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Newsletters - Age Matters - Issue Number 11, February 2005


Welcome to the first issue of Age Matters for 2005.

Planning is currently underway for the 2005/06 work program. A key challenge for the unit is to build a forward work program that meets the desired needs of ageing issues and the ageing community. Extensive feedback, environment scanning and consultation is sought from stakeholders in developing the work program for coming years.

A major activity for the coming year is the compilation of the Information Development Plan, as outlined in the last edition of Age Matters. For this issue we have provided a brief update on the status of the IDP and a reference to an education and training IDP.

Other useful reading in this issue includes information on caring and grandparenting from the Family Characteristics - (cat. no. 4442.0) and Disability, Ageing and Carers -(cat. no. 4430.0), released in September last year. Some interesting facts from the recently released ( 8 February 2005) Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia - (cat. no. 6285.0).

I hope you continue to find this newsletter a valuable resource and we look forward to another busy and fruitful year.

Maryann Wood

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Mature Age Statistical Profiles

Over recent years the issues associated with the structural ageing of the population have received increased attention by governments and researchers. Broad issues affecting the ageing population include ensuring adequate retirement incomes, labour force participation, healthy ageing, and provision of community support, health services and aged care. Challenges in relation to population ageing include improving the capacity of older people for work, through better education and health; identifying better incentives for people to remain in the labour force, and improved flexibility in the workplace.

Mature age persons (those aged 45–64 years) have been identified as a key population group in terms of policy development to address these challenges. A series of Mature Age Statistical Profiles - (cat. no. 4905.0.55.001) have been produced to provide an insight into the characteristics of mature age persons.
    Population and Cultural Diversity
    This profile focuses on the demographic characteristics, geographic distribution and cultural diversity of the mature age population.

    Labour Force
    This profile focuses on the labour force characteristics of mature age people. It describes current labour force participation compared to twenty years ago and for those employed, looks at hours of worked, type of employment and the industries and occupations where they are employed. It also describes the extent to which their labour may be underutilised.

    This profile provides a picture of the health status of the mature age population. It provides a measure of those who are experiencing illness or disability; have recorded risk factors; and are using health services.

    This profile draws data from the 2002-03 Survey of Income and d Housing (SIH) and examines the housing characteristics, household income and housing costs of the mature age population.

    Education and Training
    This profile presents information about the education and training experience of mature age persons. Information is drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Education and Work, 2004 and the Survey of Education and Training, 2001.

    Community Life
    This profile focuses on the community life aspects of the mature age population, focusing on factors that impact on social and community participation. It draws on data from the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the ABS in 2002.

    Living Arrangements
    This profile presents information on the family and household structure of mature age persons. Detailed examination of the dwelling and structures, people and relationships and the quality aspects of living arrangements are discussed. It draws primarily on data from the Census of Population and Housing.

For more information, contact Maryann Wood on (07) 3222 6206 or email

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Information Development Plan (IDP)

The ABS has a continuing commitment to develop the quality of official statistical information and work collaboratively with a range of government agencies to deliver the statistics required by Australians, no matter what their source. Key components of this work include the creation of information development plans. Information development plans are living documents which map the broad issues and information needs for a given field to the available information sources, in order to determine information gaps, overlaps and deficiencies. These plans present priorities and a plan for action to improve information agreed by stakeholders. They provide a framework for the systematic improvement, integration and use of data sources.

Over coming issues of this newsletter updates and consultation document will be issued for the Ageing IDP. In the meantime, you may wish to review an already released Information Development Plan, Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia - Plan to Improve the Quality , Coverage and Use of Education and Training Statistics - (cat. no. 4231.0), released 17 September 2004.

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Caring is a culturally defined response to a need arising in the family or community for assistance and support to its members. In its broadest sense, caring encompasses many of the daily interactions that maintain and enhance human relationships. A carer may provide assistance within or outside their own home, and to more than one person. The assistance may be provided to family members or friends. Most informal care arrangements exist between family members, resulting in caring relationships that reflect the respective life stages of carers and the recipient of the care.

Those carers who live with their recipient may lack the time and space to physically recuperate and/or engage in activities that maintain personal well-being. The 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, collected information on informal care arrangements, the relationship to the provider and whether the recipient lived in the same household.

Of those who provided informal care in 2003, 78% (371,200) of primary carers provided care to recipients who live in the same household. Mature age persons comprised 40% of all primary carers providing care to recipients in the same household. In comparison, persons aged 15-44 years comprised 31%, with persons aged 65 years and over comprising 28% of those providing primary care for recipients in the same household.

Graph: Selected age group of care recipient, by relationship to provider,2003

For further information, refer to Disability, Ageing and Carers,Australia: Summary of Findings, 2003 - (cat. no. 4430.0), released on 15 September, 2004.

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The role of care provider for grandchildren can be assumed by grandparents. This role can be one of providing occasional care, day care or as full-time sole care provider (i.e. grandchildren living with grandparents in the absence of their immediate parents). As sole providers, the grandparents then assume the associated responsibilities of caring for children - the emotional, structural and financial support of the children.

In 2003 there were 7.6 million households, of which 71% (5.4 million) were family households. Of these, 22,500 were grandparent families with children aged 0-17 years in Australia. These families represented around one percent of all families with children aged 0-17 years. The majority of grandparent families (73%) reported the age of the youngest child was between 5 and 14 years.

