Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
Newsletters - Age Matters - Issue Number 16, January 2006


Latest news from NASU
Article Reviews
Test your knowledge
Where can you find us


Welcome to the first edition of Age Matters in 2006. We hope you like the new format. It contains:
  • Latest news from NASU - what’s new from the National Ageing Statistics Unit
  • Article reviews - relevant articles and publications from government and international agencies
  • Test your knowledge - a short quiz to keep you up to date on the latest demographic finds
  • Selected ABS releases - a quick reference guide to recent ABS and AIHW publications of interest
  • Upcoming conferences - information and links to Australian and International conferences


The Australian Bureau of Statistics now provides all the information on the ABS website (, free of charge. From 27 January, the new look ABS website will be released with improved features including topic based searching. Both are exciting developments!

NASU are looking forward to progressing the Information Development Plan (IDP) for Ageing this year. The IDP will identify the key data gaps in Ageing statistics and set out a plan of action for the ABS and other key agencies. Consultations with key high level stakeholders are planned for March – May. A draft plan will be released mid year for wider consultation. If you would like to be included in this process, then please contact us.

We are also keen to hear from you regarding our new format. Does it provide you with the right information? Is there something else you think we should include? If you have any comments on this newsletter or on the Ageing theme page then please email

Back to top


1. Measuring the Age of Withdrawal from the Labour Force.

In response to increased attention in Australia and other developed countries, a recent ABS Research Paper, Comparison of methods for Measuring the Age of Withdrawal from the Labour Force (cat. no. 1351.0.55.009) considered two important aspects:
  • the age at which people are withdrawing from the labour force and starting their retirement, and
  • how this age is measured.

Data from the ABS Labour Force Survey from 1981–2003 for people aged 45–84 years showed:
  • the age of withdrawal from the labour force has risen over the past five years and is currently around the highest levels seen since 1981. Good labour market conditions have contributed to this.
  • men withdraw at an older age than women. However, the gap has decreased since 1981.
  • the age of withdrawal from full-time participation has fallen relative to the age of withdrawal from the labour force as a whole. It seems that people are increasingly withdrawing from full-time work but continuing on in the labour force through part-time employment.

The actual measurement of age of withdrawal can be calculated using different methods. The paper compared the age of withdrawal measures using three distinct methods. Two methods used were based on ‘expected age' which is linked to participation rates and a third method was based on ‘average age' which is linked to labour market conditions. The findings summarised above however, were consistent in each of the three methods.

2. Living Arrangements of Older Persons Around the World

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division

This study is a broad survey and analysis of older person’s living arrangements for selected regions where comparable data was available for people aged 60 years or over. The aim of the study is to identify the main factors associated with either solitary living or co-habiting with family members. The regions included Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and Oceania.

The key findings of the study include:
  • one out of every seven older persons (approximately 90 million people) live alone however this ratio varies, with one in four in the more developed regions compared with less than one in ten living alone in the less developed regions.
  • there is a widespread trend towards independent forms of living arrangements among older persons.
  • more older women than older men live alone as the women are less likely than men to be still married.
  • living arrangements vary enormously from place to place, i.e. regions with higher levels of social and economic development have lower levels of co-habitation with children.

The full report is available on the web at The UN intends that the study will serve as a baseline for studying future trends.

Back to top


1. In June 2005, Australia's estimated resident population was:

a) 20.1 million
b) 20.2 million
c) 20.3 million
d) 20.4 million

2. The 1.2% growth in Australia's population for the 12 months ended June 2005 was:

a) less than the world's growth rate,
b) the same as world's growth rate
c) greater than the world's growth rate.

3. In June 2005, Australia was ranked:

a) 32nd
b) 52nd
c) 72nd
d) 92nd.
as the world's most populous country.

4. In June 2005, there were more persons aged 65 years and older resident in Australia than those aged under 15 years:

a) True
b) False

5. The Australian state or territory with the estimated highest number of centenarians ie those aged 100 years and over per capita is?

a) New South Wales
b) Victoria
c) Tasmania
d) South Australia

6. What do resident Australian males aged 0-29 years and 60-64 years share that is different to males in other age cohorts?

7. What makes females aged 60-64 in Victoria and South Australia different to other females in this age group in the rest of Australia?

Source: Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0). See SELECTED ABS RELEASES for a description of the contents of this publication and the answers to these questions.

