3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2017 Quality Declaration 
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FEATURE ARTICLE: POPULATION BY AGE AND SEX, AUSTRALIA, STATES AND TERRITORIES


INTRODUCTION

This article summarises features of the data presented in the spreadsheets and datacubes accompanying this release which present the estimated resident population (ERP) of Australian states and territories by single year of age and by sex, as at 30 June. The spreadsheets include median ages, mean ages and sex ratios. Estimates up to June 2011 are final, those for June 2012 to June 2016 have a status of preliminary rebased and those for June 2017 are preliminary. For more information, see Explanatory Note 7.


MEDIAN AGE

The median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) of the Australian population has increased by 3 years over the last two decades, from 34 years at 30 June 1997 to 37 years at 30 June 2017. Between 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017 the median age remained steady at 37 years.

Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age over the last 20 years, increasing by 7 years from 35 years in 1997 to 42 years in 2017. Interstate migration of younger adults from Tasmania to the Australian mainland has contributed to this accelerated ageing. For further information, see Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0).

At 30 June 2017, Tasmania had the oldest median age of all the states and territories (42 years), followed by South Australia (40 years). The Northern Territory had the youngest median age (33 years), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (35 years).


Graph Image for Median age of population (a) - at 30 June

Footnote(s): (a) The age at which half the population is older and half younger.

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2017




AGEING POPULATION

Over the next several decades, population ageing will have a range of implications for Australia, including; health, size of the working-age population, housing and demand for skilled labour.

Like most developed countries, Australia's population is ageing as a result of sustained low fertility and increasing life expectancy. This has resulted in proportionally fewer children (under 15 years of age) in the population and a proportionally larger increase in those aged 65 and over.

Graph Image for Population change, Age group - 1997 to 2017

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2017



Between 1997 and 2017, the proportion of Australia's population aged 15-64 years remained fairly stable, decreasing from 66.6% to 65.7% of the total population. During the same period, the proportion of people aged 65 years and over increased from 12.1% to 15.4% and the proportion of people aged 85 years and over increased from 1.2% of the total population in 1997 to 2.0% in 2017. Conversely, the proportion aged under 15 years decreased from 21.2% to 18.8%.

Diagram: AGEING POPULATION


CHILDREN (AGED 0-14 YEARS)

In the 20 years between 1997 and 2017, the proportion of children (aged 0-14 years) decreased from 21.2% to 18.8% of the total population.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2017, the total number of children aged 0-14 years increased by 1.3% (59,100 people) compared with an increase of 1.6% (70,500 people) in the previous year ending 30 June 2016. Over this period, the number of 0-4 year olds decreased by 2,200 (0.1%), 5-9 year olds increased by 21,100 (1.3%), and those aged between 10-14 years increased by 40,200 (2.8%).

In the year ended 30 June 2017, the Australian Capital Territory recorded the largest percentage increase in the number of children aged 0-14 years (2.6%), followed by Victoria (2.3%). Tasmania recorded the smallest increase (less than 0.1%) followed by the Northern Territory (0.3%).


WORKING-AGE POPULATION (AGED 15-64 YEARS)

At 30 June 1997, the proportion of the population aged between 15 and 64 years (traditionally referred to as the 'working-age population') was 66.6%. This proportion increased to a high of 67.5% in 2009, before declining to 65.7% by 30 June 2017.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2017, the number of people in the working ages increased by 1.3% (or 207,700 persons). At the state and territory level, Victoria and New South Wales experienced growth rates for this group that were higher than the 1.3% national average at 2.2% and 1.5% respectively. In contrast, Tasmania and the Northern Territory recorded a decrease in the number of 15-64 year olds of less than 0.1% and 0.4% respectively.

There were 284,000 young people aged 15 years who entered the working-age population while 247,700 people turned 65 years and left the working-age population in the year ended 30 June 2017.

Graph Image for Working-age and non working-age population annual growth rate comparison

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2017

Comparing the working-age population (aged 15-64 years) with the remainder of the population (aged 0-14 and 65 and greater) over the 20 years to 30 June 2017, the non working-age population is growing faster at 37.1% compared with 31.7% for the working-age population. This faster growth in the non working-ages has been evident since 2010. Over the 5 years to 30 June 2017 the non working-age population has been growing at 12.1% compared with 6.2% for the working-age population. The main contributor to the increased growth of the non working-age population is growth in the population aged 65 and over.


