2902.0 - Census Update (Newsletter), Jul 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/08/2003   
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Ageing in Australia (cat. no. 2048.0)

Census of Population and Housing: Ageing in Australia (cat. no. 2048.0) analyses the characteristics of the older population drawing on 2001 Census data. This publication is a useful resource for agencies with ageing policy responsibilities, researchers and the Australian community in general. While the major focus is on the number and characteristics of older Australians, i.e. persons aged 65 years and over, the ageing process in Australia is also explored by examining other age groups including mature age persons (45 years and over) and the very old (85 years and over). This analysis also reports on trends over time by comparing 2001 Census results with data from previous censuses.

Topics included in the publication are:

    • Population which analyses the current demographic structure of the Australian population and how this has changed over the last century. It also examines the geographic distribution of the older population across Australia.
    • Cultural Diversity of the older population is investigated by using identifiers such as Indigenous status, country of birth, proficiency in spoken English and religious affiliation.
    • Living Arrangements analysing who older persons are living with and the type of housing they are living in, with focus on particular interest groups, including Indigenous persons, persons born in other than predominantly English speaking countries and lone persons.
    • Economic Environment focusing on the participation of older persons in the labour market and includes an analysis by industry and occupation, as well as hours worked and levels of income.
    • Transport which examines the number of registerered motor vehicles garaged in households of older persons. This characteristic can be used as a socioeconomic indicator to identify potential mobility and ability to access services. This chapter also identifies the method that older people use to travel to work.
    • Education analysing the formal education of older persons and their attendance at educational institutions ; and
    • Technology which reports on the use of computers and the internet by older persons and the association between this use and factors such as income, education and geographic location.

Some interesting facts:

An ageing Australia: Over the last century, the proportion of the Australian population who were older persons, ie. aged 65 years and over, increased from 4.0% of the population in 1901 to 12.6% in 2001. This change in the composition of the population has been as a result of changes in the fertility rate, increased life expectancy and levels of migration. South Australia has the highest proportion of older persons (14.7%) while the Northern Territory has the lowest (3.9%).

Older migrants: The proportion of persons 65 years and over is greater amongst the overseas-born population (17.7%) than for the Australian-born population (10.9%).

Ageing industries: At the time of the 2001 Census, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Industry comprised the oldest workforce with a median age of 45 years. This was 7 years older than the median age for the workforce overall (38 years).

For more information on this series or to make a purchase contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or visit the ABS web site (www.abs.gov.au/census)