ABS projections: Melbourne’s population to hit 10 million by 2066

By Leith van Onselen

Twenty years ago, in 1998, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) forecast that Australia’s population would hit between 23.5 and 26.4 million by the year 2051.

However, ever since that initial forecast 20 years ago, Australia’s population forecasts have been continually revised upwards as well as overshot, as noted by Bernard Salt:

Every edition of these projections since 1998 has upped the mid-century outlook for our nation. The present medium projection delivers 38 million by 2050 and 44 million by century’s end. At the start of this century the projections for 2050 indicated only 25 million. We’ve upped the outlook by 13 million in two decades.

Yesterday, the ABS released its updated population projections, which were largely unchanged from the 2013 Projection, with Australia’s population projected to hit 38 million by 2053 under the medium (Series B) projection.

The below tables show the assumptions underpinning these ABS’ projections:

And below are the projected population outcomes under these assumptions:

As shown in the table below, the population increase is projected to be the greatest in Victoria and New South Wales, which will continue to attract the lion’s share of overseas migrants:

Alarmingly, Melbourne’s population is projected to increase to more than 10 million people by 2066 under the medium (Series B) projection, with Melbourne’s share of Victoria’s population to increase from 77% currently to 85% in 2066:

That is, Melbourne’s population will double in size in less than 48 years, and will be more than triple the size that it was at the turn-of-the century (3.3 million).

Similarly, Sydney’s population is projected to balloon to just under 10 million by 2066 under the medium (Series B) projection:

In short, both Melbourne and Sydney are projected to transform into Asian-style mega-cities.

Who wants this kind of future for our children and grandchildren? Who voted for this?

Australia needs to dramatically reduce immigration before it is too late.

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. Australia needs to dramatically reduce immigration before it is too late.

    well yes UE …… but whose listening?? I mean is it really that hard for the average sheeple to see what is their lived experience and join the dots ?? …… apparently it is …

    hate to say it, but the deal is done. It is just how quick the transformation occurs that is in question now. Meanwhile the sheeple will obsess about their property value/where will we holiday/can we holiday/get a new car/ aren’t we the clever country/why can’t I have what I want …….. all teh mindless idiocy of the dumbed down, consumer cretins we have become

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Exactly. Only losers are fighting against it. Everyone else loves it and the smart people like me salivate at the potential profits!

      • Dude!! …. getting wet down there in anticipation – is not called “salivating” – get your terminology right!

    • You can tell the ABS is 9,999,999 because I’m leaving if there’s that many people here,
      Was thinking of moving to the Gold Coast

      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        I must say, on a per capita basis, the Gold Coast has the best relations parties. And great massage lounges. It really pulls above it’s weight!

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Yeah, if poor people like you cannot compete now I guess you’ve got absolutely no chance in a city of 10 mil. Best to move out to regional escapee centres, or migrate to places where unsuccessful people can look marginally ok like Cambodia, and leave the cities to the achievers.

      • migrate to places where unsuccessful people can look marginally ok like Cambodia

        At first I read that as Canberra and I thought “that’s a bit harsh!”

  2. Just wait for the economy to tank on the back of this housing crash. All the migrants that have no real stickiness to Aus other than a job here will go straight back. You can open the gates as wide as you want, people are just walking out through them.

      • Those people could go to any other EU country.

        Our fakestudents and fakeskilled workers can’t do that. They can only go back “home”, where the air is filled with smog, you can’t drink the tap water and the wages are $3/hour.

        I predict that they will mostly stay here. Earning $10/hr while breathing clean air and drinking clean water is relative luxury.

      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        ^^ What Peaches said. People like Jacob will still be whinging that they can’t score a $50/hr pizza delivery job while our hard working imported human capital will still happily get those pizzas out for $5/hr if it means staying here in our great nation, the greatest and most successful on the planet!

