A diminishing tax base is the result of an ageing population and a lower birth rate. If this continues, how will Australia be able to support itself in the future? Specifically, in the next few decades?
The number of those who are aged between 15 and 64 for every older person has declined to an estimate of 4.5 for the year 2016 from 7.3 back in 1974 – 1975. According to the Treasury statistics, by the year 2054 – 2055 that number is most likely to go down further to 2.7.
Presumably, these numbers take into account the present migration planning levels which have been set at a number of 190,000 per year however, by the looks of how things are going, it does not look like that figure would be enough.
Statistics were released by the ABS late last year showing that the total birth rate, or the fertility rate per woman was 1.8 babies. The 1.8 rate is clearly well below the 2.1 replacement level. The rate last year was lower than the rate back in 2013, which was at 1.88, and it shows a trend going down which is evident in the past 5 years.
All in all, in the year 2014, 299,700 births were registered in the country, which was down from 380,100 in 2013. The ABS, for the 1st time, was able to map birth rates and this has resulted to them finding of that families in city centres have a much lower birth rate compared to outer suburbs, which had a rate that is more than 2 children.
”There was a strong pattern in our major cities where the highest birth rates were in outer suburbs and very low rates in the inner city,” said Ms AJ Lanyon, the spokeswoman for ABS. ”These inner city areas had high proportions of younger people, but few babies.”
Most babies are born to women who have the ages between 30 and 40 years old however, there has been a bit of an increase in the birth rate for forty to forty nine years of age. The lowest fertility rate is in Victoria, and the highest is in the Northern Territory at 2.1 births per woman.
A treasury report has stated that in order to maintain the country’s current age structure through immigration is going to need an increase in immigration for each year. This would also mean that the increases would need to be progressively bigger and bigger to take the ageing of the migrants themselves into account.
Last year, the independent economic modelling of the Migration Council of Australia has shown that the country would definitely need to raise the levels of migration to 250,000 per year so that the economy can be supported, and maintain GDP levels that are sustainable, as well as stay competitive in the international arena.