4914.0.55.001 - Newsletter: Age Matters, Jul 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/07/2003   
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The publication Census of Population and Housing: Ageing in Australia (cat. no. 2048.0) due for release in August 2003, analyses the characteristics of the older population drawing on 2001 Census data. This publication will be 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 cohorts 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 results with data from previous Censuses.

Some interesting facts from the 2001 Census:

An ageing Australia: Over the last century, the proportion of the Australian population who were older persons, that is, aged 65 years and over, increased from 4.0% 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 was home to the highest proportion of older persons (14.7%) while the Northern Territory had the lowest proportion (3.9%).
Older migrants: The proportion of older persons is greater amongst the overseas-born population than for the Australian-born population (17.7% of the overseas-born were aged 65 years and over compared with 10.9% of those born in Australia). Older persons originating from specific countries have shown a tendency to settle in specific states. In 2001, 75.2% of older persons born in Lebanon, 58.6% born in China and 55.7% born in the Philippines lived in New South Wales. Victoria was home to high concentrations of older persons born in Sri Lanka (51.9%), Greece (46.3%), Italy (40.7%) and Poland (37.1%), while older persons born in New Zealand were most likely to live in Queensland (40.6%).

Ageing industries: At the time of the 2001 Census, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry comprised the oldest workforce with a median age of 45.0 years, 7.0 years older than the median age for the workforce as a whole (38.0 years). Other industries characterised by a high median age include Education (43.0 years) and Health and Community Services (42.0 years). In contrast, industries with younger workforces include Retail Trade (31.0 years) and Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants (32.0 years).

For further information contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, the National Ageing Statistics Unit on 07 3222 6206 or the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au.