      • Yeh nah, your permacontrarian stance is without merit. Spain had a ton of migrants from central and South American ghettos who left on top of those from the eastern bloc.

        Clean air and water means nothing when the $10hr job your working driving uber eats or in the hospitality industry relies on discretionary spending, which will evaporate. Also means even leas to the remittance crowd when the dollar gets hammered.

        You also assume they all want to live here long term which is incorrect. A lot are here to set themselves up and live like kings back home. At the first sign of trouble they’re gone.

  3. Some would say the only solution to this population madness is a revolution.
    Any why?
    Because our politicians do not listen to the man in the street.
    So the man in the street has to find another way to be listened to.

  4. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Well according to this Beijing apologist/Economist cities like Beijing and Shanghai have too low a population at just overv20 million each,…35 to 40million is where they should be!


    Syd and Melbourne up to 10mill,…Pfft!,…thats FA!

    Thanks to Pfft 007 for the above clip posted in yesterdays Macro Afternoon

    • The MOU will speed things up. But perhaps slow Chinese city growth by a tiny amount as Melbourne transitions to a wholly owned Chinese satellite city and the God King floods it with high scoring citizins.

      • Peachy! Your perma-contrarian stance afore mentioned is getting irksome at times.

        It’s like your friendly neighborhood dark alley flasher: you put up with it, but sometimes you don’t need to see it. Guess which time is now?

  5. I am sure the lap dog ABS will have a meme on their facebook page showing how Britain is the size of Victoria and it has more people than Australia, so nothing to worry about.

  6. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I intend on keeping really fit so that I can move to Melbourne to enjoy the relations vibrancy of 10 million people in 2066. Sounds friggin awesome!

  7. In 1930 people were predicting NY metro area to have 100 million population by 2000
    it was still under 20 million in 2000

    • And in 1950 Sao Paulo had a population of about 2mil now about 12 mil and growing. Brazil is a much better comparative for Australia.

      • brazil is not good comparison because since 1950 it went through huge urbanization process (from less than 40% of urban population to over 85%)
        Australia was almost as urbanized in 50s as it’s now (urban population went from around 80% to 88%).

        Population growth in Sao Paulo in last 50 years is mainly driven by urbanisation and birth rate (not foreign immigrants).
        Australian cities have completely different population growth driver (immigrants) much more similar to NYC

      • It makes no difference whether the migration comes from local regions or from non-local regions – what matters is the policies of a resource rich nation running policies for high population growth for the major cities. if Australia had a regional population the city rent-seekers would be happily cramming regional people into our cities as well – even better.

      • In addition, New York is a major global financial centre for the worlds most productive economy – there is actually no comparison to an Australian city. The only reason one would chose NY is that it suits the argument one wishes to make. Rio is a great example of where Sydney is going.

      • local rural vs. foreign migrants does matter in this case – because of sheer numbers
        Brazil is huge country with huge population and such a large increase in urbanization creates much more migrants than any foreign immigration program can create. Brazil urban population increased from 30 million in 1950 to over 150 million in 2017. Such a large number makes population surge in all cities no matter how unlivable they become.

        Immigrants on the other hand tend to move after they choose where they want to go – so if a city becomes unlivable because of fast population growth – they go somewhere else.

        In other words, Sydney and Melbourne population growth is driven only by immigrants who chose to move there, Sao Paulo is flooded with local rural people who have no much choice

        Population change drivers in NYC are very similar to Sydney (large number of immigrants moving in and large number of locals moving out).
        In Sao Paulo is quite different, population is going up because locals are moving in, while immigration is negligible.

      • Again irrelevant – there is no distinction between local and non local – only numbers moving to cities. In Brazil dispersed across many big cities, in Aus centred in a few. It is still just cherry picking data to suit a belief. Our ‘local’ regions are being treated exactly the same as Brazil. To say the numbers won’t escalate because we will be like NYC is absurd. There is no economic or social comparison between Syd/Bris/Melb of our agricultural/mining/housing economy and NYC.

