Australia’s population: it isn’t so bad

Australia’s population: it isn’t so bad

On 7 August 2018 Australia hit the wonderful milestone of growing to a population greater than 25 million. Australia’s population still remains fairly small in comparison to other nations even with smaller landmass. So, while you may believe we are taking in a record number of refugees, or that foreigners are taking all your jobs, here are a couple of reasons why you should be thankful about our population size and perhaps realise that it could always be much, much worse.

According to the World Population Review, Australia sits as the 54th most populated country, below North Korea and the Ivory Coast which come in at 52 and 53 respectively. Both the Ivory Coast as well as North Korea are significantly smaller than Australia but have larger populations.

Citizens of Australia can live fairly comfortably with a population density of 3.1 people per square kilometre as of 2016. Now, compare this with that of the Ivory Coast, which has a population density of 64 people per square kilometre, and things already begin to look far more comfortable for us.

This is without even considering the fact that despite being the 54th most populated country in the world, Australia is also the sixth largest by area; sitting above India, which is also the second most populated country on Earth, with a population that exceeds one billion people — an extremely high number compared to Australia’s puny 25 million.

Evidently, we have it pretty good here in terms of space and population. However, a much debated topic is the issue of refugees and whether we are letting in too many for our population to handle. Aussie citizens often argue that the hard work of true-blue Aussie families is being undermined by the fact that our government is simply inviting in countless refugees and foreigners to enjoy our shores.

Once again, if we compare our refugee and migrant intake to that of other similar nations, it grows clear that Australia’s numbers are minuscule in comparison. As Australia is an island nation and a significant distance from many other countries, it is often not the first choice for refugees and migrants. This becomes evident once we look at the numbers.

According to the ABC, in 2016, 6567 people arrived in Australia as refugees. This is a tiny number when we compare it to that of countries which are even smaller and less populated. However, 443,210 people were recognised as refugees in Germany and 532,735 in Uganda in the same year. Both Sweden and Norway, whose populations are both significantly smaller than Australia’s, have recognised a much higher number of refugees at 68,090 and 12,147 respectively.

It is clear that Australia’s “refugee crisis” really isn’t a crisis, as many in parliament and the media would have you believe. It is never easy for a nation to take a stance on refugees and immigrants, but next time you are caught complaining about foreigners in your neighbourhood, just be glad you are not living in Norway.

We have plenty of space here in Australia; and even though much like the USA, only our coastlines are heavily populated, the amount of room each of us have to breathe is a blessing when compared to that of other countries.

Food and supplies are another topic that are often coupled with talk of populations, and probably coming as no surprise at this point, Australia is doing pretty well in this area as well. With just over two arable hectares per person, according to The Conversation, we have one of the highest ratios in the world.

Despite having a population of only 25 million, Australia produces enough food to feed approximately 75 million people. Even with this massive amount of food production, there are still over 3.6 million people experiencing food insecurity at some point every year, according to Foodbank.

Although there is still a sizable number of homeless and hungry people within Australia, this number is very small in comparison to our population. India is not so lucky. The World Food Programme shows that 194.6 million people are undernourished in India. To put that in perpective, that’s nearly eight times our population.

Overall, although Australia may have its own problems, these shocking statistics demonstrate that perhaps our growing population should be the least of our concerns. So, if our growing population was of major concern for you, just remember that it isn’t all bad over here, and there are many reasons to be thankful for the country we are growing to become.

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