3106.0 - Demography News, Feb 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/02/1999   
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International Year of Older Persons

The International Year of Older Persons is being celebrated in 1999. Australia's population is ageing and it is projected that by 2051 between 24% and 26% of people may be aged 65 years and over. By comparison people aged 65 years and over represented 12% in 1998, 8% in 1948 and 4% at the beginning of the 20th century.

An ageing population is primarily due to fertility remaining at low levels coupled with low mortality over a long period of time. Australia's total fertility rate was 1.8 babies per woman in 1997 and the trend of below replacement level fertility (2.1 babies per woman) is expected to continue.

Further information is available in the article Older Persons published in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 1998 (Catalogue no. 3101.0, $19.50).