Thursday, 23 February 2017

Demography North are excited to introduce a new population projections product

RePPP (Regional Population Projection Program)

Dr Tom Wilson

 RePPP (Regional Population Projection Program) is an Excel-based program which produces subnational population projections using a state-of-the-art cohort-component model. It generates projections by sex and five year age group for between 2 and 50 subnational regions over a projection horizon of between 5 and 50 years. The program is suitable for regions varying in size from SA2 areas to States and Territories. Click here for full details including user guide and software requirements. 

Key features
  • projects populations by sex and five year age group up to age 85+
  • handles between 2 and 50 subnational regions
  • region size can vary from SA2 areas to States / Territories
  • projection horizon of between 5 and 50 years
  • easy to use Excel interface
  • state-of-the-art multi-bi-regional cohort-component projection model
  • low input data requirements compared to standard multiregional models
  • separation of ‘headline’ projection assumptions (e.g. TFR, life expectancy at birth) from age profiles to facilitate easier assumption-setting and scenario creation
  • option to constrain age-sex projections to independent population totals
  • fast run time
  • validation routine to check the validity of input data
  • separate Excel output files containing various tables and graphs for each region
  • several derived projection variables output (median age, % population by broad age group, population growth rates, components of change, population growth index, sex ratios by age)
  • example input data and projections supplied
  • User Guide with step-by-step instructions
  • assistance with preparing data inputs available on request

Demography North

Monday, 6 February 2017

The growing importance of overseas migration to the Northern Territory (NT) and Northern Australia

Dr. Andrew Taylor

From 2008-2009 onwards, the NT’s interstate migration position has progressively worsened while overseas migration has remained positive and natural increase (the excess of births over deaths) stable as the main contributor to population growth. You can read about the mix of factors changing our population and affecting growth in our research brief “A Snapshot of Current Population Issues in the Northern Territory”.

With overseas migration increasingly determining our growth rate, and at the moment preventing negative growth, it is important that the Territory and Northern Australia more broadly, where the situation is similar in many parts, continues to attract and retain more international migrants. However, northern and remote areas of Australia have long been reported as struggling to do so, with most permanently settling overseas migrants going to urban areas or ‘leaking’ out of the north within a relatively short time.

So let’s assess the current situation for the NT. Below are charts compiled using recent data on permanent migration streams. I’ve compared our share of the national intake for each stream (the attraction indicator) and losses overseas from each stream (retention indicator) to our share of the national population (around one percent as shown by the orange dotted line in the charts). It’s important to note that skilled migration is the most significant stream at around 70% of permanent additions for Australia and higher for the NT. You can explore the rise in importance of skilled migration in our research brief “Are peripheral regions benefiting from national policies aimed at attracting skilled migrants?”

The first chart on attracting overseas migrants suggest the NT has been relatively consistent in maintaining its intake share for temporary skilled (457 visa) and family migrants. However, its share of skilled migrants, while increasing since 2009, has remained well below one percent of the national intake, such that the NT is ‘missing out’ on its share of skilled migrants; a factor which may help explain the high share of temporary skilled migrants on 457 visas who are needed to fill skilled vacancies.

Attracting Economic Migrants

We use a similar comparison to measure retention in the second chart below. It shows the proportion of the national share of migrants leaving for overseas who originated from the NT (comparable data for migration from the NT to within Australia are not available). Success in retaining migrants would be indicated by a lower than one percent share departing from the NT. The data suggest that this is the case for all streams other than family migrants towards the end of the period and temoprary skilled workers during some years in the period from 2003 to 2013. The position with regards to skilled migrants has worsened substantially during the decade with a twofold increase in the share moving overseas, up from 0.4% to 0.8% of the national average.

Can we retain economic migrants?

These indicators suggest we need to have specific initiatives in place to attract and retain overseas migrants to the north. Just having employment may not be enough. Studies in the NT and elsewhere confirm some of the other factors are: employment must match people’s educational backgrounds and skills; families must feel welcome and safe; education quality should be high; and migrants must be able to access suitable housing. With negative population growth a real concern at the moment, overseas migrants should be courted and made to feel very welcome in the NT. There are plenty of overseas examples of initiatives in these areas that we might learn from. For the Territory, the focus of initiatives should be on permanent skilled migrants and their families since their prospective contribution to population and economic growth is largest.

We welcome constructive commentary on our posts. I’ll be publishing a full paper on this topic in the near future so stay tuned to Demography North and our research brief series.

Thanks for reading!

Andrew Taylor
Senior Research Fellow
Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University

Demography North