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FEATURE ARTICLE 1: POPULATION BY AGE AND SEX, AUSTRALIA, STATES AND TERRITORIES
Between 30 June 1993 and 30 June 2013, the proportion of Australia's population aged 15-64 years has remained stable, increasing from 66.6% to 66.7% of the total population, and the proportion of people aged 65 years and over has increased from 11.6% to 14.4%. During the same period, the proportion of population aged 85 years and over has almost doubled from 1.0% of the population at 30 June 1993 to 1.9% of the total population at 30 June 2013. Conversely, the proportion aged under 15 years has decreased from 21.7% to 18.9%.
STATES AND TERRITORIES
At 30 June 2013, Tasmania had the oldest median age of all the states and territories at 41.2 years. South Australia had the second oldest median age with a median age of 39.8 years, followed by New South Wales (37.8 years), Victoria (37.3 years), Queensland (36.6 years), Western Australia (35.8 years), the Australian Capital Territory (34.6 years) and the Northern Territory (31.7 years).
Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age over the last 20 years, increasing by 7.9 years from 33.3 years in 1993 to 41.2 years in 2013. 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).
CHILDREN (UNDER 15 YEARS OF AGE)
In the 20 years between 30 June 1993 and 30 June 2013, the proportion of children aged 0-14 years decreased from 21.7% to 18.9% of the total population.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2013, the number of children aged 0-14 years in the population increased by 71,600. This compared to an increase of 55,700 in the year to 30 June 2012. The number of children aged 0-4 years increased by 28,600, the number aged between 5-9 years increased by 36,100, and those aged between 10-14 years increased by 6,900.
In the year ended 30 June 2013, Western Australia recorded the largest percentage increase in the number of children aged 0-14 years (3.1%). The Australian Capital Territory recorded positive growth of 2.8%, as did Victoria (1.9%), Queensland (1.7%), New South Wales (1.3%) and South Australia and the Northern Territory (both 0.7%). Tasmania recorded a decrease of 0.3%.
WORKING AGE POPULATION (AGED 15-64 YEARS)
At 30 June 1993, 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 66.7% by 30 June 2013.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2013, the number of people in this group increased by 1.4% (or 215,400 persons). At the state and territory level, Western Australia experienced the fastest growth rate at 3.2%, followed by the Northern Territory (1.7%), the Australian Capital Territory (1.6%), Queensland (1.6%) and Victoria (1.5%), which were all higher than the national average (1.4%). New South Wales recorded a growth rate of 1.0%, South Australia 0.4% and Tasmania recorded a decrease in the proportion of 15-64 year olds of 0.5%.
There were 282,800 young people aged 15 who entered the working age population while 237,900 people turned 65 years and left the working age population in the year ended 30 June 2013.
Looking at growth in the working aged (aged 15-64 years) and non-working aged (aged 0-14 and 65 and over years) population over the last 20 years, the non-working aged population is growing faster at 2.5% compared with 1.4% for the working aged population, for year ended 30 June 2013. This faster growth in the non-working ages has been recorded from year ended September 2009 onwards. The main contributor to the increased growth of the non-working aged population is growth in the 65 and over population.
OLDER PEOPLE (AGED 65 AND OVER)
In the 12 months to 30 June 2013, the number of people aged 65 years and over in Australia increased by 120,100 people, representing a 3.7% increase.
Over the 20 years between 30 June 1993 and 30 June 2013, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over increased from 11.6% to 14.4%. This is projected to increase more rapidly over the next decade, as further cohorts of baby boomers turn 65 (as there are currently only two years of baby boomers aged 65 years and over).
All states and territories experienced growth in their populations aged 65 years and over in the year ended 30 June 2013. The largest increase in this group was in the Northern Territory (7.6%), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (5.1%), Western Australia (4.6%) and Queensland (4.3%).
PERSONS AGED 85 YEARS AND OVER
Over the past two decades, the number of persons aged 85 years and over increased by 156%, compared with a total population growth of 31% over the same period.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2013, the number of people aged 85 years and over increased by 19,300 people (4.6%) to reach 439,600. There were almost twice as many females (283,100) as males (156,500) in this age group which reflects the higher life expectancy for females.
In the year ended June 2013, the largest percentage increases of people aged 85 years and over occurred in the Northern Territory (12.1%), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (6.7%), Western Australia (5.3%), Victoria (5.0%), New South Wales (4.5%), Queensland (4.4%) South Australia (3.7%) and Tasmania (2.3%).
PERSONS AGED 100 YEARS AND OVER
Over the past two decades, the number of centenarians increased by 271%, reflecting an increase in life expectancy for both males and females during the period.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2013, the number of people aged 100 years and over increased by 500 people (13.9%) to reach 3,800. There were almost four times as many females (2,900) as males (800) in this age group which reflects the higher life expectancy for females.
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 33. 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 65, the sex ratio reduces markedly due to the impact of higher male mortality on this population group.
At 30 June 2013, the sex ratio of the total population for Australia was 99.2 males per 100 females. At age 0, the sex ratio for Australia at 30 June 2013 was estimated to be 106.1 males per 100 females. The excess of males at younger ages contrasts with the opposite situation in the older ages, and is attributed to female longevity.
At 30 June 2013, the Northern Territory and Western Australia had 110.9 and 102.2 males per 100 females respectively. All other states and territories had lower ratios of males to females, as follows: Queensland 99.5; Tasmania 99.4; the Australian Capital Territory 99.2; New South Wales 98.6; South Australia 98.2; and Victoria 98.0.
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 countries such as Japan, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Hong Kong (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. In all of the selected countries except for China (excl.SARs and Taiwan), Greece and Sweden, this increase in older population is accompanied by either a decrease or no change in the 0-14 year old population.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics projection series B, the proportion of children 0-14 years in the Australian population is projected to decrease by 0.2 percentage points between 2010 and 2015, from 19.1% to 18.9%, while the proportion of people aged 15-64 years is projected to decrease by 1.2 percentage points, from 67.4% to 66.2%. In contrast, the proportion of people aged 65 years and over is projected to increase by 1.3 percentage points, from 13.6% to 14.9%.
In 2010, 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, other countries in Asia 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.
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