The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released projections on the space required for South Australian cemeteries. It states:
The SA Births Deaths and Marriages Registry Office estimates that there were about 4,300 burials in South Australia in 2009. By 2056 it is projected that about 5,000-7,000 burials will be performed annually resulting in a requirement each year of at least 2 hectares of land.
So, let’s do some calculations. SA’s population was estimated to be 1,629,500 at 30 September 2009. Australia’s population at the same time was estimated to be 22,065,700. In 2009, SA buried 4,300 people. We can then estimate that in 2009 there were 58,226 people buried Australia wide (SA pop. = 7.385% of Aus. pop.; so Aus. pop. is 13.541 x SA pop.; SA burials x 13.541 = est. Aus. burials).
In 2056 SA is expecting to have 5,000-7,000 people to bury. Conservatively, that’s an increase of 16.280%; or, 0.346% per year (non-compounded). Using these figures to estimate Aus-wide burials, we’re looking at 67,705 in 2056.
Now, if in 2056 SA requires 2ha per year to bury 5,000 stiffs then Aus-wide we’re going to need 27ha. Given that Australia is 7,702,468.2km2 or 770,246,820ha in total, that means we’ll run out of space in 4,970 years at best, or in about the year 6980 (accounting for compounding in the growth of burial rates based on 2009-2056 average growth of 0.346%pa).
Lucky, given that the average life expectancy for an Australian male is 79 years, I’ll get a plot. Then again, I might opt for a cremation and save a little space for the up and comers.