Where to from here?
With 500,000 in the bag, rumour has it that Tasmania's 600,000th person is on his or her way. The Series B projections (see below) indicate that Tasmania is unlikely to grow beyond a maximum 570,000, with most growth having ceased by the 2030s. The reason for this is population ageing, which, in approximately one decade, will see greater numbers of elderly Tasmanians than children, and about one decade thereafter, natural increase will shift to natural decline, as deaths come to outnumber births for the first time in Tasmania's history (note that this already includes an assumed net migration gain of 950 every year!). Once the crossover to natural decline is reached, populations can only grow from migration, and first the migrants have to offset the natural decline; in short it is like trying to fill a bath tub with the plug out. Of consolation is that Tasmania will not be alone in this brave new world of zero growth; it is already occurring across Europe and in Japan, and is expected to begin even in populous China around the same time as in Tasmania. Alongside Tasmania it will also be the experience of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales before mid century. (The Series B projections assume for Tasmania a birth rate of 2.1 births per woman, annual net migration of 950, and life expectancy continuing to increase but at a slowing rate)