Box 10: Pre- and Early Primary School Age Groups
Declining numbers of births over the past decade (albeit increasing slightly over the past three years), along with continuing (albeit slightly reduced) net migration loss of young adults in the key family formation age groups (18-38 years), has caused Tasmania to experience a significant decline in the numbers of pre- and early primary school age children. This trend - clearly evident in the accompanying graph - is also happening elsewhere in Australia, especially rural Australia, but at state level it is not yet as significant as in Tasmania.
The Series B assumptions indicate that the number of 0-4 and 5-9 year olds is likely to continue to decline slightly over the forthcoming decades, but first there will be a small increase. This is because the small increase in birth numbers over the past three years has set in motion a small wave that will now work its way to and through the school system. Note how the wave at 0-4 passes to 5-9 years as the children shift from the younger to the older age group.
The trends have significant consequences for Tasmania's schools (see for example Jackson and Thompson 2002, Population ageing and the A-B-C of educational demand: A focus on Tasmania and South Australia, People and Place, 10(3), 11-22).