      • Another absurdity is to suggest there will be a liveability cut-off that holds back immigrants from some of the most overcrowded, poor, unequal, polluted, crime-riddled cities in the world. There is no case here, only data chosen to support a belief system

      • It would be much more honest to bring this debate down to an ideological divide – where it belongs. Dressing it up with false comparatives and dubious economics does no service to anyone.

        In one corner are those who believe that raising the welfare of the poorest in the world is the primary goal, even if that means lowering the standard of living of family and locals in the nation state. In the other corner are those that believe protecting the standard of living of the nation is the primary obligation, whilst assisting other nations to raise their standard of living. Like most things the real answer is a complex mix within the bounds of the two extremes, which can to an extent be tested with real data.

        How is our environment coping, what is the impact on our infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals), Is our city amenity changing for the positive, how is our green space changing, what is the impact on waste and pollution, do we have sufficient housing etc.

        But like most issues it doesn’t suit our career party politicians to look for a sensible answer, it suits them to create more identity politics more false economic examples, pander to more vested interests. And in the case of mass population growth, there are some very very very vested interests.

      • Another absurdity is to suggest there will be a liveability cut-off that holds back immigrants from some of the most overcrowded, poor, unequal, polluted, crime-riddled cities in the world. There is no case here, only data chosen to support a belief system

        That makes no sense – if our liveability falls below theirs, fairly obviously they’ll stop coming. More generally, if our liveability falls below too many other developed countries, and those developed countries decide to take more immigrants, these people will go to those countries instead.

      • Our liveability is in decline but it is unlikely to decline so catastrophically to the level of the polluted mega-cities until the damage is done – ie we are living in overcrowded polluted mega-cities ourselves. So what you’re saying is it will stop when our cities have been destroyed as well. Ok, well yes, not arguing with that.

        As to other nations usurping the billions in the pool of willing escapees from overcrowding crime and pollution, that is patently ridiculous. This is a giddy storm of ideology and vested interests

      • Brazil has almost 10 times bigger population but only 25 cities bigger than Adelaide and 28 bigger than a million (we have 5).

        Again irrelevant – there is no distinction between local and non local – only numbers moving to cities.

        There is an important aspect you are missing – local people who are moving out. Over the last decade more Australians are moving out of Sydney than they are moving in, so immigration needs to offset local population decline. In Sao Paulo many many more locals are moving in than leaving plus immigrants.

        It has been the same in NYC for while (since WWII), Americans are moving out while city population is growing only at the back of immigration.

        You can persist as much as you want but when it comes to population growth Sydney is now very similar to NYC since WWII and has no similarities with Sao Paulo.
        And that’s why Sydney has population of 5m and not 20m as Sao Paulo despite starting from the same number 60 or so years ago. Due to poor infrastructure and cost of living Sydney is likely to start losing population soon so by 2030 may have less than now.

      • Regional Brazil is no different than regional Asia – the NYC example is pure speculation based on a very weak comparative. The population of Sydney is still rising fast, ‘regional’ Asia is coming in, and will continue to on Brazil-esque policies that favour mega-cities. A few Sydney-siders getting jack of it is irrelevant- there are no other places with work. There is no evidence that this NYC example is relevant other that it fits the desired story.

      • This is the critical factor that unravels any meaningless comparison with NY. Those unhappy with NY, essentially a finance/arts hub of the words most productive economy will move off to live in any of hundreds of cities in the US with a productive economy. Compare to Syd/Melb, where there are simply no jobs outside of Sydney and Melbourne. Regional areas have massive unemployment and Brisbane/Perth etc have struggling labor markets without any real productive economy. Australia is a population/housing ponzi layered on a mining/agri economy. Much more comparable to the reasons Brazil has mega cities, then comparable to why NYC slowed in growth.

