The Tasmanian government has revealed statistics about its aging population, and what the long-term effects might be.
As the average age of the population continues to creep up, the government has raised concerns about their ability to maintain essential services for the remaining population. In older populations medical care becomes ever more important, while there are fewer working-age individuals fulfilling the necessary work needs, and paying taxes to pay for public service.
The government reports that the population is expected to go into decline by the middle of the century so significant action is required.
In such situations it is not unheard of for the growing strain on public services to drive even more residents away, leading to what is described as a “death spiral”. This is a situation that the Tasmanian government is keen to avoid.
In order to facilitate this process the Tasmanian government has released population targets that it believes are necessary for Tasmania to remain sustainable. Ironically, in an era when many countries are doing all they can to keep population growth to a minimum, Tasmania is one of the few countries experiencing the opposite problem.
Official statistics suggest that the Tasmanian population has been growing by around 2,000 people per year, but this is only half of what is necessary if the government is to meet its desired target. The plan aims for a Tasmanian population of 650,000 by the year 2050.
But it isn’t just “numbers” that Tasmania needs. Experts are keen to point out that these need to be working-age individuals to counteract the aging population. It has been estimated that Tasmania needs a 15% increase in those aged under 50 in order to make up for the aging population.
Sadly Tasmania has lost considerable numbers of working age residents who have flown the nest to leverage better opportunities elsewhere in the world. While this may seem like bad news, studies suggest than almost half of Tasmanian expats living overseas would like to return if the circumstances were right.
At present two solutions have been suggested in order to achieve these targets. For one, Tasmania is keen to coax back expats who have left the island for alternative destinations. The plan involves the creation of an “expat network” to encourage expats to return home to Tasmania, as well as the creation of new opportunities to make the area more appealing to those that have left.
A second policy under consideration is drawing non-Tasmanian expats to the island. As an example, discussion is under way to attract foreign students to Tasmanian universities, in the hope that a proportion of these students will stay around after their studies, significantly reducing the average age of the Tasmanian population.
For non-Tasmanian expats it is possible that the island will begin looking ever more tempting as an expat destination. The government of Tasmania is now working hard to encourage migration, which is likely to lead to all manner of new opportunities in this beautiful part of the world.