Back to top


The following listing is a selection of ABS releases published since the previous edition of Age Matters in December 2005, which may be of particular interest to readers.

A complete listing of all ABS releases is available on the ABS Website -


1209.0.55.001 Information Paper: Draft Mesh Blocks, Australia
Mesh Blocks are a new micro level of statistical geography for Australia. They will, in future, replace Census Collection Districts (CDs) as the smallest unit of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). This first release of Mesh Block digital boundaries is a draft version on which comments are sought from expert users and key stakeholders.

1266.0 Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups
Intended for use in coding census and survey data in all ABS publications and recommended for use by other government and non-government organisations.

Census of Population and Housing

2008.0 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content
Outlines the content of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing and the procedures to be followed in collecting, processing and releasing the data.


3101.0 Australian Demographic Statistics
Quarterly estimates of total population for states, territories and Australia. 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. Included are quarterly and/or annual time series tables. Also included are population projections and estimated resident households for states, territories and Australia.

Test Your Knowledge (answers)
  1. (c) 20.3 million
  2. (b) the same as world's growth rate
  3. (b) 52nd
  4. (b) False (there were 2.7 million Australians aged 65 years and over, which is fewer than the 4.0 million aged under 15 years)
  5. (d) South Australia with 488 centenarians, in South Australia's population of 1.5 million persons.
  6. There are more males than females in the age groups 0-29 years and 60-64 years. In all other cohorts there are more females than males.
  7. There are more Victorian and South Australian females aged 60-64 years than males in this age group, however as shown in the answer to Question 6, in all other states and for Australia in total, 60-64 year old males outnumber females in the same age group.

3107.0.55.004 Information Paper: Population Projections, Australia, New Format Time Series Spreadsheets
This information paper provides an outline of the format changes the ABS introduced in presenting time series data. Population Projections,Australia June 2004 to June 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0) was released on 29 November 2005. The spreadsheets are now presented in Excel format (.xls) in a revised presentation with time periods shown in the rows and data items in the columns. The paper also provides 'mock-ups' of the new file format.

3201.0.55.002 Information Paper: Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, New Format Time Series Spreadsheets
This Information Paper provides an outline of format changes made to the Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (cat. no. 3201.0) and time series spreadsheets from 1971 to 2005. The paper also provides 'mock-ups' of the new file format.

3302.0 Deaths, Australia
Number of deaths classified by age, sex, birthplace, marital status, cause of death and usual residence of deceased by state or territory. The publication also provides information on infant deaths, deaths of Indigenous persons, age-specific death rates, expectation of life at birth and standardised death rates. Australian Life Tables are included.

3302.0.55.001 Life Tables, Australia, 2002-2004
A life table is a statistical model used to represent mortality of a population. In its simplest form, a life table is generated from age-specific death rates and the resulting values are used to measure mortality, survivorship and life expectancy for males and females.

3303.0.55.001 Causes of Death, Australia: Summary Tables
This publication provides summary data for registration year 2004 for selected underlying causes of death and multiple causes of death.

This publication contains preliminary summary statistics on specific causes of death which accounts for 93% of all deaths. Chapters XVIII Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified and Chapter XX External causes of morbidity and mortality have been excluded from this preliminary issue, due to quality issues affecting processing of the data. Counts of specific causes detailed in Tables 1 and 2 are also subject to change, due to possible changes to cause of death codes. The extent of these amendments to the data is expected to be minimal.

Final results for 2004 will be available in Causes of Death Australia (cat. no. 3303.0) which is due for release 24 February 2006. This publication will contain the full standard set of tables including perinatal deaths and details on all Chapters of underlying causes of death and multiple causes of death.

Social Statistics

4442.0.55.001 Family Characteristics Survey, Australia, Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File
An Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) from the 2003 Family Characteristics Survey.

The survey collects statistics on the composition of families and households, especially characteristics of children such as age, sex and step relationships. Some of the issues covered in this publication include marital status, labour force status, parental income, and visiting arrangements for children with parents living elsewhere. Users are able to tabulate, manipulate and analyse data to their individual specifications.

Steps to confidentialise the dataset are taken to ensure integrity of data, optimise its content and maintain confidentiality of respondents. They include removing any information that might uniquely identify an individual, reducing the level of detail for some items and collapsing some categories.

The CURF includes metadata files and documentation to enable users to read the data into SAS or SPSS software. Users can then analyse the data using any method supported by SAS or SPSS, including cross tabulation and correlative analyses.

