Northern Territory population forecasts 

Includes forecasts for Darwin SA4 and Northern Territory - Outback SA4

The Northern Territory is forecast to grow from 249,200 to 302,628 by 2046, an increase of 53,428 people throughout the forecast period. Made up of only two SA4s, Darwin and Northern Territory - Outback, combined, the regions are set to contribute 0.58% of Australia's population growth over the 25-year forecast period.

Version 5.1.0 Published 26th May 2023

2023 Population forecast data for the Northern Territory is now available

Purchase a one-off forecast report for a custom catchment or contact our team for a quote to access the complete dataset.



Insights behind our population and dwellings forecasts for the Northern Territory

Key Findings

The population of the Northern Territory in 2021 was 249,200. Forecast to grow by 53,500, the population will reach 302,628 persons by 2046, accounting for 0.6% of Australia's population growth over the forecast period.

  • Northern Territory is comprised of two SA4's. The Darwin SA4 is forecast to account for 80% of the Territories growth in the next 25 years.
  • Darwin SA4's population is forecast to grow from 148,800 to 191,700, while Northern Territory - Outback SA4's population is set to grow from 100,400 to 110,900, and increase of 42,900 and 10,500 respectively.
  • Darwin is forecast to increase it's supply of dwellings by 16,982, concentrated in Howard Springs SA2 (2,826 dwellings), Darwin City SA2 (2,703 dwellings), and Palmerston - South SA2 (2,250 dwellings).  
  • Northern Territory - Outback loses young persons and young families elsewhere in the country. 0 to 34 year olds all experience a decrease in population in the forecast period. 

Read on below for charts, maps and tables sharing the forecast results at SA2 geography. 


80% of the forecast growth within the Northern Territory will occur in the Darwin SA4, with growth of only 10,000 persons in the Outback over the next 25 years. 


The Territory, experiences a net loss of people to other States, particularly of those 35 and younger, and it does not attract large numbers of overseas migrants. Our forecasts assume around 2,000 additional persons per annum due to Overseas Migration (much less than the 80,000+ who arrive in NSW and VIC each year). The NT is the only State / Territory where the main driver of population growth is natural increase. 


The dominant age groups for the Territory are 50 years old and older. Darwin's largest change in age group for the forecast period  is the 85+, where  an additional 3,890 elderly persons are forecast.

The outback looses young people, whilst Darwin has a large drop of people after 25 years old as they seek economic opportunities else where in the country or overseas. 


How SAFi compares to other Northern Territory population forecasts

Population projections are developed by the Department of Treasury and Finance, Northern Territory Government. The projections have been developed to assist Government agencies and organizations plan for service delivery across the State and are produced at ABS Statistical Area 3 geography (SA3). 

The Northern Territory Government projections where released in 2019 and are yet to be updated based on the 2021 Census of Population and Housing. You can find their forecasts here. Unique to the Government forecasts is a breakdown by Aboriginal identity. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics produce Territory population projections as part of 3 series. They provide a high, medium and low scenario, with medium being the most likely scenario into the future. 

By contrast we produce a single scenario, small area forecast which is the most likely population and housing outcome based on all the available information at the time of publication. This includes, assumptions around fertility rates, mortality rates, overseas migration and interstate migration, which can be viewed in our National write-up. These assumptions at the National level filter right down to our micro geographic forecasts. 

Our SAFi forecasts are a assume less population growth than the State Government population projections as well as the Low series produced by the ABS. Both these projections are yet to be updated with 2021 base data and therefore do not factor in the latest information at hand, which could account for the difference. 



National and State population forecast analysis

Annually we look at our national demographic assumptions and forecast population growth at both a National and State level. This forms our 'tops-down' constraint for our local area forecasts, ensuring a balanced view of growth across the country. For more information on our National to State forecast assumptions  read our SAFi review here

SAFi Review

Commentary and analysis from our specialist team of population forecasters.

Meet the full team →

Johnny Barnard

Johnny Barnard

Population forecasting lead
Darren Thomas

Darren Thomas

Land Supply Lead

John O'Leary

Forecast modelling

Ben Saines

Land use research

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Do you work with local government?

If you're involved in planning local government services, we have a specialist population forecasting team that helps councils advocate for the needs of their community. Learn more about forecast.id here.


Public resources for local areas

Find resources for other parts of Australia via our demographic resource centre.

Your questions answered

Do you have a question about our forecasts? You can submit a question to our team by emailing locationdecisions@id.com.au

or you can fill out the form people. 

Request a copy of our forecast data for the Northern Territory