Thursday, 1 October 2009


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 1:59pm (AEST) today our projected population hit 22,000,000. I just happened to fluke a look at their counter as it ticked over to 22,000,000.
My counter is a little behind the ABS ticker (it's on the sidebar to the right) but will tick over to 22,000,000 by about 2:30pm (AEST).

When I was born the population of Oz was around 11,000,000. We've doubled the population since the mid 60s. When my dad was born, in 1938, the population was around 7 million and when my grandfather, mum's dad who celebrated 101 birthdays, was born just after the turn of the 20th century, the population was about 3.7 million.

It is shameful to note though that we've only be counting aborigines since 1971. Up till then they were left out of the census. Now Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islander number about 500 thousand. In 1788 the total number of indigenous people in Oz was reckoned to have been between 750, 000 and 1.5 million. However by the 1920s it had dropped to about 65,000. Hmmm.

According to the ABS their current population "projection is based on the estimated resident population at 31 March 2009 and assumes growth since then of:
  • one birth every 1 minute and 44 seconds,
  • one death every 3 minutes and 39 seconds,
  • a net gain of one international migrant every 1 minutes and 53 seconds leading to
  • an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 12 seconds."
The ABS are projecting that we'll have somewhere between 31 and 42 million residents by 2056. I dunno where we're going to put them all? Sydney is already crowded and we're creeping up to 5 million people. Melbourne's population is expected to outstrip Sydney's in the next decade or so too. Even if new residents move to the smaller capitol cities or regional Oz it isn't so much the space issue but the water scarcity. Water availability is already a problem. Throw in global warming and another 20 million people we're heading for fun times by the middle of the century.

Personally I like the idea of an Australia with 40 or 50 million people. Not so many people that we have all the problems to do with overcrowding but not so few that you're related to half the people in the country (hi Tasmania). A population that size (40 - 50 mil) can sustain just about any industry, endeavour or research. All the cool shit. Except we have to get the water situation figured out first. We've got, what, 20 years?

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