4409.3 - Ageing Well, Queensland, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/07/2005   
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Ageing Well, Queensland

There is increasing interest worldwide about the implications of an ageing population. As people age they present both a challenge and a resource for current and future governments. This is of particular importance now that the 'Baby Boomers' are beginning to move into the older age groups. Internationally, governments and organisations have initiated projects to address this issue.

The Australian Government has also been developing strategies.

    In October 2001, a new federal portfolio for Ageing was established and the 'National Strategy for an Ageing Australia' developed to provide a coordinated national response to issues surrounding population ageing (footnote 1).
    In December 2002, ‘whole-of-government' National Research Priorities (NRPs) were announced.
      1. An Environmentally Sustainable Australia
      2. Promoting and Maintaining Good Health
      3. Frontier Technologies for Building and Transforming Australian Industries
      4. Safeguarding Australia

    As a result, the National Health and Medical Research Council developed four priority goals to address NRP2.
      1. A Healthy Start to Life
      2. Ageing Well, Ageing Productively
      3. Preventive Healthcare
      4. Strengthening Australia’s Social and Economic Fabric.
In Queensland, one of the Queensland Government's main priorities was 'Community Engagement and a Better Quality of Life'. This covers many aspects of wellbeing and 'ageing well'.

Although, there can be no single measure of well-being that satisfies all, it has been recognised that there are many, often inter-related, aspects of life that are important to human wellbeing. In the early 1970s, the OECD proposed that wellbeing could be measured by defining areas of concern ('identifiable and definable aspirations or concerns of fundamental and direct importance to human wellbeing') (footnote 2).
These include good health, good family relationships and engagements with wider social networks, good educational opportunities and outcomes, suitable employment, a decent income and freedom from financial stress, a decent and affordable place to live, feeling safe and secure, and having access to suitable transport.

The 'Ageing Well' web pages explore a range of data about Queenslanders showing that the over 50s are an active group of people. Although wellbeing is difficult to measure, Queenslanders appear to be ageing well and seem likely to continue to do so.


1. Population
    Life expectancy
    • In 1881-90, the Australian life expectancy for males was 47 years and 51 years for females.
    • By 2002, it had risen to 77 years for males and 83 years for females.
    Queenslanders 50 years and over
    • In June 1974, 23% or 459,700 of the Queensland population were 50 years and over.
    • In June 2004, there were 29% or 1,132,800 Queenslanders of that age.
    • In 2051 Queenslanders aged 50 years and over are expected to account for 46% of the population.
More detailed information can be found in the Population section of the 'Ageing Well' web pages.
    2. Income and Housing
      • In 2001, the largest proportion of both male (36%) and female (48%) Queenslanders aged 50 years and over, reported a weekly income of between $120 and $299 a week.
      • Although income drops as people reach retirement a majority of these people own their own homes outright so have no rent or mortgage expenses.
    More detailed information can be found in the Income & Housing section of the 'Ageing Well' web pages.

      3. Employed persons and persons not in the labour force
        • In March 2005, 73% of males aged 50-64 years participated in the labour force in Queensland.
        • The proportion of females aged 50-64 years, at 56%, had doubled since March 1985.
        • Employed Queenslanders aged 45-69 years in February 2004 were much less likely (8%) to be job mobile than those aged 15-44 years (20%).
        • Most Queenslanders aged 55 years and over not in the labour force were 'job leavers' (63%) rather than 'job losers' (34%) in September 2004.
        • Ill health or injury was reported as the most common reason for losing a job (49% of all 'job losers' aged 55 years and over).
      More detailed information can be found in the Employed persons & Persons not in the labour force section of the 'Ageing Well' web pages.

        4. Family and Community Life
          Caring for others
          • In 2001, Queenslanders aged 50 years and over were most likely (48%) to live in a couple family without children.
          • More than a quarter of all Queenslanders aged 55-64 years provided assistance to those who need help because of disability or age in 2003.
          • People aged 45-64 years accounted for 40% of all Queensland carers.
          • In 2002, there were 308,600 (51%) children aged 0-11 years in Queensland using various types of child care and 32% were using informal care.
          • Most children aged 0-11 years using informal care were cared for by grandparents (57%). In Queensland, 55,200 children aged 0-4 years and 53,800 children aged 5-11 years received informal care from their grandparents.

          Caring for the community
          • In 2002, people aged 45-54 years (32%) and 55-64 years (31%) were the most likely of all age groups to be providers of support to relatives (outside their household) in Queensland.
          • Almost a quarter of a million Queenslanders aged 50 years and over were volunteers in 2000 and 71% of them had been volunteers for more than 10 years.
          • Volunteers aged 50-64 years (40%) and 65 years and over (51%) were more likely to volunteer for community or welfare organisations than other age groups in Australia.

          Social participation and interaction
          • In 2002, over 90% of all Queenslanders aged 55 years and over reported that they had had contact in the previous week with family or friends with whom they did not live, would be able to ask people outside of their household for small favours, and in a time of crisis, could get support from outside their household.
          • In 2002, approximately 90% of all Queenslanders aged 45-64 years had access to a car to drive and could easily get to places they needed to go.
          • The majority of Queenslanders aged 65 years and over (67%) had access to a car to drive and 84% could easily get to places they needed to go.
          • In 2002, approximately 30% of all Queenslanders aged 55 years and over had used a computer at home in the last 12 months and about 20% had accessed the internet at home.
          • In 2002, 63% of Queenslanders aged 45-54 years had used a computer at home in the last 12 months and 46% of them had accessed the internet.
          • In 2002, over 70% of all Queenslanders aged 55 years and over had been out to a cafe, restaurant or bar in the last three months.
          • Approximately 40% of all Queenslanders aged 55 years and over had taken part in or attended sport or physical activities and/or attended a movie, theatre or concert.
        More detailed information can be found in the Family and Community Life section of the 'Ageing Well' web pages.

          The 'Ageing Well' webpages were created following a joint project between the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Queensland Health that was presented to the inaugural Policy Symposium 'Queensland Seniors: Ageing Well?' held by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) in Brisbane on 29 June 2005.

          Queensland Health's contribution to the joint project was based on their 'Health Determinants,Queensland 2004' Report. The report provides information on the 'Life course' approach to health and the social determinants of health. The report is divided into sections including a chapter on 'Older people' focussed on persons aged 65 and over and a chapter on 'Whole of population' which includes data on younger age groups.

          The 'Health Determinants,Queensland 2004' Report can be accessed on Queensland Health's website through this link http://www.health.qld.gov.au/phs/hdq/default.asp or by visiting Queensland Health's homepage and selecting 'Services', then 'Public Health Services' and using the link near the bottom of that webpage.


          1. Andrews, K (Minister for Ageing), National Strategy for an Ageing Australia, October 2001, Department of Health and Ageing, viewed 18 May 2005<http://www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/ageing-ofoa-agepolicy-nsaa-nsaa.htm>. Back

          2. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development, Measuring Social Wellbeing: A progress report on the development of social indicators, 1976, Paris. < Back

          FURTHER AGEING WELL, QUEENSLAND INFORMATION is available on the following pages

          Ageing Well: Population, Queensland
          Ageing Well: Income & Housing, Queensland
          Ageing Well: Employed persons & Persons not in the labour force, Queensland
          Ageing Well: Family and Community Life, Queensland


          ABS Sources

          Ageing Theme page
          Health Theme page
          Regional Queensland Theme page

          The data on this page were last updated on 21 July 2005.