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  • Writer's pictureNick Kemp

Task 1 Report: Population Characteristics

Question: The table above gives information about populations in Australia and Malaysia in 1980 and 2002. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Band 8+ Sample Answer:

(Intro & Overview) The table illustrates population data for two countries Australia and Malaysia in the period between 1980 and 2002. The total population in both countries generally increased but Malaysia went up by a much higher rate and ended up with a much larger population overall. Birth rates in both countries experienced a slight decrease but the rate in Malaysia was higher than in Australia, as well as annual population growth. In contrast the proportion of those aged over 65 in Australia was larger than in Malaysia, with both nations seeing an increase in their figures. The ratio of male to female in both populations was relatively stable at around 50/50.

(Detail 1) Looking more closely at Australia, while the total number of residents increased by roughly one-third during the 22 year period, the gender make-up remained exactly the same at 49.9% male and 50.1% female. The birth rate went down slightly from 1.5% to 1.3%, as opposed to average annual population growth, which increased moderately from 1.2% to 1.3%. The percentage of elderly Australians increased significantly by almost one-third, from 9.6% to 12.4%.

(Detail 2) A slightly similar trend was observed in Malaysia during the same period, from 1980 to 2002, with the female-to-male ratio remaining mostly unchanged and the birth rate going down slightly from 3.2% to 2.2%. However, there were marked changes in population growth, as the total population of Malaysia almost doubled from 13.7 million to 24.3 million, although the annual growth rate fell slightly from 2.4% to 2.1%. The share of the 65+ age group went up marginally, from 3.7% in 1980 to 4.3 in 2002. (282 words).

Words: Nick Kemp, former IELTS examiner.

Image: Cambridge


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