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Newsletters - Age Matters - Issue Number 20, September 2006


Selected ABS Releases
Did You Know?
Upcoming Conferences
Where You Can Find Us
NASU Contact Details


Welcome to another edition of Age Matters, my first as Director of the ABS National Ageing Statistics Unit. As usual, Age Matters highlights datasets and events of relevance to ageing research and awareness. In the background, the Information Development Plan (IDP) for Ageing is being finalised and will be circulated widely prior to general publication. If you would like to see a copy, please email with IDP in the subject line.

Comments on Age Matters, the IDP, or the Ageing theme page on the ABS website are welcome. Please email your thoughts to Henry as above.

Dave Martyn
National Ageing Statistics Unit


Australian Social Trends 2006
The 2006 Australian Social Trends ( 4102.0) released on the 20 July included many articles which would be of interest to Age Matters readers and in particular the following three articles on People in their 50's: then and now, Pace of ageing: Australia and Japan, and Mortality trends of people aged 50 years and over.

People in their 50's: then and now
People in their 50's have been identified as a 'population of significance' in government policies which address the challenges posed by an ageing population. This article compares the standard age group of those aged 50-59 years of 2001 with their predecessors of 1981.

Comparisons are made on their demographic characteristics (including the numbers and proportion of the total population this group represented in 1981 and 2001), life expectancy, family characteristics, housing, education, working life and income.

The article clearly illustrates there are differences and that these differences occurred in only twenty years. However it should be understood that those who were in their 50's in 1981 were born before and during the Great Depression compared with those in their 50's in 2001 who were born during World War 2 or as the early baby boomers.

Pace of ageing: Australia and Japan
This article provides a degree of perspective to the ageing debate occurring in Australia by providing a comparison with other countries – mainly Japan. It considers changes that have occurred in the last fifty years since 1955 and population projections to 2050 and focusses on the pace at which structural ageing has and will occur.

After providing some relevant demographic data, the article then explores the drivers of ageing – fertility and longevity (life expectancy) and the impact of overseas migration.

The comparison of the impact of migration on ageing in Australia (a moderate level migration country) with Japan which received very little overseas migration is also included and of interest. The article speculates on the current age structure of Australia’s had there been no migration between 1945 and 2000.

In addition to providing a comparative perspective to Australia’s current ageing situation –this article previews a future scenario for Australia's ageing based on the Japanese experience.

Mortality trends of people aged 50 years and over
This article examines the life expectancy of the population aged 50 years and over in the last 30 years based on the 1970-72 and 2002-04 life tables.
Life tables are statistical models used to show the levels of mortality of a population at different ages. The life tables depict the mortality experience of a hypothetical group of new born babies throughout their entire lifetime and is based on the assumption this group is subject age specific mortality rates of the three year reference period on which the tables are based.

The article analyses which sub groups of the over 50's population have contributed to the improved life expectancy that has occurred in Australia in this period. It also assesses the contribution on a gender basis with some interesting findings. As well, there are some comparisons of the Health Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) measures with selected countries.

Life expectancy is linked to deaths rates and death rates are linked to specific causes of death. This article explores the changes in the deaths dates from selected major underlying causes of death that have occurred between 1970-02 and 2002-04.

The article concludes with some projections on future mortality. These future mortality projections along with fertility and migration are the assumptions that underpin the ABS population projections. The medium series projection to 2051 assumes life expectancy is expected to continue to increase however, there is an expectation that the rate at which this increase occurs will be halved.



1220.0 - ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, First Edition, 2006
The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the product of a development program undertaken jointly by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Statistics New Zealand (Statistics NZ) and the Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) for use in the collection, publication and analysis of occupation statistics.

ANZSCO replaces the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) Second Edition and the New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (NZSCO) 1999 used in Australia and New Zealand, respectively. ANZSCO is intended to provide an integrated framework for storing, organising and reporting occupation-related information in both statistical and client-oriented applications, such as matching job seekers to job vacancies and providing career information. The use of ANZSCO will result in improved comparability of occupation statistics produced by the two countries.

1351.0.55.015 - Research Paper: Socio-economic Indexes for Areas: Introduction, Use and Future Directions, Sep 2006
The Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) are measures which summarise a range of socio-economic variables associated with disadvantage. These indexes are compiled at the Census Collection District (CD) level, and may be used to rank CDs according to the general socio-economic well-being of residents.
This paper discusses three important features of SEIFA. First, SEIFA scores are a measure of relative disadvantage. Second, SEIFA scores are areal level indexes and should not be presumed to apply to all individuals living within the area. Third, SEIFA scores are calculated at the CD level and great care is required when interpreting scores which have been aggregated to larger geographical areas. Examples of the use of SEIFA to analyse the distribution of relative disadvantage within larger areas are provided. Using data from the National Health Survey 2004-05, shows that SEIFA scores correlate with the proportion of people living in an area who report poor health, obesity and other health risk factors.


