Demographic Change and the Needs-Based Planning of Government Services: Projecting Small Area Populations Using Spatial Microsimulation

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Journal Article

Abstract

Changing patterns of longevity, fertility and migration in Australia have driven substantial changes in population age structure and household size and composition. Of the various dimensions of population change, population ageing is expected to present major challenges to the financing and sustainability of welfare state programs in industrialized countries. One key issue for many of these countries will be assessing where particular services will be required in the future. This paper outlines the application of new forecasting techniques that age a spatial microdataset to 2027. Two illustrative examples are provided to highlight the potential capacities of the new modelling approach for government service delivery planners. For many older people, ageing in place is important, but is more difficult when the person is single: and so the first illustrative application focuses on where aged single people will be living in 2027. The second application examines where future childcare places will be required given the projected growth in the number of children aged 3 - 4 years living in families where all parents are working. This information will be important for Government planners in deciding the best location for childcare places. The creation of synthetic small-area household microdata for future years offers great potential for a number of purposes, such as analysis of the likely future sociodemographic characteristics of individuals and families at the local level and assessment of the future geographic effect of alternative scenarios such as changes in labour force participation or fertility rates.

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