Issue 5 - June 1, 2009 enews home

CDU research leader presents controversial new research

Dr Dean Carson

Leader of SSPR’s Population Studies Group, Dr Dean
Carson presenting at the seminar addressing critical
questions for modelling the future population
of the Northern Territory.

By Row Booker

A Charles Darwin University researcher provided a snapshot of the Northern Territory population when he released his latest research in a public seminar.

Leader of the Population Studies Group in CDU’s School for Social Policy and Research (SSPR), Dr Dean Carson spoke about the critical questions for modelling the future population of the Northern Territory.

Dr Carson said a number of key issues directly affected population numbers in the NT including:

  • remote settlements dying out
  • why the Territory isn’t suited to women
  • the “female flight” of young Aboriginal women away from their communities
  • if retired people can manage to live in the NT.

“Understanding the Northern Territory’s population and projecting its future is
paramount, especially in light of the Territory Government’s determination to create
Territory 2030, a 20-year strategic plan,” Dr Carson said.

One of the most contentious issues of the seminar was entitled “Why don’t women like Darwin”.

Despite the Territory’s 110 men to 100 women ratio, Dr Carson said women were being repelled from the NT because it lacked the elements women were looking for.

“Northern Territory cities lack the arts and cultural opportunities, restaurant and café’s, higher education, family facilities, and schools and recreation areas that typically attract women to live in an area,” he said.

He also said that NT careers were “male-centric” in terms of the industries the Territory attracted and that was also causing women to leave.

But it was the affect that a lack of women would cause within the NT that caused shock waves.

“Using global research models which bare resemblance to the NT, male-dominated populations typically have higher instances of crime, violent crime and anti-social behaviour.

There’s also a higher degree of alcohol and substance abuse, poor male health and, obviously, a lack of women has a significant impact on population growth,” he said.

Dr Carson also said the mass migration of retirees was an issue.

He split retirees in to two categories, the “young old”, those aged 60 plus but still key contributors to society and the “old old”, who were the same age but in poor health.

“Currently the NT doesn’t have a retired population and this again has a very real impact on population figures, not to mention the economic boost that retirees could provide for the NT economy.

“If the retirees are grandparents then attract grandchildren and while they’re visiting they need to keep them occupied and this boosts the NT tourism industry. They also pump money into the economy by buying presents for the grandchildren throughout the year,” he said.