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1345.4 - SA Stats, Apr 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2008   
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SOUTH AUSTRALIA'S AGEING POPULATION AND THE LABOUR FORCE


Between 1997 and 2007, the total population of South Australia increased 7.0%, from 1.48 million to 1.58 million (Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, 2007). Over this period, the median age of South Australians increased from 36 years to 39 years and the ageing of South Australia's population is projected to continue ( Population Projections, Australia 2004-2101). Important contributing factors to this are sustained low levels of fertility and increasing life expectancy at birth. Due to these influences, the median age of South Australians is projected to increase to around 49 years by 2051 ( Population Projections, Australia 2004-2101, Series B).

Between 1997 and 2007, the number of South Australians who were aged 65 years or over increased by 31,231 people, from 209,491 persons to 240,722 persons. This was a proportional increase from 14% of the population of South Australia to 15% over this period. The proportion of the South Australian population aged 55 to 69 years increased from 13% to 16% over this period.


POPULATION STRUCTURE, Age and sex, South Australia
Graph: Population structure, age and sex, South Australia
Source:Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, 2007

As South Australia's population ages, so will its workforce. Of all employed South Australians in 2007, 15.4% were aged 55-69 years, up from 9.2% in 1997. A further 23.5% were aged 45-54 in 2007, up from 21.9% in 1997.

EMPLOYED SOUTH AUSTRALIANS, Original

1997
2007
Persons
Proportion of
total employed
Persons
Proportion of
total employed
no.

%

no.

%

Age
15-24 yrs
116,100
17.6
133,000
17.5
25-34 yrs
160,100
24.3
150,000
19.7
35-44 yrs
172,500
26.2
175,700
23.1
45-54 yrs
144,300
21.9
178,900
23.5
55-69 yrs
60,800
9.2
117,600
15.4
70 yrs +
4,700
0.7
6,000
0.8
Total
658,500
100.0
761,200
100.0


IMPLICATIONS OF AN AGEING POPULATION FOR THE LABOUR FORCE
If the population continues to age in the years ahead, there is likely to be a decline in the labour force participation rate as persons aged 55 to 69 years tend to have a low labour force participation rate compared to persons aged 15 to 54 years. In 2007, the labour force participation rate of all South Australians aged 15 and over was 62%. If the age and gender specific participation rates from 2007 remain unchanged in future years, the labour force participation rate will fall to about 51% by 2051.

PROJECTED LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE, Persons aged 15 and over - South Australia(a)
Graph: Projected labour force participation rate, persons aged 15 and over - South Australia(a)
(a) Projected labour force participation rates are calculated by applying the 2007 labour force participation rates for age and sex groups to Series B population projections. No assumptions have been made about possible future changes to labour force participation rates.

Sources: Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Feb 2008, Population Projections, Australia, 2004 to 2101


There are specific groups which generally have low labour force participation rates such as persons aged 55 to 69 years (Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Feb 2008). One approach to addressing the falling labour force participation rates is to encourage people to delay retirement and stay in the workforce longer, or to attract older people who are out of the labour force back into employment.

According to data from the Labour Force Survey, a greater proportion of persons aged 55 to 69 are participating in the workforce than a decade ago. Between 1997 and 2007, the labour force participation rate of those aged 55 to 69 in South Australia increased from 34% to 47%. The participation rate of females (23% to 40%) increased more than that of males (45% to 55%) over this period.

LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE, Persons aged 55-69 years, South Australia
Graph: Labour force participation rate, persons aged 55-69 years, South Australia
Source:Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Feb 2008


There has been increased participation of persons aged 55 to 69 years in the labour force. As outlined above, there has been particularly strong growth in the participation of females aged 55 to 69 years. The proportion of females aged 55 to 69 years who were employed full-time increased from 9% in 1997 to 20% in 2007 while the proportion employed part-time increased from 13% to 19%. There has also been strong growth in the employment of males aged 55 to 69 years over this 10 year period.

EMPLOYMENT STATUS, Persons aged 55-69 years, South Australia
Graph: Employment status, persons aged 55-69 years, South Australia
Source:Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Feb 2008


SUMMARY

The data presented in this article shows that the South Australian population is ageing and it is projected to continue to age in the future. If current age and sex specific labour force participation rates remain unchanged in the future, the aggregate labour force participation rate could decrease to slightly more than 50%. Increasing participation rates in groups with low labour force participation rates would be a way of addressing the fall in projected participation rates. One promising sign for South Australia is a greater proportion of those aged 55 to 69 years are participating in the labour force compared to 10 years ago.


REFERENCES:

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Feb 2008 (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001)
Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, 2007 (cat. no. 3201.0)
Population Projections, Australia, 2004 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0)

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