The Planning Institute of Australia has released recently its report  Through the lens: megatrends shaping our future.  The report is available on-line through PIA and contains 40 odd pages of trends based on population statistics and more.

Some interesting snippets from the report include the following.

  • In 2014, 89% of Australians lived in urban areas (France 79%; Germany 75%; China 54%, as some comparisons).
  • In 2015, the Australian GDP was the third highest in the world (according to the IMF).
  • In recent times, the Australian population growth rate peaked in 2008-09 (with the fall since attributed to a steep fall in net overseas migration).  Nevertheless, the continued growth has been relatively high in a world sense.
  • Australia is expected to reach a population of 50 million in the second half of this century.
  • Since 1976, the total fertility rate in Australia has been below the level required to ensure Australian births are greater than Australian deaths (with for instance a neutral replacement rate now estimated to be 2.1 babies per woman).  The rate seems to have stabilised in more recent years at 1.9 babies per woman.
  • The distribution of births is uneven with often the inner urban rate being lower than outer urban and regional rates – most likely reflecting different average education / income levels.
  • Life expectancy is increasing and in Australia is among the highest in the world (but not in the case of the indigenous population).
  • The average Australian house (the building) size has increased – for example, from 150m2 in 1985 to 219m2 in 2009 (a nearly 50 % increase on average).
  • The number of Australians aged 65 and over is expected to more than double by 2055.  This will have implications for housing types, movement systems and generally more adaptable environments.
  • Resources for living such as water and food will become more pressured over time in urban growth centres with a growing population.  Access to such resources will have a greater impact on population settlement locations and accessibility – for example, trends show rainfall increasing in northwest Australia but reducing in the southeast (where the greatest existing urban populations occur).