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As the Population Clock Winds Down: Indicative Effects of Population Ageing in Australia's States and Territories

  • Year: 2002
  • Author: Jackson, Natalie; Felmingham, Bruce
  • Journal Name: Journal of Population Research
  • Journal Number: Vol. 19, No. 2
  • Country: Australia

Among the more profound features of population ageing is its regionality. This regionality is particularly marked in Australia, where the timing and speed of ageing are occurring at substantially different rates by state and territory. The shift to natural decline is expected to create many social, economic and political predicaments where it is first experienced. In Australia, Tasmania will be the first to enter natural decline, followed soon thereafter by South Australia, but not for several years by the youngest states and territories. These diverging demographic forces will have many implications for the complex mixture of federal, state and local government that currently adjudicates over policymaking and implementation, especially concerning the collection of taxes, the distribution of the goods and services of the Welfare State, and a large element of fiscal redistribution. This paper provides an overview of demographic characteristics and dynamics by region, and examines their projected effects on three socio-economic indicators: educational demand, the labour market, and demand for Age Pensions. The changing demography will have both beneficial and adverse affects, and unless the profound regionality is soon understood and engaged with, currently older and younger states are likely to encounter not only diverging demographic forces, but also diverging fortunes.

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