The graphic shows the latest projections for the changing age composition of the Australian population through to 2007.
For the benefit of my international readers, back in 2002 the Australian Treasurer Peter Costello released the first Intergenerational Report looking at the impact of Australia's aging population.
One of Mr Costello's messages, one that I agree with, was the need to recognise and deal with impacts now to avoid burdening later generations. While I am often critical of the way that public policy is developed in Australia, especially at State level, the first Intergenerational Report was an example of something I applaud in policy terms, an attempt to provide information and ideas on a long term issue.
The second report reveals some interesting changes over the five years. While still below the replacement rate, the Australian birth rate has increased instead of declining further. Migration has been higher than projected. Participation rates by older workers have increased. The net effect is to reduce the projected impact of an aging population.
One thing that I found interesting in the Report is that it provides further straws in the wind indicating some profound social changes in Australia, changes that I have seen signs of recently but which are still somewhat below the radar. I won't go into details now - this is really just a note to myself.
Back in November 2005 I wrote a piece on demographic change in Australia. While now a little dated, it does provide an introduction to the issues. A stocktake on some of my various posts on demography and demographic change can be found here.