Could Immigration Be Making Australia's Population Older?

IS IMMIGRATION MAKING AUSTRALIA’S POPULATION OLDER?

 

            We are told that Australia’s population is aging and immigration will counter this trend, but could it be possible that mass immigration is actually making the population older? Raising the birth rate substantially would really slow down the aging but fertility rates (TFR) have been declining lately meaning births, relative to total population have been falling. There is however a wide variation in fertility rates, especially between large metropolitan areas and small rural areas.

            For instance the TFR for Sydney City in 2015 was only1.01, for the suburb of Willoughby it was 1.50 and for Strathfield it was 1.52. Suburbs with more Third World migrants like Bankstown and Auburn had rates of 2.16 and 2.18 respectively.

            However local government areas of Bourke, Brewarrina and Warren had TFRs of 3.71, 3.02 and 3.20 respectively in 2015. In 2014 the small town of Jerilderie had a TFR of 3.51 which rose to 5.02 in 2015. (1) Some of these TFRs are up with Third World nations despite these areas attracting much fewer migrants than the large metropolitan areas like Sydney and Melbourne. Of course fewer immigrants means cheaper land, house prices and rent, which seems to have had a positive effect on fertility rates. Conversely the flood of migrants into large metropolitan areas raises the price of land and housing, and would appear to have led to lower fertility rates.

            The fertility rate for overseas-born at 1.76 (in 2015) is slightly lower than for Australian-born mothers which was 1.82 in 2015. (2) More evidence that immigration is not slowing down the aging of the population but could be making the situation worse.

            Incidentally the number of registered births in Australia increased from 305,400 in 2015 to 311,100 in 2016, with a slight drop in the number registered in NSW but a sharp rise, 12%, in the number registered in Victoria. (3)

 

Main sources:

(1) Australian Bureau of Statistics, 3301.0 Births, Australia 2015, Table 3.1 Births, Summary, Local Government Areas, New South Wales – 2010 to 2015

(2) Australian Bureau of Statistics, 3301.0 Births, Australia 2015, Table 6.1 Births, Country of birth of mother – 2015

(3) Eryk Bagshaw, “Baby, We Like Your Chances in Victoria Over NSW”, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 December 2017