      • It’s urban asia that is coming to Sydney.
        It’s not a few Sydneysiders leaving but around 60 thousands per year (around 40k moving to other cities and states and around 20k citizens leaving the city and the country)

      • That was my point, urban Asia is our regional Brazil. It’s a massive pool, and a few rich Sydney folk moving out will not be a consistent theme when the ones moving in the future need jobs.

      • Asia has already stopped having enough babies to replace itself as of about ten years ago. In fact, births in Asia peaked in around 1990, and have fallen by almost 1 sixth, so we are actually at the peak of twenty-something Asians that is our strong preference on the planet right now. Eventually the supply from Asia will dry up, just as will happen in Brazil, where births peaked roughly thirty years ago, and fertility is materially below our own.

      • And that’s an excuse to trash our cities with mega-city open-border ideology in the interim? sure whatever.

      • It’s not saying that, just saying that our ability to attract immigrants from Asia will decline substantially well before 2066, the time frame of the ABS projection, probably within around 20 years.

  8. 2028 projection of Melbourne & Sydney by Australian, migrant PR & migrant TR.

    If the current rates of migrant PR & migrant TR are not changed.

    Using the last 10 years trend of an annual average growth rate of 7% in TR (1.1 million to 2.2 million) – which will see a doubling again of the TR to 4.4 million in the next 10 years.

    By city.
    🔹2028 Melbourne – 10 million. (Double)
    1.4 million Migrant PR/citizenship grants.
    That’s 1 in 7 people.
    Plus 1.8 million of the 4.4 million as Temporary Residents.
    Plus 360k, of the 880k ‘Tourist/Visitors’ working illegally.
    Plus at least 40,000 Overstayers.

    That’s a doubling to 2.2 million non residents, mostly third world, adults, poor, unskilled, and on a pretext visa.

    🔻The non residents / migrant guestworkers will remain 22 % or almost 1 in 5 people in Melbourne.
    As they are today.

    These non residents will steal or displace some 1,200,000 or so Australian jobs in Melbourne, the majority working illegally, fake ID, cash in hand in visa breach.

    The non residents will occupy some 440,000 ex Australian dwellings, usually renting in a now foreign owned sublet cash in hand bunk & mattress slum share. Long stay.

    They will heavily congest public transport, and drive some 400,000 cars.

    There’s your Melbourne crush load issue.
    Melbourne is the overflow of poor migrant guestworkers that can’t get afford to Sydney. The foreign student industry is even more corrupted in Melbourne, and there is more blue collar & unskilled work to steal – so the Melbourne migrant guestworker intake will increasing more rapidly off a lower base than Sydney with the same issues & congestion and into a sea of Melbourne migrant only third world slums.

    🔹2028 Sydney 10 million people (double)
    1.6 million Migrant PR/citizenship grants.
    1 in 6 people.
    Plus 2.2 million of the 4.4 million Temporary Residents.
    Plus 440k (50%) of the 880k Tourist/Visitors’ working illegally.
    Plus at least 50,000 Overstayers.
    2.7 million non residents, mostly third world, adults, poor, unskilled, and on a pretext visa.
    🔻The non residents / migrant guestworkers will be 26% or 1 in 4 people in Sydney.
    The non residents will steal or displace some 1.4 million or so Australian jobs in Sydney alone , the majority working illegally, fake ID, cash in hand in visa breach.
    The non residents will occupy some 600,000 ex Australian dwellings in Sydney, usually renting in a now foreign owned sublet cash in hand bunk & mattress slum share. Long stay.
    They will heavily congest public transport, and drive some 500,000 cars.

    There’s your Sydney – also a congested third world slum.

    Elsewhere in Australia.
    The migrant intake is mostly Brisbane, & other state capitals each as mini me replicas of Sydney & Melbourne.
    Still no jobs to steal in the regional and remote areas.

