3201.0 - Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, Jun 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2001   
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December 18, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australia's population continues to age

Australia's population continues to age due to sustained low levels of fertility and increasing life expectancy, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The median age of the Australian population, the age at which half of the population is older and half is younger, was 35.4 years in June 2001, an increase of 5.8 years over the past twenty years.

During the twelve months to June 2001, the number of children aged 0-14 years increased by just 0.03%, the number of people aged 15-64 years increased by 1.4% while those aged 65 years and over increased by 1.8%. The greatest population increase in the twelve months to June 2001 occurred in the 85 years and over age group which increased by 5.7%. Australia's population as a whole increased by 1.2% or 229,500 people.

Over the past twenty years, low fertility levels have resulted in minimal growth in the number of children aged 0-14 years (5%). In contrast, the number of persons aged 15-64 years has increased by 34%, those aged 65 years and over have increased by 65%, with those aged 85 years and over showing the greatest increase (156%).

South Australia continued to have the oldest population (median of 37.4 years) at June 2001, followed by Tasmania (37.0 years), New South Wales (35.7 years), Victoria (35.5 years), Queensland (34.9 years), Western Australia (34.5 years), the Australian Capital Territory (32.9 years) and the Northern Territory (29.3 years).

The median age of Australia's population in 2000 (35.2 years) is similar to that of the United States of America (35.5 years), New Zealand (34.4 years) and Canada (36.9 years). Generally, European countries with very low levels of fertility (such as Italy with a median age of 40.2 years) and Japan (41.2 years) have older populations than Australia. While in contrast, countries from the Asian regions which have relatively high levels of fertility have younger populations, such as Indonesia (with a median age of 24.6 years), Malaysia (23.3 years) and the Philippines (20.9 years).

Further details can be found in Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (cat. no. 3201.0) available in all ABS bookshops. This media release and a summary of the publication are available on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.