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FEATURE ARTICLE 1: POPULATION BY AGE AND SEX, AUSTRALIA, STATES AND TERRITORIES
Between 30 June 1992 and 30 June 2012, the proportion of Australia's population aged 15-64 years has remained relatively stable, increasing from 66.7% to 67.0% of the total population, and the proportion of people aged 65 years and over has increased from 11.5% to 14.2%. During the same period, the proportion of population aged 85 years and over has more than doubled from 0.9% of the population at 30 June 1992 to 1.9% of the total population at 30 June 2012. Conversely, the proportion aged under 15 years has decreased from 21.8% to 18.8%.
STATES AND TERRITORIES
At 30 June 2012, Tasmania had the oldest median age of all the states and territories at 40.9 years. South Australia had the second oldest median age with a median age of 39.7 years, followed by New South Wales (37.9 years), Victoria (37.4 years), Queensland (36.7 years), Western Australia (36.1 years), the Australian Capital Territory (34.6 years) and the Northern Territory (31.6 years).
Tasmania experienced the largest increase in median age over the last 20 years, increasing by 8.1 years from 32.8 years in 1992 to 40.9 years in 2012. Interstate migration of younger adults from Tasmania to the Australian mainland has contributed to this accelerated ageing. For further information, see Migration, Australia (cat. no. 3412.0).
The age with the largest number of people in Australia at 30 June 2012 was 41 years, with 341,900 people. However, the modal age for Tasmania was 51 years, which reflects the internal migration of younger adults from Tasmania for education and employment.
CHILDREN (UNDER 15 YEARS OF AGE)
In the 20 years between 30 June 1992 and 30 June 2012, the proportion of children aged 0-14 years decreased by 3.0 percentage points, from 21.8% to 18.8% of the total population.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2012, the number of children aged 0-14 years in the population increased by 55,700. The number of children aged 0-4 years increased by 24,200, the number aged between 5-9 years increased by 31,400, and those aged between 10-14 years increased by 100.
In the year ended 30 June 2012, Western Australia recorded the largest percentage increase in the number of children aged 0-14 years (3.1%). The Australian Capital Territory recorded positive growth of 2.5%, as did Queensland (1.7%), Victoria (1.5%), South Australia and the Northern Territory (both 1.0%) and New South Wales (0.6%). Tasmania recorded a decrease of 0.7%.
WORKING AGE POPULATION (AGED 15-64 YEARS)
In the 20 years between 30 June 1992 and 30 June 2012, the proportion of the population aged between 15 and 64 years (working age population) increased from 66.7% to 67.0%.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2012, the number of people in this group increased by 1.1% (or 169,200 persons). Western Australia (3.0%) and Queensland (1.4%) recorded growth rates for 15-64 year olds higher than the national average (1.1%). Victoria, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory recorded growth rates for 15-64 year olds equal to the national average. New South Wales recorded a growth rate of 0.6%, South Australia 0.3% and Tasmania recorded a decrease in the proportion of 15-64 year olds (-0.6%).
There were 283,500 young people aged 15 who entered the working age population while 249,800 people turned 65 years in the year ended 30 June 2012.
By 30 June 2012, the first cohort of the Baby Boomer generation (those born in 1946-47) turned 65, with the number of people aged 65 increasing by 37,500 people from June 2011 (212,300) to June 2012 (249,800).
Between 30 June 1992 and 30 June 2012, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over increased from 11.5% to 14.2%.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2012, the number of people aged 65 years and over in Australia increased by 134,700 people, representing a 4.4% increase.
All states and territories experienced growth in their populations aged 65 years and over in the year ended 30 June 2012. The Northern Territory (8.9%), the Australian Capital Territory (6.3%), Western Australia (5.3%) and Queensland (5.1%) experienced the largest increases in the numbers of persons aged 65 years and over.
PERSONS AGED 85 YEARS AND OVER
Over the past two decades, this group increased by 160%, compared with a total population growth of 30% over the same period.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2012, the number of people aged 85 years and over increased by 20,400 people (5.1%) to reach 423,700. There were almost twice as many females (274,800) than males (149,000) in this age group which reflects the higher life expectancy for females.
In the year ended June 2012, the largest increases in the number of people aged 85 years and over occurred in the Northern Territory (10.2%), Australian Capital Territory (6.4%), followed by Western Australia (5.9%), Victoria (5.5%), New South Wales and South Australia (both 4.9%), Queensland (4.6%) and Tasmania (3.0%).
PERSONS AGED 100 YEARS AND OVER
Over the past two decades, the number of centenarians increased by 204%, reflecting an increase in life expectancy for both males and females during the period.
In the 12 months to 30 June 2012, the number of people aged 100 years and over increased by 430 people (14.1%) to reach 3,479. There were more than four times as many females (2,808) than males (671) in this age group which reflects the higher life expectancy for females.
The sex ratio relates to the number of males per 100 females in a population or sub population. The sex ratio at birth is approximately 106 males per 100 females. Higher male mortality rates at younger ages result in the ratio approaching 100 by the age of 33. Net Overseas Migration can also influence the sex ratio, especially in the younger working ages where there is often a greater proportion of male migrants. Above age 65, the sex ratio reduces markedly due to the impact of higher male mortality on this population group.
At 30 June 2012, the sex ratio of the total population for Australia was 98.9 males per 100 females. At age 0, the sex ratio for Australia in 2012 was 105.5 males per 100 females. This excess of males in the earlier years contrasts with the opposite situation in the older years and for the total population, which can be attributed to female longevity.
At 30 June 2012, the Northern Territory and Western Australia had 110.5 and 101.6 males per 100 females respectively. All other states and territories had lower ratios of males to females, as follows: Queensland 99.4; Tasmania 99.3; the Australian Capital Territory 99.0; New South Wales 98.4; South Australia 98.0; and Victoria 97.8.
Population ageing is a notable demographic characteristic of most developed countries and is related to sustained low fertility which results in proportionately fewer children. Population ageing is also caused by increasing life expectancy which results in proportionately more elderly people. In countries such as Japan, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Hong Kong, the number of people aged 65 years and over already exceeds the number of children aged 0-14 years. In Australia, based on the latest Series B population projections, the number of people aged 65 years and over is projected to exceed the number of children aged 0-14 years around the year 2025. For more information, see Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).
According to United Nations projections, all countries selected for analysis in the table below, titled 'Population Age Structure, International comparison of selected countries - at 30 June', except for Greece and Sweden, are projected to experience no change or decreases in the proportion of children aged 0-14 years in their populations between 2010 and 2015. In most of these countries, the decrease in children aged 0-14 years is projected to be accompanied by a similar decrease in the proportion of people aged 15-64 years. In contrast, an increase in the proportion of people aged 65 and over is projected in the selected group of countries. For example, Japan is projected to experience a proportional decline in its population aged 0-14 years and 15-64 years, and a large proportional increase in its population aged 65 years and over.
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics projections, the proportion of children 0-14 years in the Australian population is projected to decline by 0.3 percentage points between 2010 and 2015, from 18.9% to 18.6%, while the proportion of people aged 15-64 years is projected to decline by 1.5 percentage points, from 67.6% to 66.1%. In contrast, the proportion of people aged 65 years and over is projected to increase by 1.8 percentage points, from 13.5% to 15.3%.
In 2010, the age structure of Australia's population was similar to that of New Zealand and the United States of America. Generally, the European countries and Japan had smaller proportions of children and higher proportions of older people than Australia. In contrast, other countries in Asia tended to have proportionally more children and far fewer older people, generally reflecting higher fertility rates and lower life expectancies than those experienced in Australia.
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