3106.0 - Demography News, Dec 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/12/1999   
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Australia's older population - past, present and future

The proportion of the Australian population aged 65 years and over (the older population) has grown steadily during the 20th century and it is projected to grow further during the 21st century. In 1901 there were 151 thousand people aged 65 years and over living in Australia, comprising 4% of the total Australian population. By 1998 this number increased to 2.3 million or 12% of the total population. It is projected that by 2051 the older population would have grown to between 6 million and 6.3 million or around one-quarter (24%-26%) of the projected total population of Australia.

The majority of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coastline, but older people are likely to live closer to the coast. In 1996, 32% of people aged 65 years and over lived within five kilometres of the coast. In comparison, 25% of Australians aged 0-64 lived within five kilometres of the coast.

Further information is available in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 1999 (Cat. No. 3101.0) released on 8 December 1999 and the publication Older People, Australia: A Social Report, 1999 (Cat. No. 4109.0) scheduled for release on 15 December 1999.