27 October 2020

Silver tsunami or silver lining? Why we should not fear an ageing population

Sustainable Population Australia – Discussion Paper

Lead author: Jane O’Sullivan

Date: November 2020

Full version of Discussion Paper (PDF)

With people living longer than ever and the baby-boomer generation reaching retirement age, some people worry that we will run short of workers and taxpayers. Media reports and political discourse about our ageing population often adopt a tone of panic.

But is this panic justified? This in-depth discussion paper commissioned by SPA untangles the facts from the myths, so that Australians can look afresh at the population ageing issue.

Authored by Queensland academic Dr Jane O’Sullivan, the paper contains original data analysis and extensive literature review, to help separate the facts from the spin.

This paper addresses key questions, including:

• Will an ageing population blow government budgets?
• Will ageing cause a shortage of workers?
• Is high immigration and more population growth the answer?

A thorough analysis of the evidence finds that each of these concerns is unfounded. Far from being an economic calamity, our demographic maturity offers many advantages for improving social and environmental outcomes.

You may also be interested our short summary video on YouTube.

Full version of Discussion Paper (PDF)