4914.0.55.001 - Age Matters, Jun 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/06/2011  Final
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On this page:
A Message from Living Conditions
New Ageing Topics @ A Glance page
Release of Productivity Commission report into aged care sector
Perspectives on Ageing


Welcome to the June 2011 edition of Age Matters. This will be the final edition of Age Matters. Since 2002, this newsletter has been your source of information about statistics on older people. After nine years, the ABS has decided to replace Age Matters with a new publication called Perspectives on Ageing. This publication will feature more in-depth articles about the lives of older Australians. We’re excited about this new development, and believe that it will be of great benefit to researchers, policy-makers and those interested in Australia’s ageing population. For more information about Perspectives on Ageing, please see below. If you want to know about what is happening in the ABS and upcoming releases, check out our new Ageing Topics @ a Glance page.

Since the release of the last newsletter, results from the latest Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) have been released. Run every six years, this survey is one of the ABS’s most important sources of data about older people. Tables were released in four staggered intervals this year, with the final release occurring in April. The SDAC Basic CURF has also been released, and allows users to conduct their own more indepth data analysis. For a snapshot of what can be found in the latest edition of SDAC, see the Latest Findings section of this newsletter.

The results of several other important social surveys will be released later this year. Both the results of the 2009-10 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) and 2009-10 Household Expenditure Survey (HES) will be released by September. As has been flagged in a previous newsletter, these two surveys were run together in 2009-10, and feature increased sample sizes, allowing more analysis to be undertaken on older people. The HES sample included an increase of an additional 3,000 households whose main source of income was from government pensions, benefits and allowances. This will allow indepth analysis of government beneficiary households, including those on aged pensions. Another upcoming survey is the General Social Survey (GSS), which was enumerated in the second half of last year. This survey is one of the ABS’s most comprehensive, and will provide information to inform on an array of social issues relevant to older Australians.

The Australian Health Survey (AHS) has commenced in the field, and will be the biggest health survey ever conducted in Australia. It will be the first of its kind in Australia. The AHS will provide information on the health conditions of Australians, how active we are, what we eat and drink and biomedical measures. These new biomedical measures will reveal new insights into heart and kidney diseases, diabetes and other chronic conditions by examining health risk factors. Enumeration of the survey will be conducted over 2011-12, with the results expected to be released in late 2012.

Of course the big upcoming event at the ABS is the 2011 Census, which will occur on Tuesday 9 August. This will be the 16th Census to be conducted, and marks 100 years of national Census taking in Australia. From the perspective of someone interested in ageing statistics, the Census provides an invaluable opportunity to obtain detailed data about older people for specific regions. It is also the only source that provides information for single year of age up to 100. To find out more about this year’s Census, please visit the ABS’s Census webpage.

This edition of Age Matters contains snapshots from a number of recently released ABS publications, including SDAC, Persons Not in the Labour Force and Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation. You can also find out about our new Ageing Topics @ a Glance page, and some of the upcoming ABS releases most relevant to the topic of ageing. Don't forget that you can subscribe to ABS products through the Email Notification Service. More information on this service can be found on the Subscriptions page.

If you have any queries relating to the information in this newsletter, please contact Steve Gelsi on (03) 9615 7590 or at steve.gelsi@abs.gov.au

We hope you enjoy this final edition of Age Matters.

Cassandra Gligora
Director, Living Conditions
Australian Bureau of Statistics


The ABS’s Topics @ a Glance pages provide easy access to statistical information about a range of specific topics. In May 2011, the new Ageing Topics @ a Glance page was launched, allowing users to more easily find statistics related to ageing and older people. The new-look page features information about the ABS surveys most relevant to ageing, as well as links to relevant ABS articles and non-ABS sources. An interactive life expectancy calculator is also featured, which allows people to calculate how many more years of life, on average, someone may have from a particular age, based on the most recent ABS life tables. For the latest news on ageing statistics, users are encouraged to view the Noticeboard section, which is regularly updated with developments both inside and outside the ABS, including ageing-related public inquiries, works in progress and upcoming conferences.

Future work on the Ageing Topics @ a Glance page will aim to help users more effectively use ageing statistics. We welcome any comments you may have on the material included thus far, as well as any suggestions for improvement. Comments can be emailed to living.conditions@abs.gov.au

High quality data is essential for informed decision making, and ABS data plays a vital role in the development of major policy and research. An example of this is in the Productivity Commission’s draft report Caring for Older Australians, which develops a plan for major structural reform of Australia’s aged care system. The report, which was released in January 2011, features data from a number of age-related ABS surveys, including the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Census of Population and Housing, and the Labour Force Survey. It also devotes an entire chapter to issues relating to data, underscoring the significance of the National Statistical Service to provide evidence needed for informed policy development.

For researchers interested in aged-care statistics, one of the main recommendations coming out of the Commission’s inquiry is the call to establish a national ‘clearinghouse’ for aged care data. It is envisaged that this clearinghouse would coordinate data collection, maximise the usefulness of that data and make the data available to the public in a timely manner. The Commission also recommends major reforms as to how the aged care sector is structured, regulated and funded. It should be noted that these recommendations are not yet final, and that the Commission will deliver its final report to government in June 2011. For more information on the inquiry, please visit the Productivity Commission’s website.


Perspectives on Ageing (cat. no. 4919.0) will be a new product from the ABS that will feature articles relating to older people and the ageing of Australia's population. The first edition of the product will be released in the middle of 2011. It is anticipated that new content will be added to Perspectives on Ageing on an irregular basis, with additional content expected before the end of 2011.

As with all ABS products, you can subscribe to this product through the Email Notification Service and be notified when new editions and additional content are released.