The Expanded CURF is only available through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and contains more variables and more detailed data for selected variables than the Basic CURF. An information paper explaining data content, technical details and conditions of use is available on the ABS web site and via the 'Information by' link on the RADL home page.

Labour Statistics and Prices

6105.0 Labour Market Statistics
This publication draws together data from a range of sources, mostly ABS household and business surveys, to provide an overall picture of the labour market. It contains tables of the most recent data available for regular data items.

The publication is also used to release annual data on Indigenous labour force status, and annual supplementary measures of labour underutilisation. It includes a range of feature articles, both analytical and technical, which will assist users in understanding and interpreting the data and will also promote the range of data available from the ABS labour statistics program.

The latest edition of Labour Market Statistics includes a feature article on Long Term Unemployment with some commentary on the older unemployed.

6222.0 Job Search Experience, Australia
Provides estimates of unemployed persons classified by difficulties in finding work, duration of current period of unemployment, active steps taken to find work, whether looking for full-time or part-time work, educational attainment, and the frequency of looking for work in the previous 12 months. Estimates can also be cross-classified by demographic information such as state, sex, age, marital status and country of birth.

Also provides estimates of employed persons who were formerly jobseekers but were now (as at the survey reference period) employed and were successful in securing that job in the previous 12 months. Estimates can also be cross-classified by demographic information such as state, sex, age, marital status and country of birth.

Secondary Industry and Distribution

8146.0 Household Use of Information Technology, Australia
Presents statistics on access to a computer and the Internet for Australian households covering the period 2004- 2005.

8146.3 Use of Information Technology by Households in Queensland
Presents an analysis of Queensland results from the Household Usage of Information Technology for the years 1998-2003. Tables contain selected characteristics such as age, sex, labour force status, major statistical regions, level of highest educational attainment, occupation and household income. Data items include computer usage, internet usage, expenditure on IT, home based businesses, selected technologies used by households, teleworking and e-commerce.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Products

8905.0 Australia's Welfare
Australia's Welfare is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of national information on welfare services in Australia. Topics include indicators of the welfare of Australia's population, ageing and aged care services, disability and disability services, assistance for housing, services for people experiencing homelessness, and welfare services expenditure and labour force. It also features an extended chapter on children, youth and families.

This publication is compiled and produced by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and is also available via the AIHW website -

Back to top


30-31 March 2006 - Australian Financial Review's Housing Congress: Developing a framework to meet the housing needs of the future, Avillion Hotel, Sydney. This conference programme analyses Australia's changing demographics and how these are impacting the relationship between current housing supply and demand.


3- 5 May 2006 - Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) 1st National Community Care Conference: Riding the Wave of the Future, Darling Harbour, Sydney. Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) is organising this first National Conference to cover the full spectrum of community care - in ageing and disability. The theme 'Riding the Wave of the Future'represents the excitement, the unexpected, the fun and the challenges of community care.

As a nation, how can Australia ride the community care wave of the future? What do community care users want from services now and in the future? How can service providers position themselves and plan for the future. Each day of the conference will look at different ways and ideas of 'Riding the Wave of the Future'.

Further information:

30 May - 2 June 2006 - The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) 8th Global Conference Global Ageing: the North-South Challenge, Copenhagen, Denmark.

This International Federation on Ageing 8th Global Conference is aimed at highlighting ageing as a truly global issue of demographically staggering dimensions, and will involve and engage key stakeholders in meeting the challenges of global ageing in all countries ie not only those countries experiencing a demographic quake. This biennial conference will confront the ' threat' perspective which is often ascribed to the issue of an ageing population particularly in countries where resources are scare and infrastructures are weak.

Globally the IFA are working towards changing attitudes and creating a world where older people have a right to a good quality of life and are accepted and welcomed as worthwhile and active members of our communities. Global efforts are required to initiate, facilitate and strengthen commitments on successful ageing across the world.


An Ageing theme page containing ageing-relevant information from the ABS and other Commonwealth Government agencies has been added to 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.

Back to top


Tara Pritchard
Telephone: (07) 3222 6312

Assistant Director
Mae Mulheran
Telephone: (07) 3222 6206

Mailing address
National Ageing Statistics Unit (NASU)
Australian Bureau of Statistics
GPO Box 9817, BRISBANE QLD 4001

Fax: (02) 6252 8107

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.