Charles Darwin University
enews home

Population projections help reveal NT’s future

The proportion of Territorians aged 65 years and over is projected to more than double by 2041 The proportion of Territorians aged 65 years and over is projected to more than double by 2041

The proportion of Territorians aged 65 years and over is projected to more than double by 2041.

Northern Institute researchers at CDU have been working with the Northern Territory Department of Treasury and Finance to develop population projections for the NT and its regions. The projections map the changing population for the Territory to the year 2041 and indicate future growth in the demands for services and infrastructure.

Northern Institute Senior Research Fellow, Dr Andrew Taylor said that population change fluctuated greatly in the Northern Territory with high rates of growth very dependent on major construction projects.

“Based on historical evidence and anticipated trends, we anticipate long-term growth to continue at around 1.5 per cent a year, which would see the Territory’s population reach about 360,000 by 2041,” he said.

Dr Taylor said these projections were developed specifically within the NT to meet the need for a research-based understanding about future change for Indigenous Territorians, who make up around one-third of the population.

“We are expecting the Territory’s Indigenous population to grow at around the same rate as the Territory average,” Dr Taylor said.

“In the rest of Australia, Indigenous population growth is anticipated to be much higher than in the NT, which has important implications for finances to the NT under current arrangements for distributing GST monies to the States and Territories.

“Perhaps the most significant compositional population change is anticipated very high growth in the number of Territorians aged 65 years and over, which, in proportional terms, is projected to more than double by 2041.

“While this has implications for services, the Territory will still be a relatively ‘young’ population compared to other States and Territories. Growth in the Territory’s older population is from a very low base because people have traditionally retired interstate.

“The growth in older Territorians will feature many more Indigenous people living into their 60s and 70s from continuation of improved life expectancies. Nevertheless, the gap in life expectancies between Indigenous and other Territorians will remain a challenge largely because non-Indigenous people’s life expectancies also continue to extend.”

Within the Territory, higher growth is anticipated in the Greater Darwin region than in rest of the Territory.

“We are likely to see a progressively larger proportion of residents living in the Greater Darwin area and this presents challenges for maintaining services in the regions outside of Darwin,” Dr Taylor said.

While he warned that projections should not be seen as predictions for the future, they provided a sound basis for strategic planning for government, business and for highlighting infrastructure needs.

The projections can be downloaded for free from the Northern Territory Department of Treasury and Finance website at:  www.treasury.nt.gov.au/Economy/populationprojections/Pages/default.asp