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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 2011, males aged 0 to 4 years made up 3.3% of the population of the combined capital cities compared to 3.4% of the rest of Australia.
A distinctive feature in the age distribution of Australia at June 2011 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 illustrates 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 2011, 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 2011, 14.7 million people (66% of the population) resided in greater capital cities and 7.59 million (34%) resided in the rest of Australia. There were more females (7.43 million) than males (7.30 million) living in capital cities, while slightly more males (3.80 million) than females (3.79 million) resided in the rest of the country.
Almost three-quarters (72%) of people aged 25 to 29 years resided in Australia's capital cities in 2011, 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 2011, the median age of the Australian population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) was 37.3 years, up from 35.7 years in June 2001. The median age of males increased from 34.9 to 36.4 years and the median age of females increased from 36.4 to 38.1 years over this period.
The median age of all states and territories increased between 2001 and 2011. In 2001, South Australia had the oldest median age, at 37.6 years, just ahead of Tasmania at 37.2 years. However, between 2001 and 2011, the median age of Tasmania increased more than any other to become the oldest state or territory, at 40.4 years. The Northern Territory remained the youngest state or territory with a median age of 31.4 years, up from 29.6 in 2001.
The Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s) with the highest median ages in 2011 were Mid North Coast (47.3 years), and Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven (45.5), both on the New South Wales coast, followed by Barossa - Yorke - Mid North in South Australia (44.4). The lowest median age was in Northern Territory - Outback (29.3 years), followed by Queensland - Outback (32.3) and Sydney - Blacktown (32.7).
CHILDREN (UNDER 15 YEARS OF AGE)
At June 2011, the total number of children under 15 years of age was 4.21 million. This was an increase of 225,300 from June 2001, however the proportion of the total population in this age group declined over this period from 21% to 19%. A decline in the proportion of children was recorded across all states and territories.
The Northern Territory continued to have the highest proportion of children (23% of its total population), while South Australia continued to have the lowest (18%).
In the ten years to 2011, Queensland recorded the largest increase in population aged under 15 years (up 114,900 people), followed by Western Australia (49,300) and Victoria (49,000). Queensland also had the fastest growth in this age group (up 15%) over this period.
The SA4s with the highest proportion of children in 2011 were Northern Territory - Outback (26%), Queensland - Outback (24%) and Sydney - Blacktown (23%). The SA4s with the lowest proportion of children were the inner-city areas of Sydney - City and Inner South (10%), Melbourne - Inner (12%) and Brisbane Inner City (14%).
WORKING AGE POPULATION (AGED 15-64 YEARS)
At June 2011, there were 15.0 million people of working age (15 to 64 years), an increase of 2.04 million or 16% since June 2001. The proportion of the total population in this age group increased marginally from 66.9% to 67.3% over this ten year period.
The Northern Territory had the highest proportion of people of working age in 2011 (72%), just ahead of the Australian Capital Territory (71%). Ten years earlier, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion. Tasmania continued to have the lowest proportion in 2011 (65%).
Between 2001 and 2011, Queensland had the largest growth of people aged 15 to 64 years (increasing by 574,700 people), followed by Victoria (531,200) and New South Wales (433,900). Western Australia had the fastest growth of people of working age (increasing by 25%), followed by Queensland (24%).
The SA4s with the highest proportions of working age people in 2011 were Sydney - City and Inner South (81%), Brisbane Inner City (78%) and Melbourne - Inner (77%). The SA4s with the lowest proportions were Mid North Coast (58%) and Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven (60%), both in New South Wales, and Wide Bay (61%) in Queensland.
PEOPLE AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER
There were 3.08 million people aged 65 years and over in Australia at June 2011, a substantial increase of 641,000 people or 26% since June 2001. The proportion of people in this age group increased in each state and territory over this period, resulting in an overall rise from 13% of the total population to 14% in 2011.
In 2011, Tasmania (16.1%) had the highest proportion of people aged 65 years and over, closely followed by South Australia (15.9%) which had the highest proportion ten years earlier. The Northern Territory continued to have the lowest proportion (5.5%).
The largest increases in people aged 65 years and over in the ten years to 2011 were in New South Wales (up 186,200 people), Queensland (155,600) and Victoria (149,700). Rapid growth occurred in the Northern Territory (up 73%), however this was the smallest increase (5,400 people) of any state or territory.
The SA4s with the highest proportion of people aged 65 years and over in 2011 were Mid North Coast (24%) and Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven (22%), both in New South Wales, and Mandurah (20%) in Western Australia. The SA4s with the lowest proportion of people in this age group were Northern Territory - Outback (4.6%), Darwin (6.3%) and Western Australia - Outback (7.0%).
At June 2011, there were 124,700 more females than males residing in Australia, with 11.2 million females and 11.1 million males. The sex ratio (the number of males per hundred females) was 98.9, up from 98.4 in 2001. The sex ratio of the states and territories ranged from a low of 97.8 in Victoria to 110.6 in the Northern Territory. Only in the Northern Territory and Western Australia (101.2) did males outnumber females.
The sex ratio of all greater capital cities combined (98.2) was lower than the sex ratio for the rest of Australia (100.3). In all states and territories, the sex ratio was lower in the capital city than in the rest of the state. Greater Adelaide (96.5) had the lowest sex ratio, while Greater Darwin (109.5) was the only capital city where males outnumbered females.
The SA4s with the highest sex ratios were Western Australia - Outback (119.7), Queensland - Outback (113.3) 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 (93.5), Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby (93.9) and Melbourne - Inner South (94.2).
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