3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Mar 2006
This release provides quarterly estimates of total population for states, territories and Australia. It includes the most recent estimates of the population in five-year age groups; numbers (and some rates) of births, deaths, infant deaths, interstate and overseas movements. Quarterly and/or annual time series tables throughout. Also included are population projections and estimated resident households for states, territories and Australia.

Social Statistics

The following are a new series of 'snapshot' releases on various health topics which are theme based and draws on data from the 2004-05 National Health Survey (NHS) and other ABS and non-ABS sources.

4820.0.55.001 - Diabetes in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This article provides a brief overview of the prevalence, comorbidity and mortality, risk factors, actions taken and health costs of diabetes mellitus. This paper focuses on diabetes reported by respondents as a current and long term condition.

4821.0.55.001 - Cardiovascular Disease in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This article provides a brief overview of the prevalence, risk factors, hospitalisations and trends in morbidity for cardiovascular disease in Australia. Some data are also provided on specific cardiovascular conditions and a subset of cardiovascular conditions referred to in this article as heart, stroke and vascular conditions.

4822.0.55.001 - Cancer in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This publication provides a brief overview of the incidence of the types of cancer suffered, prevalence and other characteristics, cancer screening practices, trends in morbidity and mortality in Australia.

4823.0.55.001 - Musculoskeletal Conditions in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This publication provides a brief overview of the prevalence, risk factors, disability and other factors for persons with musculoskeletal disorders in Australia.

4824.0.55.001 - Mental Health in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This article provides a brief overview of the prevalence, risk factors and characteristics of persons with mental or behavioural problems in Australia.

4831.0.55.001 - Tobacco Smoking in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This article provides a brief overview of the prevalence of tobacco smoking and the morbidity and mortality attributed to smoking. Information about the health system costs associated with smoking and the health status and demographic characteristics of smokers is included.

4832.0.55.001 - Alcohol Consumption in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This article provides an overview of the level, prevalence and type of alcohol consumption; the health status, risk factors and demographic characteristics of those who drink alcohol at risky or high risk levels; as well as information on mortality and health costs.

4833.0.55.001 - Health of Older People in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05
This article provides a brief overview of the health of persons aged 65 years and over. This article presents some data by age groups within this broad group to explore differences within the older people group. Some comparisons are also provided with the younger population.

4906.0 - Personal Safety, Australia, 2005
Information presented in this publication is about men's and women's experience of physical or sexual assault or threat by male and female perpetrators. Personal Safety survey (PSS) respondents were asked about their experiences of the different types of violence, since the age of 15, by different types of male and female perpetrators (including current partner, previous partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or date, other known man or woman, and stranger).

More detailed information, such as where the incident occurred and what action was taken, was then collected for most recent incident of each of the different types of violence by a male and female perpetrator. Additional information was also collected about respondents experience of current and previous partner violence such as frequency and fears of violence, incidents of stalking and other forms of harassment and general feelings of safety.

4906.0.55.003 - Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2005
This guide is an essential reference for understanding data released from the 2005 Personal Safety Survey (PSS). It contains information about the background, design and content of the survey, the sample and estimation, collection and processing, and issues relating to quality. A complete list of output data items and associated material is also included to assist users.

4906.0.55.004 - Personal Safety Survey, Australia: State Tables, 2005
Contains a selection of tables from the publication 2005 Personal Safety Survey, Australia compiled for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The following are extracts from the series of health snapshots (cat. nos 4820.055.001 to 4833.0.55.001) that are available on the ABS website. See Selected ABS Release for more detail.

