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Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age over the last 20 years, increasing by 7.8 years from 31.8 years in 1989 to 39.6 years in 2009. The emigration of younger adults from Tasmania to the Australian mainland has contributed to this accelerated ageing, see Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0).
Between 30 June 1989 and 30 June 2009, the proportion of Australia's population aged 15-64 years has remained relatively stable, increasing from 66.9% to 67.5% of the total population. The proportion of people aged 65 years and over has increased from 11% to 13.3%. During the same period, the proportion of population aged 85 years and over has more than doubled from 0.9% at 30 June 1989 to 1.8% at 30 June 2009. The proportion aged under 15 years decreased from 22.2% to 19.1%.
The age with the greatest number of people in Australia at 30 June 2009 was 38 years with 335,100 people. This corresponds to children born during the baby boom echo in the early 1970s. However, the modal age for the Australian Capital Territory is 25 and 26 years with 6,400 people each, which corresponds to migration of younger adults to Canberra for education and employment.
CHILDREN (UNDER 15 YEARS OF AGE)
The number of children aged 0-14 years in the population increased by 58,900 in the 12months to 30 June 2009. The number of children aged 0-4 years increased by 48,300, 5-9 years increased by 7,800 and 10-14 years increased by 2,700.
In the year ended 30 June 2009, Queensland and Western Australia recorded the largest percentage increase (2.5%) in the number of children aged 0-14 years. Australian Capital Territory recorded positive growth of 1.3%, as did Victoria and the Northern Territory (both 1.1%), New South Wales (0.9%), South Australia (0.6%), and Tasmania (0.5%).
Between 30 June 1989 and 30 June 2009, the proportion of population aged 0-14 years decreased by 3.1 percentage points from 22.2% to 19.1%.
WORKING AGE POPULATION (AGED 15-64 YEARS)
The number of people aged 15-64 years (working age population) increased by 2.1% (or 298,500 persons) in the year ended 30 June 2009. Western Australia (3.1%), Queensland (2.5%), the Northen Territory (2.4%) and Victoria (2.3%) each recorded growth rates for 15-64 year olds higher than or equal to the national average. New South Wales (1.6%), the Australian Capital Territory (1.4%), South Australia (1.2%), and Tasmania (0.7%) each recorded growth rates for 15-64 year olds lower than the national average.
During the 20 years between 30 June 1989 and 30 June 2009, the proportion of population aged 15-64 years increased from 66.9% to 67.5%.
In the year ended 30 June 2009, there were 289,300 young people aged 15 years who entered the working age population while 196,600 people turned 65 years and left the working age population.
This excess of 15 year olds over 65 year olds is projected to decline over the next decade. The major causes for this decline are (1) the first cohort of the baby boomers (those born in 1946) will reach the age of 65 years in 2011 leaving the working age population; (2) the number of 15 year olds entering the working age population will decline due to the fall in fertility and the number of births recorded through the 1990s.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2009, the number of people aged 65 years and over in Australia increased by 85,800 people representing a 3.0% increase. The proportion of the population aged 65 years and over increased from 11.0% to 13.3% between 30 June 1989 and 30 June 2009.
All states and territories experienced growth in their populations aged 65 years and over in the year ended 30 June 2009. The Northern Territory (7.0%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.0%), Western Australia and Queensland (3.7%) experienced the greatest increase in the numbers of persons aged 65 years and over.
Aged 85 years and over
In the 12 months to 30 June 2009, the number of people aged 85 years and over increased by 21,000 people (5.8%) to reach 383,400. Over the past two decades, the number of elderly people increased by 167.8%, compared with a total population growth of 30.1% over the same period. Increased life expectancy for both males and females has contributed to this rise. There were almost twice as many females (251,800) than males (131,600) in this age group at 30 June 2009 which reflects the higher life expectancy at birth for females compared with males.
In the year ended June 2009, the largest increases in the number of people aged 85 years and over occurred in the Australian Capital Territory (8.0%), followed by Victoria (6.0%), New South Wales and Western Australia (both 5.9%), the Northern Territory (5.6%) and South Australia (5.4%), Queensland (5.3%), and Tasmania (4.4%).
Aged 100 years and over
In the 12 months to 30 June 2009, the number of people aged 100 years and over increased by 610 people (19.5%) to reach 3,700. Over the past two decades, the number of centanarians increased by 206%, compared with a total population growth of 30.1% over the same period. Increased life expectancy for both males and females has contributed to this rise. There were more than three times as many females (2,900) than males (800) in this age group at 30 June 2009 which reflects the higher life expectancy at birth for females compared with males.
The sex ratio relates to the number of males per 100 females in a population or subpopulation. The sex ratio at birth is approximately 105 males per 100 females. Higher male mortality rates at younger ages results in the ratio approaching 100 for the 30-64 years age group. Net Overseas Migration can also influence the sex ratio, especially in the younger working ages where there is often 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 2009, the sex ratio of the total population for Australia was 99.1 males per 100 females. At age 0, the sex ratio for Australia in 2009 was 105.3 males per 100 females. This excess of males in the earlier years contrasts with the opposite situation in the older years and for the total population which can be attributed to female longevity.
Across the states and territories in 2008-09, Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory all had lower numbers of males than females. Tasmania had the lowest sex ratio, with 97.4 males per 100 females. Western Australia and the Northern Territory had an excess of males compared to females. The Northern Territory had the highest sex ratio with 107.9 males per 100 females.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics projections, the proportion of children in the Australian population is expected to decline by almost one percentage point between 2005 and 2010, from 19.7% to 19.0%, while the proportion of people aged 15-64 years is expected to decrease slightly, from 67.4% to 67.3%. The proportion of people aged 65 years and over is expected to increase by almost one percentage point from 12.9% to 13.7%.
In 2005, the age structure of Australia's population was similar to that of Canada 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 considerably higher fertility rates and lower life expectancies at birth than those experienced in Australia.
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