Population Projections

The Northern Territory population projections are estimates of the future size and characteristics of the Territory population, and have been developed to assist Northern Territory Government agencies, non-government organisations and business to plan service delivery across the Territory.

Population projections should be used with a clear understanding of the underlying assumptions and limitations as they are developed by applying mathematical models and assumptions of likely population trends (current and historical) to the base population. Projections provide information about how a population may change over the long term subject to assumed parameters. They are not accurate short-term forecasts, which may incorporate substantial volatility, or predictions of the future. Projections are also not targets, nor do they reflect the effects of current or future policies.

Population Projections Preliminary Update - 2017 release

The Department of Treasury and Finance have developed preliminary projections for the whole of Territory’s resident population up to the year 2046, disaggregated by age, sex and Aboriginal status. The projections are based on Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 Census preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) numbers at 30 June 2016.

The projections were developed using a cohort-component model, which adjusts a base population for births, deaths, migration and Aboriginal status to project a future population. The process continues for the extent of the projection horizon.

ABS will release final state and territory ERP data based on the 2016 Census in mid-2018, following which updated Territory population projections will be released. This release will also include more detailed regional population projections for the Territory. Further updates will follow in 2019 as ABS finalises Aboriginal ERP data.

An overview report for the Preliminary Update (2017 Release) is provided below together with detailed projection results. The impact of a range of alternative migration scenarios is explored within the overview report.

Output Files

Past Population Projections

This part provides three past projections of the Northern Territory population. These projections have been superseded by projections from the Preliminary Update (2017 Release), which are based on the latest published data from the ABS.

Past projections were formulated using the cohort component method and their values reflect the consequence of applying assumptions made at that time about the future direction and levels of fertility, mortality and migration. They should not be interpreted as accurate forecasts or predictions. Past population projections should be considered with caution. In particular, the regional projections will suffer more limitations than the Northern Territory total projections because the base input data are less accurate for smaller geographic areas, and the migration flows become more complex at lower geographic levels as intra-regional as well as interstate and international migration to the Territory needs to be taken into account.

Population Projections – Main Update (2014 Release)

The Main Update (2014 Release) projections were based on Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) final estimated resident population (ERP) data from the 2011 Census. Two sets of population projections were produced:

  • residents of the whole of the Northern Territory from 2011 to 2041, disaggregated by individual year of age, sex and Indigenous status; and
  • residents of each of six Northern Territory regions: Greater Darwin (Darwin City, Darwin Suburbs, Palmerston and Litchfield), Rest of Darwin (Daly-Tiwi-West Arnhem), Katherine, East Arnhem, Barkly and Alice Springs. These projections are made available for 2011, 2016, 2021 and 2026, disaggregated by five-year age groups, sex and Indigenous status.

An overview report is provided along with detailed projection results. The overview report includes sensitivity analyses which explore the effect of change in the assumptions for fertility, mortality and migration.

Output Files

Population Projections Interim – Update (2013 Release)

The Interim – Update (2013 Release) projections were based on Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) data from the 2011 Census. Two sets of population projections were produced:

  • residents of the whole of the Northern Territory from 2011 to 2041, disaggregated by individual year of age, sex and Indigenous status; and
  • residents of the Greater Darwin region (Darwin City, Palmerston and Litchfield), and the rest of the Northern Territory. These projections are made available for 2011, 2016, 2021 and 2026 disaggregated by five-year age groups, sex and Indigenous status.

An overview report is provided along with detailed projection results. The impact of a range of alternative migration scenarios is explored in Appendix 1 of the overview report.

Output Files

NTG projections scenario 

Population Projections 2011

The Population Projections 2011 were based on ABS ERPs, with the jump-off population (2010) based on ABS ERPs derived from data from the 2006 Census. Two sets of population projections were produced:

  • residents of the whole of the Northern Territory from 2010 to 2040, disaggregated by individual year of age, sex and Indigenous status; and
  • residents of each of the Northern Territory statistical reporting regions Darwin region (Darwin City, Palmerston and Litchfield), Rest of Darwin (Finniss, Bathurst Melville and Alligator), Katherine, East Arnhem, Barkly and Alice Springs). These projections are made available for 2010, 2015, 2020 and 2025 disaggregated by five-year age groups, sex and Indigenous status.
An overview report is provided along with the detailed projection results. Projection results are provided for two scenarios – NTG baseline projections and High migration. The differences between these two scenarios are discussed in the overview report.

Output Files

NTG projections scenario

High migration scenario

Northern Territory population projections are reviewed annually and updates produced as necessary. A major review and re-release of population projections conducted every five years following the release of data from the Census.

Last updated: 27 March 2018