PEOPLE AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER

Over the 20 years between 1997 and 2017, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over increased from 12.1% to 15.4%. This group is projected to increase more rapidly over the next decade, as further cohorts of baby boomers (those born between the years 1946 and 1964) turn 65. Currently only six cohorts of these birth years have reached 65 and there are 12 remaining.

Notably the past 20 years has seen the proportion of the Northern Territory's population 65 years and over increase from 3.3% to 7.2% due, in part to an increasing life expectancy in the Northern Territory's population.


Graph Image for Proportion of population aged 65 years and over

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2017

In the 12 months to 30 June 2017, the number of people aged 65 years and over increased by 121,300 people, representing a 3.3% increase.

All states and territories experienced growth in people aged 65 years and over in the year ended 30 June 2017. The largest increase in this group was in the Northern Territory (5.5%), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (4.1%), and Queensland (4.0%).


PEOPLE AGED 85 YEARS AND OVER

Over the past two decades, the number of people aged 85 years and over increased by 132.9%, compared with a total population growth of 33.5% over the same period.

In the year ending 30 June 2017, the number of people aged 85 years and over increased by 11,600 people (2.4%) to reach 494,300. There were almost twice as many females (308,000) as males (186,400) in this age group which reflects the higher life expectancy for females.

Over the same period, the largest percentage increases of people aged 85 years and over occurred in the Northern Territory (9.1%), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (3.1%), Western Australia (3.0%), Tasmania (2.9%), Queensland (2.6%), Victoria (2.4%), New South Wales (2.3%) and South Australia (1.4%).


SEX RATIOS

The sex ratio relates to the number of males per 100 females in a population or sub-population. The sex ratio at birth is approximately 106 males per 100 females. Higher male mortality rates at younger ages result in the ratio approaching 100 by the age of 30. Net overseas migration can influence the sex ratio, especially in the working ages where there has historically been a greater proportion of male migrants. Above age 70, the sex ratio reduces markedly due to the impact of higher male mortality in this population group.


Graph Image for Sex ratio (a), Age groups - At 30 June 2017

Footnote(s): (a) Number of males per 100 females

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2017



At 30 June 2017, the sex ratio of the total population for Australia was 98.5 males per 100 females. At age 0, the sex ratio for Australia at 30 June 2016 was 105.7 males per 100 females. The excess of males at younger ages contrasts with the opposite situation in the older ages, which is attributed to female longevity.

At 30 June 2017, the Northern Territory and Western Australia had 105.7 and 100.7 males per 100 females respectively. All other states and territories had lower ratios of males to females. Tasmania had the lowest ratio at 97.6, followed by South Australia and Victoria both with a ratio of 98.0.


Graph Image for Sex ratio (a), States and territories - at 30 June

Footnote(s): (a) Number of males per 100 females

Source(s): Australian Demographic Statistics, June quarter 2017




INTERNATIONAL COMPARISON

Population ageing is a notable demographic characteristic of most developed countries. It is related to both sustained low fertility which results in proportionately fewer children, and increasing life expectancy which results in proportionately more elderly people. In Japan, Italy, France, Greece, Sweden, Canada, United Kingdom and Hong Kong (Special administrative region (SAR) of China), the number of people aged 65 years and over already exceeds the number of children aged 0-14 years. In Australia, based on the latest Series B population projections, the number of people aged 65 years and over is projected to exceed the number of children aged 0-14 years around the year 2030. For more information, see Population Projections, Australia, 2012 (base) to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).

According to United Nations projections, all of the 20 countries selected for analysis in the table below are projected to experience an increase in the proportion of people aged 65 and over to 2020. In all of the selected countries except for Canada, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Sweden, this increase in older population is accompanied by a decrease in the 0-14 year old population.