In 39% of grandparent families, the younger partner or lone grandparent was younger than 55 year, 45% were in the 55-64 year age group and 16% were in the 65 and over age group.

In around one-third (34%) of grandparent families, one or both grandparents were employed and 62% received a government pension, benefit or allowance as their main source of income.

    Graph: Grandparent families, by selected age group, 2003
    For further information, refer to Family Characteristics,Australia, 2003 - (cat. no.4442.0), released on 22 September, 2004.

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    The Year Book Australia 2005 is a comprehensive source of information about Australia. Now with CD, the latest issue is presented in one package as a special ABS centenary offer, making it great value for money. Order your copy online(charges apply), or telephone 1300 135 070, and have your credit card details ready.

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    Did you know?

    In the 12 months prior to April 2004,
    • an estimated 4.3 million persons aged 15 years and over reported that they were involved in organised sport and physical activity, representing 27% of the total population.
    • persons involved in organised sport and physical activity included 3.7 million players (23% of persons aged 15 years and over), as well as 1.5 million persons involved n non-paying roles (10%).
    • a higher percentage of males (31%) than females (23%) were involved in organised sport and physical activity
    • those in the 15-24 year age group had the highest rate of involvement with 39% of people participating in organised sport or physical activity. Participation rats declined progressively in older age groups, with those aged 55-64 years and 65 years and over, having less than half the rate of those aged 15-24 years.
    • while the age patterns for players was similar to that for total involvement, among non-players the peak age groups for participation were those aged 35-44 years (15%) and 45-54 years (12%). People in the oldest age groups had the lowest rates (6.5% for those aged 55-64 years and 4.4% for those aged 65 years and over.

    For further details, refer to Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia (cat. no. 6285.0), which was released on 8 February 2005.

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    The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Rural Conference, Crossing Borders: Multidisciplinary approaches to ageing, will be conducted on 14-15 April 2005 at the Henry Nowik Theatre Complex, Charles Sturt University, Albury NSW Each year the AAG organises a conference to bring information on new developments in research, policy, education and service provision to rural areas. This years program showcases initiatives and programs in rural and remote communities.

    For further information, or to receive the printed conference brochure in the post, please email your postal details to or call 1300 368 783.

    Managing the Ageing Workforce: Planning for succession and the optimisation of the ageing workforce will be conducted on 6-7 April, 2005 at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel, Circular Quay. The program is designed to provide an understanding of the changing Australian demographics and re-engineering your human capital practices and policies in order to optimise the talents of the ageing workforce. Further information can be obtained through

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    New Data Releases

    Job Search Experience, Australia, July 2004 - (cat. no. 6222.0) This publication presents information about unemployed persons' experiences in seeking work, in terms of the steps they have taken to find work and the difficulties they have encountered in finding work. Also presented is information about employed persons who started their current job in the previous 12 months. For this group, data on the steps taken to attain work and their current job details are provided. he statistics in this publication are compiled from data collected in the Job Search Experience Survey, conducted throughout Australia in July 2004 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

    Causes of Death, Australia, 2003 - (cat. no. 3303.0) This publication, released on 24 February 2005, brings together statistics and indicators for deaths, including perinatal deaths registered in Australia. These statistics have been compiled from data made available to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in each state or territory.

    Divorces, Australia, 2003 - (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001) This electronic product, Divorces, Australia (cat. no. 3307.0.55.001) provides information on divorces granted in Australia. Key indicators of national and state divorces are included in the analytical commentary below. Detailed divorce tables are available for purchase in a data cube. The data cube can be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of this page and following the data cube link for 2003. A glossary of terms and explanatory notes about divorce statistics can be accessed using the web-links provided on this page.

    Demography, Australia, 2003 - (cat. no. 3311.0.55.001)This electronic product provides a demographic overview of Australia for 2003. It contains summary tables and commentary on trends in the components of population change including births, deaths and migration. This product also includes marriages, divorces and the estimated resident population. Various demographic rates and comparisons between the states and territories of Australia are presented. Population and migration data are for the year ended 30 June 2003, while births, deaths, marriages and divorces data are for the year ended 31 December 2003. More recent data are released quarterly in Australian Demographic Statistics ( 3101.0).

    Internet Activity, Australia, September 2004 - (cat. no. 8153.0)The Internet Activity Survey (IAS) is a census which collects details on aspects of Internet access services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia. This publication contains results from all identified ISPs operating in Australia as at 30 September 2004.

    Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities , Australia, April 2004 - (cat. no. 6281.0) This publication presents results from the Survey of Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities, conducted in April 2004. It presents information on the number and basic demographic characteristics of persons involved in paid or unpaid work in selected culture and leisure activities over a 12 month period. The 2004 Survey of Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities was conducted throughout Australia as part of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Monthly Population Survey (MPS). The survey was previously conducted in 1993, 1997 and 2001. Data from those years are included in some tables for comparative purposes.

    The survey collected information on the types of activities undertaken, the time spent on activities, whether any payment was received, the amount of payment received, and whether those activities were part of the person's main job. Information is not available on length of paid employment as part of the person's main job. The survey also asked about whether any training in arts or cultural fields was received.

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    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.


    Tara Pritchard
    Telephone: (07) 3222 6312
    Assistant Director
    Maryann Wood
    Telephone: (07) 3222 6206
    Mailing address
    National Ageing Statistics Unit (NASU)
    Australian Bureau of Statistics
    GPO Box 9817, BRISBANE QLD 4001

    Fax: (07) 3222 6283

    Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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