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AGE AND SEX DISTRIBUTION
The following graph (called a 'population pyramid') compares the age/sex structure of the population residing in greater capital cities with the population residing in the rest of Australia. Each dark bar illustrates the percentage contribution of a sex and five-year age group to the total population of capital cities, while each light bar illustrates the percentage contribution to the rest of Australia's population. For example, the graph shows that in June 2012, males aged 0 to 4 years made up 3.4% of the population of the combined capital cities compared to 3.3% of the rest of Australia.
A distinctive feature in the age distribution of Australia at June 2012 was the high representation of people aged 20 to 44 years residing in capital cities. People in this age group represented 38% of the combined capital city population, compared to 31% of the population in the rest of Australia. This reflects the attraction of younger adults to education, employment and other opportunities in capital cities. In contrast, older adults aged 45 years and over made up a smaller proportion of the population in capital cities (37%) than in the rest of Australia (43%).
The population pyramid also highlights differences between the sexes. For June 2012, the most notable feature was the higher proportions of females than males aged 80 years and over. This was evident in both capital cities and in the rest of Australia. The difference was most marked among the population aged 85 years and over, and is attributable to the longer life expectancies of female Australians.
In 2012, 15.0 million people (66% of the population) resided in greater capital cities and 7.7 million (34%) resided in the rest of Australia. There were more females (7.57 million) than males (7.45 million) living in capital cities, while slightly more males (3.86 million) than females (3.84 million) resided in the rest of the country.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of people aged 25 to 29 years resided in Australia's capital cities, the highest proportion of any five-year age group. Conversely, the 70 to 74 year age group had the lowest proportion living in Australia's capital cities (60%).
At June 2012, the median age of the Australian population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) was 37.3 years. The median age of males was 36.4 years and the median age of females was 38.2 years.
Tasmania had the oldest median age of all states and territories, at 40.8 years, ahead of South Australia at 39.6 years. The Northern Territory was the youngest state or territory with a median age of 31.5 years, ahead of the Australian Capital Territory at 34.5 years.
The Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s) with the highest median ages were Mid North Coast (47.8 years) and Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven (46.0), both on the New South Wales coast, followed by South East (44.9) in Tasmania. These areas are all popular retirement destinations. The SA4 with the lowest median age was Northern Territory - Outback (29.6 years), followed by Queensland - Outback (32.6) and Brisbane Inner City (32.7).
CHILDREN (UNDER 15 YEARS OF AGE)
At June 2012, the total number of children under 15 years of age was 4.29 million. This accounted for 19% of the total population.
The Northern Territory had the highest proportion of children (23% of its total population), while South Australia had the lowest (18%).
The SA4s with the highest proportion of children were Northern Territory - Outback (26%), Queensland - Outback (24%) and Sydney - Blacktown (23%). The lowest proportions of children were in the inner-city SA4s of Sydney - City and Inner South (10%), Melbourne - Inner (12%), Brisbane Inner City (14%) and Perth Inner (15%).
WORKING AGE POPULATION (AGED 15-64 YEARS)
At June 2012, there were 15.2 million people of working age (15 to 64 years). The proportion of the total population in this age group was 67%.
The Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportions of people of working age (both 71%). Tasmania had the lowest proportion (65%).
The SA4s with the highest proportions of working age people were Sydney - City and Inner South (81%), Melbourne - Inner (78%) and Brisbane Inner City (77%). The SA4s with the lowest proportions were Mid North Coast (58%) and Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven (59%), both in New South Wales, and Wide Bay (60%) on Queensland's coast.
PEOPLE AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER
There were 3.22 million people aged 65 years and over in Australia at June 2012, accounting for 14% of the total population.
Tasmania (17%) had the highest proportion of people aged 65 years and over, closely followed by South Australia (16%). The Northern Territory had the lowest proportion (5.9%).
The SA4s with the highest proportion of people aged 65 years and over were Mid North Coast (25%) and Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven (23%), both in New South Wales, and Barossa - Yorke - Mid North (20%) in South Australia. The SA4s with the lowest proportion of people in this age group were Northern Territory - Outback (4.9%), Darwin (6.7%) and Western Australia - Outback (7.2%).
At June 2012, there were 102,300 more females than males residing in Australia, with 11.3 million males and 11.4 million females. The sex ratio (the number of males per hundred females) was 99.1. The sex ratio of the states and territories ranged from a low of 98.0 in Victoria to 110.7 in the Northern Territory. Only in the Northern Territory and Western Australia (101.9) did males outnumber females.
The sex ratio of all greater capital cities combined (98.4) was lower than for the rest of Australia (100.5). In all states and territories, the ratio of males to females was lower in the capital city than in the rest of the state or territory. Greater Adelaide (96.7) had the lowest sex ratio, while Greater Darwin (109.6) was the only capital city where males outnumbered females.
The SA4s with the highest sex ratios were Western Australia - Outback (122.3), Queensland - Outback (113.7) and Northern Territory - Outback (112.0), which were all areas with significant mining activity. The lowest sex ratios were in the inner and middle suburban SA4s of Melbourne - Inner East (93.6), Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby (94.0) and Melbourne - Inner South (94.4).
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