Source: The Mercury, 29 January, 1994, p.8


Aussies living
for longer,
ABS says

The average Australian is
continuing to live longer, 
with women outlasting men 
by almost two to one.

Figures released yester-
day by the Australian 
Bureau of Statistics show 
the median age increased 
by 5 1/2 years since 1971 
to 33 years.

It has risen by 1.9 years 
since 1986 and 0.3 years 
since last year.

There has been almost no 
growth in the number of 
children as a percentage 
of the population and a 
43 per cent jump in the 
number of people at work-
ing age.

But the big growth age 
continues to be the over 
65s, with numbers increas-
ing a massive 89 per cent.

Declining mortality rates 
and the resulting growth 
in life expectancy is con-
tinuing to swell the ranks 
of the older generation.

There are now 426,300 
people over the age of 80 
compared with 188,800 in 
1971 - a rise of 126 per 
cent. Women outnumber men 
in this age group by almost 
two to one, with 281,100 
females and 145,200 males.

The figures highlight prob-
lems for discussion in a 
report on Australia's aging 
society to be released by the 
Economic Planning Advisory 
Council next week.

The report is expected to 
outline the massive blow-out 
in health costs facing Aust-
ralia in the next decade 
caused by too many people 
living longer.

Sensitive issues such as with-
drawing medical treatment for 
terminally ill elderly people 
and hospital staff making 
patients fully aware of the 
cost of any treatment are 
expected to be canvassed by 
the paper.

More than half of all Austra-
lians are now either in younger 
(under 14) or older (over 65) 
dependency age groups.


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