4914.0.55.001 - Newsletter: Age Matters, Nov 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/11/2007   
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The fourth edition of Older Australia at a glance prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare with funding support from the Office for an Ageing Australia will be released in late November 2007 and key findings will be presented at the national conference of the Australian Association of Gerontology on the same day.

This publication has become widely recognised in Australia as providing a succinct and informative overview of key areas and issues affecting older Australians, as well as key statistics on each topic and useful references for additional information. Older Australia at a glance is designed to be accessible to a wide range of readers, appropriate for overseas and Australian audiences, including students, health and welfare professionals, policy analysts, and researchers.

The 4th edition will continue reporting in major areas of interest such as demographic change, social and economic circumstances of older people, their health and functioning, and use of health and aged care services. New topics to be included for the first time will cover the use of technology, intergenerational financial transfers, chronic health conditions recognised as National Health Priority Areas, oral health and dental service use.
Australian Social Trends, 2007 (cat. no. 4102.0) was released on 7 August 2007. This publication presents a broad range of information on contemporary social issues and areas of public policy concern. By drawing on a wide range of ABS statistics, and statistics from other official sources, Australian Social Trends describes aspects of Australian society, and how these are changing over time.

Australian Social Trends includes chapters on a range of issues of significance to ageing Australia. These include population, family and community, health, economic resources and housing.

Articles that may be of particular interest to ageing statistics are linked below:

Recent increases in Australia's fertility
International fertility comparison
Overweight and obesity
Diabetes and mellitus
Labour force participation: an international comparison
Larger dwellings, smaller households
Wealth in homes of owner-occupier households
Participation in sports and physical recreation

Summary tables and graphs at the beginning of each chapter show changes to key indicators that have taken place at a national level over a decade, and differences across states and territories for the most recent year. Data cubes are also available.

Image: Year book Australia 2007

Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4441.0) was released on 9 July 2007. This publication contains results from the national Voluntary Work Survey conducted throughout Australia from March to July 2006 as part of the General Social Survey (GSS). This is the third detailed survey conducted by the ABS on this topic. Previous Voluntary Work Surveys were conducted in 1995 and 2000.

When looking at the Australian population aged 65 years and over, 27% people (690,400) participated in voluntary work in 2006. Among those aged 65–84 years the median was 2.0 hours a week (2.3 hours among men and about 1.6 hours among women) whereas the next highest median hours of 1.5 hours per week (1.3 hours among men and 1.6 hours among women) for any age group was for those aged 55–64 years. The median weekly hours worked by people in younger age ranges were all lower than these. Similar age-related patterns are evident when using the average annual hours measure.

In addition to selected personal characteristics of people (including those 65 years and over) who volunteered, the publication presents information such as:
  • reasons for volunteering
  • frequency of volunteering and number of hours worked
  • frequency and duration of voluntary work involvements
  • expenses incurred
  • organisation type
  • activity type
  • duration of volunteering
  • donor status and types of recipient organisations
  • informal assistance to others.

Analytical Living Cost Indexes for Selected Australian Household Types, Jun 2007 (cat. no. 6463.0) was released on 29 August 2007. It presents analytical living cost indexes for selected Australian household types. These price indexes are designed specifically to measure the impact of changes in prices on the out-of-pocket living costs experienced by four household types:
  • Employee households
  • Age pensioner households
  • Other government transfer recipient households
  • Self-funded retiree households.
These measures are more appropriate than the Australian Consumer Price Index (CPI) for measuring household costs the index contents reflect the typical spending patterns of the different household types.

For more information about analytical living cost indexes, contact Lee Taylor on (02) 6252 6251.

Research paper: Population Ageing and the Accumulation of Human Capital in Australia, 1981-2001, Sep 2007 (cat. no. 1351.0.55.022) was presented to the Australian Social Policy Conference in July 2007 and published in September 2007. The paper was written by Ewa Orzechowska–Fischer and Hui Wei as part of ABS's research program on the measurement of human capital.

Human capital can be defined as a productive capacity embodied in individuals. Using the experimental measurement framework for human capital developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this study provides a quantitative assessment of the impact of Australia's ageing population on per capita human capital for the period 1981–2001.

ABS estimates show that stocks of human capital have grown significantly over this period. However, since the early 1990’s, the rate of growth has declined. This analysis suggests that population ageing has been one of the major drivers of this deceleration which has partly mitigated the recent increases in human capital arising from increased per capita investment in education and training.

As population ageing continues, maintaining growth in per capita human capital is a key issue for policy makers. An ageing population implies that the labour force will contract in the future. This is because the declining proportion of children in the population who are future labour market entrants and the increasing proportion of older workers approaching their retirement ages lead to more exits than entries to the labour force. The shrinking of labour pools will have consequences for many aspects of a national economy.

For more information about this research paper, please contact Dr Ewa Orzechowska-Fischer, Analytical Services Branch, on Canberra (02) 6252 6053 or email analytical.services@abs.gov.au.

Population by Age and Sex, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 3235.0) was released on 24 July 2007, and contains estimates of the resident population of Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Australia at 30 June 2006, by age and sex.

The estimated resident population of Australia at 30 June 2006 was 20.7 million people, having increased by 1.3 million people (or 6.6%) since June 2001.
The publication illustrates how Australia's population is continuing to age. Selected highlights:
  • Between June 2001 and June 2006 the proportion of males and females in the four youngest five-year age groups decreased, while the proportions in most of the age groups above 55 years increased
  • The proportion of people aged 65 years and over in June 2006 was 13.0%, compared with 12.5% in June 2001 and 12.0% in June 1996
  • In 2006, the proportion of people aged 85 years and over in Australia was 1.6% (322,000 people)
  • The median age of Australia's population, was 36.6 years at June 2006, compared with 35.7 years at June 2001 and 34 years at June 1996
  • The median age of every state and territory increased in the decade to June 2006. Tasmania had the highest median age of 38.8 years at June 2006, overtaking South Australia with the highest median age in 1996 and 2001. The Northern Territory continued to have the lowest median age (30.9 years at June 2006)
  • The number of females aged 65 years and over in Australia (1.48 million) was 22% higher than the number of males in this age group (1.21 million). The proportion of females continued to raise rapidly with age, with females aged 85 years and over (217,700) more than doubling the number of males (104,300).