    700k Migrant PR/citizenship grants.
    400k Temporary Residents.
    Plus 80k (9%) ‘Tourist/Visitors’ working illegally, illegal industrial / farm workers.
    Plus the other 50,000 Overstayers.
    That’s 1 million non residents elsewhere, again mostly third world, unskilled on a pretext visa. Also in their little highly congested set of third world slums.

    “reduce the PR intake will reduce the TR intake”


    It’s the opposite.
    The stats show the TR intake will increase when the PR intake is constricted – exactly the opposite of what MacroBusiness think.

    Stats as of 2028 as the TR doubles and the same visa rackets & duration of stay.

    🔹1.2 million NZ SCV, permanent stay.
    Of which 750,000 or 62% (double) will be unskilled Asians & Indians coming in via the NZ back door. Not ‘going back’. 90% one way permanent flow into Australia. Another 270,000 third world (last 5 years of intake) unskilled will be queued in NZ waiting for the NZ passport stamp to enter Australia on a NZ SCV. Given the rapid growth of non NZ born SCV from 8% to 35% in 2018, the trend will be the majority of NZ SCV in Australia -750,00 will be third world unskilled & non English speaking let in via NZ, then dumped into Australia as the NZ outlet.

    🔹1.3 million foreign students & partners. (Double 2018 +8% 690,000). Very long stay and long stay. 4-9 years is not uncommon. Growing in number despite a ‘reduction of students as PR intake’.

    Only here to work illegally, to repay agent procurer debt, to send back remittances and stay for as long as it takes or via visa churn until they get a PR.

    🔹340,000 Bridging Visas. (At least double but perhaps even triple given the explosion in numbers). Every kind of racket in this subset – protection, family, spousal, appeals – rorting the Appeals Tribunal. Often after a long stay as a TR or Tourist / Visitor caught working illegally.
    Then they appeal and stay for another 5 years with full work rights as they go thru Appeals stages category A to E.
    Again the number has exploded because it’s as an alternative to getting a PR to stay in Australia & work on a visa pretext.

    🔹320,000 so called skilled. It’s only dropped a tiny fraction despite all the government propaganda. So it will probably double as well.
    Looking more closely – 180,000 of these will be partners or dependents / non primary. Of the 140,000 skilled primary – only 10% or 14,000 will be higher than average income genuine uniquely skilled.
    Long stay, very long stay often 3-5 years with many progressing to PR.
    Don’t go back.

    🔹640,000 Visitor – long stay repeat stay and visa churn onto one of the above.
    Again double. Most working illegally, 2-3 year stays. They also don’t go back, except rarely and when caught – then they appeal and join the bridging visa group.

    🔹280,000 Working Holiday visa, but only 80,000 will work in a regional or rural area for 88 days to get the 1 year extension !! And that small number is rife with fraud corruption, farmers & labour rings taking bribes to get the visa extension.
    So only 18,000 as a FTE/year officially did any farm or regional rural work / 262,000 or 93% FTE a year did not..
    Because 93% are in the cities and many working illegally. Again long stay, 2-3 years. And the answer is to let more in…


    The TR intake & retention issue needs to be addressed head on.

    Today it’s 2.2 million of which 1.5 million are here on a pretext, working & living illegally need to be exited / from our cities.

    In a decade, based on trend it will be double or 4.4 million – of which 3 million are here on a pretext, working & living illegally & 90% in our cities.

    Capping or reducing the PR will only make these TR numbers grow larger – unless the TR issue is addressed.

    In 2018 the PR intake was 1.9 million over the last decade or an average of 190k a year.
    The 2.2 million TR & 440k illegally working TV and 65k Overstayers was 2.7 million – 140% more. Thats 14 years of TR intake.
    And increasing at 7% a year or doubling every decade.

    Reducing the PR numbers – even to zero for next 10 years does nothing – while we have 2.7 million third world unskilled permanent & long stay migrant guestworkers onshore.
    And not acting on the TR & TV issue and continuing with a 7% year to year growth rate will see a doubling of the TR in 10 years time.