was talking to some 2gb listening channel 9 watching boomer, and he was whinging about refugees, but then when i mentioned the normal immigrants he just said “they do jobs nobody else wants to do”. So there you have it a bogan boomer who is pro mass immigration.

        And I’m 99% sure he doesn’t have investment properties.

  9. @ The Patrician
    1% growth = 44 million in 72 years, 88 million in 144 years, 176 million in 216 years, 352 million in 288 years. (applying rule of 72).

    Now do that for the whole world. for the same years 12 billion, 24 billion, 48 billion, 96 billion in 288 years.

    Let’s face it, perpetual growth is not possible in a finite world. Why should we grow until it is an absolute disaster for everyone (which won’t be 288 years away)?

    • Whoa Explorer, I agree with you. The percentage pop growth rate reference was for the purpose of current international OECD growth rate comparisons.

      My point is we need to moderate our current dangerously high pop growth rate to a prudent and managable level and let infrastructure/housing etc catch up