In 2004-05,
  • nearly 100% of people aged 65 years and over reported at least one long term health condition.
  • the prevalence rate of both type of diabetes increased with age and the proportion of Type 2 diabetes was much higher in the older age groups than the corresponding proportions for Type 1.
  • 16% of males aged 65 years and over reported diabetes compared with 12% of females of this same age group, both males and females in the age group 65-74 years and 75 years and over reported diabetes in the same proportions (i.e.16.3% and 16.1% respectively for males and 11.2% and 11.5% respectively for females).
  • 27% of those aged 65 years and over who reported diabetes also reported heart stroke or vascular disease.
  • the prevalence of cardiovascular disease also increases with age (13% for those aged 35-44 years and 63% for those aged 75 years and over).
  • the proportion of females aged 75 years and over reporting cardiovascular disease was less than the proportion of males in this age group. In all other age groups the proportion of females reporting cardiovascular disease was higher than for males.
  • 57% of all males aged 65 years and over reported diseases on circulatory system. This percentage, however, varied according to age group with only 51% of males aged 65-74 years reporting this condition compared with 65% of males aged 75 years and over who reported diseases of the circulatory system.
  • 58% of females reported diseases on circulatory system, and again this percentage varied with age, however not to the same extent as males. With 55% of females aged 65-74 years and 62% of females aged 75 years and over reporting diseases of the circulatory system.
  • cancer was most prevalent in the 65 years and over age group (11% of males and 4% of females).
  • the prevalence of mental or behavioural increased with age until the 35-44 age group and then declines with 10% of people aged 75 years and over reporting this condition.
  • organic mental health problems (cerebral disease leading to dysfunction and dementia) were more prevalent in those ages 75 years and over (1.9%) than those aged 65-74 years ( 0.2%).
  • 90% and 91% of males and females aged over 65 years and over respectively reported eyesight conditions, however this condition was reported in greater proportion by those aged 65-74 years than those aged 75 years and over (i.e. 91.3% and 87.3% for males respectively and 92.7% and 88.8% respectively for females).
  • the proportions of males and females drinking at risky and high risk levels were highest in the middle age groups and this proportion has increased over time.
  • for both men and women, smoking rates are the lowest in the older age groups. Males aged 18-24 comprised the higher proportion of smokers while for females it was the 25-34 year age group.
  • 10% of persons aged 65-74 years are smokers compared with 4% aged 75-84 years and 5% for those aged 85 years and over.

21 November 2006
Emerging Researchers in Ageing 5th National Conference: Research informing positive outcomes in older persons.
Sydney, NSW.

The ERA 2006 Conference aims to showcase the latest ageing-related Doctoral research from a range of disciplines. Previous ERA Conferences have been organised by the Australasian Centre on Ageing at the University of Queensland and held in Brisbane annually since 2002. This year it will be conducted in Sydney and organised by The University of Sydney, in association with the University of Queensland. ERA 2006 is part of the emerging researchers initiative of the ARC/NHMRC Research Network in Ageing Well.

22-24 November 2006
AAG 2006 National Conference - Diversity in Ageing

Sydney, NSW.

This is the 39th National Conference of The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG). Under the theme ‘Diversity in Ageing’, areas to be explored through the conference are:
  • Cultural diversity: attitudes to ageing; indigenous ageing; crossing linguistic and ethnic divides to culturally appropriate care; health differences between groups; spiritual needs.
  • Gender diversity: men’s ageing; women’s ageing; ageing amongst the gay and lesbian community.
  • Health diversity: healthy ageing; ageing well; chronic conditions; acute care; residential care; community care; mental health.
  • Social diversity: social inequality and poverty; economic impact of ageing; globalisation; mature age employment; financial planning; urban/regional planning.

This conference will be of interest to people from a variety of aged care backgrounds such as health care, social workers, policy makers, service providers, education and research professionals, social scientists.

For further information see the Conference website -

5-8 December 2006
Australian Population Association 13th Biennial Conference - Population, Policy and Australia’s Destiny

Adelaide, SA.

Main themes for the conference are:
  • Population and Policy in Australia’s Future;
  • Population Change and Policy at the Local and Regional Levels;
  • Transnationalism: Australia and Region.

The W.D. Borrie Lecture will be presented by Professor Ian Pool on ‘The Baby Boom in New Zealand and Other Western Developed Countries’ on 5 December.

For further information see the Conference website -

14-16 December 2006 (tentative)

The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) Panel on Ageing in Developing Countries, the Latin American Demography Centre (CELADE), Network for Research on Ageing in Latin America and the Caribbean (REALCE), and the Network of Researchers on Ageing in Developing Countries (University of Michigan) - Seminar on Aging in Developing Countries: Building Bridges for Integrated Research Agendas.
Santiago, Chile.

The scientific program seeks to promote discussion on cross-cutting issues of ageing processes, compare alternative study designs for data collection, share information and approaches to key problems, disseminate and encourage the use of existing data sources, and foster the development of new sources capitalising on past research findings in the developed and developing world.

For further information see the Conference website:


An Ageing theme page containing ageing-relevant information from the ABS and other Commonwealth Government agencies can be found on the ABS web site. The Ageing theme page highlights the type and range of data available for ageing analyses and will be updated to highlight new data releases as they become available.


David Martyn
Telephone: (07) 3222 6311

Mailing address
National Ageing Statistics Unit (NASU)
Australian Bureau of Statistics
GPO Box 9817,

Fax: (02) 6252 8107

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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