Source: The Mercury, 20 January 1995, p. 7


Life goes on and on for
nation's population

By COLIN CHUNG
in Canberra

AUSTRALIA'S population
continues to grow older with
the average age increasing
by almost six years in the
past two decades.

  Bureau of Statistics fig-
ures released yesterday
found there had been little
growth in the number of
children (0.5 per cent) but
the number of people aged
over 85 had risen almost 140
per cent.

  People aged between 15
and 64 increased by 36 per
cent and those aged 65 and
over rose 79 per cent for the
20-year period.

  It has resulted in the me-
dian age in Australia rising
by 5.6 years from 27.8 in
1974 to 33.4 last year.

  The median age in 1993
was 33 years.

  The bureau said declining
death rates and increased
life expectancy were having
a major impact on older age
groups.

  "There are now 182,000
persons aged 85 years and
over in the population com-
pared with 76,500 20 years
ago, an increase of 138 per
cent," it said.

  "There are more than
twice as many females as
males in this age group
[127,900 compared to
54,100].

  "During the financial year
1993-94 it is estimated that
this age group increased by
10,600 persons or 6 per cent,
well above the 1 per cent
growth rate for the Aus-
tralian population."

  Increases above the na-
tional average were recorded
in the Northern Territory 5.7
per cent, ACT 4.2 per cent,
Queensland 3.8 per cent, and
Western Australia 2.9 per
cent.

  NSW 2.3 per cent, Victoria
2.1 per cent, South Australia
1.9 per cent and Tasmania
1.8 per cent had increases
below the national average.

  The ABS said the number
of children (up to 14 years) in
Australia had remained
steady.

  Queensland experienced
the most significant growth
last year of 1.8 per cent
followed by the Northern
Territory 1.1 per cent, West-
ern Australia 0.6 per cent
0.5 per cent in NSW, and 0.2
per cent in South Australia.


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