Friday, 14 October 2016

A Snapshot of Current Population Issues in the Northern Territory

A Snapshot of Current Population Issues in the Northern Territory

Dr. Andrew Taylor
Dr. Tom Wilson

Research Aim:

The Territory (NT) is at a critical juncture; facing low rates of population growth fuelled by large net interstate migration losses. In the longer term, some major demographic shifts are occurring, with implications for policy and planning. Our findings in this brief were presented at the ‘Northern Population Matters’ symposium, held in Darwin in August 2016. Presentations from the symposium can be viewed on our demographyNorth1 blog page with charts and graphs available for use with appropriate attribution.

See the full research brief at:


  • The Territory is currently in a period of relatively low population growth which is diminishing our share of the national population.
  • A persisting deficit of women is evident across all age groups above 15 years, and particularly amongst those aged 60 years and over.
  • Low growth is being driven by sustained net negative interstate migration which is a result of the following factors:
  • The ‘non-arrivals’ of women and young families with children;
    • declines in the arrivals of those aged 20-39 years;
    • smaller increases to departures in many age groups, especially 40-59 years; and
    • migration losses are most evident from the Darwin Suburbs, Alice Springs and East Arnhem regions;
  • We are no longer competing well enough to attract the same proportions of out-migrants from most States and Territories, with South Australia and Victoria standing out in terms of the loss of ‘market share’.
  • Our population is ageing through large growth in the 65 years and over population, however, the proportion of the population aged 65 plus remains below Australia;
  • Indigenous population growth continues at a steady pace, while non-Indigenous growth rates are far more volatile.
  • Population immobility is relatively low in the Territory, and lowest in Darwin City and Darwin’s northern suburbs.
  • Opportunities exist to address current population issues through reducing the gender imbalance and understanding how we can be more competitive in the interstate migration ‘market’ through research.

Northern Territory arrivers and departers, 2005-2015

Demography North

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