Australia now has 25 million people. Will it choose to keep growing?

Malcolm Turnbull UN News

(UN Photo, 2016)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood Writer, Formative Content

Australia’s population has just broken the 25 million people mark for the first time. That is double its population in 1970 and is largely due to migration.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports a total increase of 1.6% to the end of 2017, largely fuelled by rising net overseas migration, which accounts for 62% of total population growth. That’s the equivalent of one additional person every 1 minute and 23 seconds.

The speed at which Australia’s population is growing has prompted fierce public debate about whether such rapid growth is sustainable.

However, to put things into context, Australia occupies the world’s sixth largest landmass but only ranks 53rd in terms of global population size. And as a percentage of the world’s 7.6 billion people, Australia’s milestone headcount is certainly not especially dramatic.

Nevertheless, Australia now needs to think to the future and decide whether it wants to keep accepting such a significant quantity of migrants.

Fuelling economic growth

Historically, Australia was settled by immigrants and the 2016 Census shows that that trend still holds true, as almost half of today’s Australians were either born outside of the country or had at least one parent born overseas.

In the year from December 2016 to 2017 the Australian population increased by an estimated 338,000 people. Of this total, an estimated 147,000 people were added thanks to natural increases (more births than deaths) while 240,400 arrived from overseas.

The pros and cons of migration are widely discussed within Australia.

Saul Eslake, an economist and fellow at the University of Tasmania, points to the positive contribution that migrants make to the nation’s output. Australia’s real GDP has increased by an average yearly rate of 3.2% since the last recession, half of which was due to the expanding population.

The migrants deliver an economic dividend for Australia since the country favours skilled migrants of working age, meaning they contribute to tax revenue while also lowering the median age of the population.

A strain on cities

However, the ever-increasing influx of newcomers concentrated into a few urban centres has created a strain on the supply of housing and the country’s ageing infrastructure. There are also concerns about the environmental impact of increased traffic congestion and air pollution as new roads are built to carry more and more traffic across the city.

Many of the congestion issues result from the fact that the visitors are concentrated in key cities.

20% of the country’s huge landmass is officially designated as desert and much of the hinterland is uninhabited. People mainly live in the cities dotted around the island continent’s coastline with wide expanses of land in between. Sydney and Melbourne are the main magnets for newcomers to the country, attracting 90% of new arrivals.

In an interview with Australian radio, the multicultural affairs minister Alan Tudge suggested the government could review the migrant visa process to force them to settle outside of the two main cities.

Another solution involves a radical plan to divide Sydney’s unchecked urban sprawl into three separate cities to realign the metropolis away from its historic shoreline roots. Forming three connected but independent areas will give residents more affordable housing, localized jobs with shorter commutes, and better access to schools and essential services.

A driver of urbanization

Sydney and Melbourne are not isolated cases. The World Economic Forum study Migration and Its Impact on Cities highlights the global trend of migrants being attracted to cities that have large populations. The report shows how migration and urbanization are linked, since many migrants remain in cities driving both economic and population growth.

In Australia, 99% of migrants live in urban areas, compared to 92% in the US and 95% in the UK.

Foreign-born population in major cities (% of total)
Image: International Organization for Migration

Cities like Dubai and Brussels have highly mobile workforces with a large proportion of migrants. A slightly higher proportion of Sydney’s population is foreign-born than Melbourne, but both cities have a high migrant count compared to other major urban centres.

In addition, there is a trend which shows a greater proportion of immigrants are now coming from Asia rather than from Europe.

Census records show a fall in the proportion of the overseas-born population coming from Europe, dropping from 52% in 2001 to 34% in 2016, and a jump in Asian born immigrants from 24% in 2001 to 40% in 2016.

This has contributed to the feeling that the notion of a typical Australia is being constantly redefined, with a mix of many different cultures and languages.

In order to continue welcoming migrants, Australia will need to address the cultural integration of its newcomers, as well as tackling city planning and expanding public services.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Two women threaten to tear the world apart

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons marks first anniversary, but still lacks sufficient numbers to become law

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, say MEPs

Jo Cox’s murderer believed the ‘leave’ campaign leaders that the ‘remain’ vote is treason

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

Why is the EU launching a doomed policy in stopping immigrant waves? What are the real targets?

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

How much is nature worth? $125 trillion, according to this report

Preparing medical students for new challenges in medical ethics

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

G20 LIVE: “United States and Turkey stand in solidarity with France and its people in handing the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice”, US President Barack Obama underlines from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Trade in fake goods is now 3.3% of world trade and rising

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Sudan, Libya, Yemen updates, solutions for e-waste, flood response in Iran, online security for children

Chart of the day: This is how many animals we eat each year

‘I thought I’d never get out alive’ – the Muslim director who interviewed neo-Nazis

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

Doctors without borders

German egotistic inward turn to badly hurt Europe after Merkel’s exit

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

Marking Sir Brian Urquhart’s 100th birthday, UN honours life-long servant of ‘we the peoples’

Protect women’s rights ‘before, during and after conflict’ UN chief tells high-level Security Council debate

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

These chefs are fighting hunger and poverty with gastronomy

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

Social, cultural diversity ‘an enormous richness, not a threat’ Guterres declares calling on investment for a harmonious future

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

MEPs approve EU’s spending in 2017

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Is there a chance for the West to win the war on terror?

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Batteries can power sustainable development. Here’s how

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Monday’s Daily Brief: ‘Horror’ at Notre Dame fire disaster, Yemen still bleeding, measles now ‘global crisis’

‘Humiliation was the worst’; Holocaust survivor at UN, asks world to act with ‘empathy and compassion’

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

Yemen update: UNICEF chief condemns attack in Taiz that claims lives of seven children

Is Europe ready to cooperate with the rest of the world? Can Germany change its selfish policies?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s