Canberra’s population could increase to 904,000 by 2061 according to new projections released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Predicting a population boom of at least 98 per cent within 50 years, three new data sets published on Tuesday show the Australian Capital Territory population will exceed Tasmania's population by 2038.
The ACT population projections for 2061 range from 612,000 to 904,000, offering significant challenges for governments and ACT infrastructure, and seeing a population on par with cities including San Francisco and Stockholm.
The population projections are based on assumptions of fertility, life expectancy and migration, which are guided by recent population trends.
The ACT’s median age would increase from 34.5 years in 2012 to between 38.1 years and 41.4 years in 2061 according to the data.
Births will continue to exceed the number of deaths during the projection period. In 2012, the ACT recorded 5,300 births and 1,700 deaths.
Australia's national population is projected to double to 46 million by 2075, the projections show.
By 2101, there could be as many as 70.1 million Australians.
The projections also include continued ageing in the Australia's population, with the national median age set to increase to between 38.6 years and 40.5 years in 2031 and between 41.0 years and 44.5 years in 2061.
The population of New South Wales could increase by as much as 57 per cent while Victoria could grow by 83 per cent in the forecast period.
Queensland’s population is projected to more than double to 9.3 million by 2061 while Western Australia is expected to see the largest percentage increase in population, more than doubling to 6.4 million by 2061.
ABS demography director Bjorn Jarvis said the doubling of Australia’s population could come within 45 years.
"Based on our projections, with medium growth, Australia will double its population by the year 2075," he said, "but under our high and low scenarios it could be as early as 2058, or after 2101."
"Highlights from the ABS projections include Perth overtaking Brisbane in 2028, at three million people, and then ten years later, the Australian Capital Territory overtaking Tasmania.
"Melbourne and Sydney should be neck and neck by 2053, with 7.9 million people each."
Mr Jarvis said the number of people 65 and over is projected to double to 6.8 million by 2040.
The number of people aged 85 years and over is projected to almost triple by 2040, increasing to reach 1.2 million in 2040.
A spokeswoman for ACTEW Water said key infrastructure including the new Cotter Dam was designed to sustain significant population growth in the ACT.
Once full, the dam will hold nearly 80 billion litres of water.
Last month ACTEW Water’s Managing Director Mark Sullivan said the dam would protect Canberra from recurrences of drought and sustain a growing economy and population growth.