Fertility, population and economic growth

Bruce R Bacon
Publication type


Conference Paper 2000/3

Paper presented at Workshop on Declining Fertility in Australia: Policy and Research Issues, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne, 30 May 2000.

This paper demonstrates that the decline in fertility and the consequential ageing of the population and decline in population growth rates has a significant effect on the growth in GDP. It is estimated that, assuming productivity stays around its long-run trend, GDP growth in Australia will fall from an average of 3.9% over the last 15 years to around 1.7% by the middle of the century.

The paper shows that the falling population growth rate, compositional effects from labour force participation - producing a decline in the total participation rate and a constant productivity assumption leads to the GDP growth outcome. The paper also notes however that these events are occurring around the world as most developed countries face falling fertility and ageing populations.