According to ABS projection Series B, the proportion of children 0-14 years in the Australian population is projected to increase by 0.1 percentage points between 2015 and 2020, from 18.9% to 19%, while the proportion of people aged 15-64 years is projected to decrease by 1.3 percentage points, from 66.2% to 64.9%. The proportion of people aged 65 years and over is projected to increase by 1.2 percentage points, from 14.9% to 16.1%.

In 2015, the age structure of Australia's population was similar to that of New Zealand and the United States of America. Generally, the European countries and Japan had smaller proportions of children and higher proportions of older people than Australia. In contrast, developing countries tended to have proportionally more children and far fewer older people, generally reflecting higher fertility rates and lower life expectancies than those experienced in Australia.

Population age structure, International comparison(a)(b) - at 30 June

2015
2020
2015 - 2020
Aged 0-14 years
Aged 15-64 years
Aged 65 years and over
Median Age
Aged 0-14 years
Aged 15-64 years
Aged 65 years and over
Median Age
Total fertility rate(c)
Life expectancy(d)
Selected Countries
%
%
%
years
%
%
%
years
rate
years

Australia
18.9
66.2
14.9
37.2
19.0
64.9
16.1
37.7
1.8
83.2
Canada
16.0
67.9
16.1
40.5
16.1
65.6
18.3
41.4
1.6
82.6
China (excl. SARs and Taiwan)
17.7
72.6
9.7
37.0
17.5
70.4
12.2
38.7
1.6
76.5
France
18.3
62.8
18.9
41.2
17.8
61.5
20.7
42.0
2.0
82.8
Greece
14.5
65.5
19.9
43.3
13.7
65.1
21.1
45.3
1.3
81.5
Hong Kong (SAR of China)
11.2
73.6
15.2
43.2
12.7
69.2
18.1
44.8
1.3
84.2
India
28.7
65.7
5.6
26.7
26.6
66.9
6.6
28.2
2.3
68.9
Indonesia
27.9
67.0
5.1
28.0
26.4
67.8
5.8
29.3
2.3
69.4
Italy
13.7
63.9
22.4
45.9
13.2
62.8
23.9
47.9
1.5
83.3
Japan
13.0
61.0
26.0
46.3
12.7
59.1
28.2
48.2
1.5
84.0
Korea (South)
13.9
73.1
13.0
40.8
13.2
71.1
15.7
43.4
1.3
82.4
Malaysia
25.0
69.2
5.9
27.7
23.6
69.4
7.0
29.9
2.0
75.5
New Zealand
20.0
65.4
14.6
37.3
19.6
64.0
16.3
37.9
2.0
82.1
Papua New Guinea
36.6
59.7
3.6
21.7
34.9
61.0
4.1
22.6
3.6
65.8
Philippines
32.2
63.2
4.6
24.1
31.0
63.8
5.2
25.2
2.9
69.3
Singapore
15.5
72.8
11.7
40.0
14.3
70.7
15.0
42.4
1.3
83.3
South Africa
29.3
65.6
5.1
26.1
28.4
65.9
5.7
27.3
2.4
63.7
Sweden
17.3
63.1
19.6
40.9
17.8
61.9
20.3
41.0
1.9
82.7
United Kingdom
17.6
64.3
18.1
40.2
17.9
63.1
19.0
40.8
1.9
81.8
United States of America
19.2
66.1
14.6
37.6
18.6
64.8
16.6
38.3
1.9
79.6
Viet Nam
23.1
70.2
6.7
30.4
22.9
69.0
8.1
32.6
2.0
76.6
World
26.1
65.6
8.3
29.6
25.5
65.1
9.4
30.9
2.5
71.9

(a) Selected countries included major OECD countries, the world's most populous countries, Australia's closest neighbours and trading partners.
(b) International data are United Nations medium variant projections. Australian data are ABS medium series (Series B) projections
(c) Births per woman. United Nations data are medium variant projections for the period 2015-2020.
(d) Life expectancy at birth. United Nations data are medium variant projections for the period 2015-2020, for males and females combined.
Note: All international figures for both 2015 and 2020, total fertility rates and life expectancy have been sourced from United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affaris, Population Division (2017) World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, custom data acquired via website. Australian 2015 estimates are from ABS, Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) and Australian 2020 population projections are medium series (Series B) from Population Projections, Australia 2012 (base) to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).