Census insights into Australia's ageing population (Media Release)

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20 December 2017

Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)

Census shares insights into Australia’s ageing population

Australians are living longer, but also working later into their lives according to the latest data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

The proportion of older people in Australia’s labour force has increased over the past 10 years, with the 2016 Census revealing about 14 per cent of people aged 65 years and over were part of our labour force in 2016, up from 9.4 per cent in 2006. In 2016, around one in every five people aged 65 to 74 years (21 per cent) was in the labour force.

The Census has also revealed that the number of older people is increasing.

In 2016, nearly one in every six people (16 per cent) was aged 65 years and over, an increase of 664,500 since 2011. Additionally in 2016, there were almost half a million people (486,800) aged 85 years and over, an increase of around 85,000 people over the past five years.

In 2016, over a third of people aged 65 years and older (37 per cent) were born overseas. About two thirds of these (67 per cent) were born in Europe, while almost a quarter of older overseas born people (24 per cent) reported that they were born in England.

While the majority of older people (82 per cent) only spoke English at home in 2016, Italian (3.2 per cent) and Greek (2.2 per cent) were among the most commonly reported languages other than English.

Older people were also more likely to report an affiliation with Christianity than those aged under 65 (70 per cent and 49 per cent respectively).

Older Australians continue to play a significant part in the community, with nearly one in five people aged 65 to 74 years (19 per cent) providing care for a child aged under 15 who was not their own, most likely grandchildren.

All of these insights and more are available in a recently released analytical article on Australia’s aging population.

* Source: 2016 Census of Population and Housing
*All numbers based on Place of Usual Residence

Media inquiries: (02) 6252 6617 / census.media@abs.gov.au