Aussies fall short on immigration and population facts

AUSTRALIANS have proven to have an appalling knowledge of the country's population and how it is affected by immigration.

A new Australian Population Research Institute survey discovered most people were concerned the country would become over-populated, but had little idea about how that might happen.

"Nonetheless, while ignorance is keeping many voters in the dark, between 51 and 67% of them have a gut feeling that they do not want the massive growth that the big end of town is quietly forcing on them," the survey report said.

Opposition to population growth was concentrated in young people, with support more common among people born overseas and university-educated people.

Canberra was the most pro-growth city, while those people living in regional areas were most sceptical.

Only about 37% of respondents knew Australia's population would not shrink even if immigration was ended.

Just more than half knew the population was between 23 million and 25 million - in November, it was 23.9 million.

About 48% were aware less than 10% of immigrants were refugees, and only 19% correctly answered the country had one of the highest population growth rates in the developed world.

Israel and Luxembourg are the only OECD countries with higher rates. At the current rate, Australia's population will almost double to 45 million by 2061.

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