Young people are a vital resource

This section examines demographic trends: The number of young people Their diversity Their wellbeing Their transitions to adulthood

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The Overview

The number of young people will increase by 50% by 2050

There is reason for optimism here. In a number of areas, Australia’s demographic trends are… favourable… the challenge we face is to build on these advantages.

Phillip Lowe, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia

Population ageing is masking the increasing number of young people in Australia

It is predicted that the number of young Australians (12 to 25 years) will rise to 6.3 million by 2053.  This will be a 50% increase from 4.3 million in 2014 (around one in five Australians) (ABS 2014).  Our population is increasing through migration and increased fertility over the last decade (since 2001) (ABS 2013).  While the number of young Australians has been steadily rising, their proportion of the population has been decreasing as the population has been ageing (ABS 2013). This has hidden the significant growth in their actual numbers.

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Further reading including detailed graphs and analysis

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people is increasing

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A 50 percent increase in young people presents both challenges and opportunities to our community and economy.  Challenges include that there will be increased demand for schools/teachers, services/activities, etc.  These will compete with expenditure demands from the ageing population for pensions, healthcare and aged services.  Determining how to pay for these services will be a critical challenge for future governments.

In 2002 there were more than five working people (taxpayers) for every person aged over 65. By 2015 this had dropped to 4.5 and is predicted to further decrease to 2.7 by 2054-55 (Australian Government 2010; Australian Government 2015).  If well prepared for labour participation, Australia’s young population represents a significant opportunity to solve this challenge.  A diverse generation of young people will be able to build on Australia’s competitive strengths, innovate, and increase productivity to grow the economy.  This will ensure higher incomes that can meet expenditure demands and maintain our standard of living (Australian Government 2010).


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  1. Young people are a vital resource
  2. Future challenges for young people
  3. The transition from school to work
  4. Contributing to and leading change