News National Most Australians worry about population, poll finds

Most Australians worry about population, poll finds

Crowded cities and the high cost of housing were cited as key reasons by survey respondents opposed a 'big Australia'. Photo: Getty
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Most Australians do not think Australia needs more people, an Australian National University poll has found.

ANU polled 2167 Australians between November 19 and December 3 asking the question “The Australian population is now a little over 25 million … do you think Australia needs more people?”

More than two-thirds of those surveyed said no, with only 30.4 per cent answering ‘yes’, a decline of about 15 per cent since a similar question was polled by ANU in 2010.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said there are currently more than 25.2 million people in Australia, with one new person added every one minute and 15 seconds.

Crowded cities and the high cost of housing were the most common reasons given by respondents opposed to increasing the population.

“Nearly nine out of 10 people nominated the cost of housing being too high as a reason for not increasing Australia’s population, while 84 per cent of people said that cities are too crowded and there is too much traffic,” lead researcher Associate Professor Nicholas Biddle said.

People also expressed concerns about the impact of population growth on the environment.”

The reason for not supporting population growth with the lowest level of agreement was ‘we have too much cultural diversity already’.

“Indeed, there were more people who said that ‘Having more people means more cultural diversity’ was a reason for increasing Australia’s population than those who listed too much cultural diversity as a reason against population growth,” Associate Professor Biddle said.

“Most people are now supportive of cultural diversity as a by-product of population growth.”

The poll showed that Australians are more likely to be supportive of population growth if it “increases our skills base, mitigates the impacts of an ageing population and increase our economic prosperity,” Associate Professor Biddle said.

“But they do not want population growth to cause crowding, affordability or job security issues, nor at the expense of our natural environment.”