Source: The Mercury, 15 January, 1997, p.5


Tassie counts wrinkles
as the nation matures

BY KATE HANNON in
Canberra

AS the age of Australians
continues to rise, Tasmania is
leading the way with one of the
oldest populations in the
nation.

   The median age now is 34 an
increase of 5.6 years on the
median age in 1976, according
to figures released yesterday by
the Australian Bureau of
Statistics.

South Australians lead the
nation in terms of age with a
median of 35.5 years, followed
by Tasmania at 34.6 years.

   The median age in other
states is New South Wales 34.4
years, Victoria 34.2 Queensland
33.3, Western Australia 33.2,
the ACT 30.9 and the Northern
Territory 28.5 years.

   New statistics also show the
number of children in Australia
has not increased significantly
in two decades.

   The number of children aged
less than 15 grew by only 3% in
the 20 years to June 1996 while
the number of people over 65
grew by 76% during the same
period.

   The bureau says declining
mortality and increased life
expectancy is continuing to
have a major impact on older
age groups.

   As a result, there now are
201,000 people over 85 in
Australia compared with 85,000
in 1976.

   There are twice as many
women as men in this age
group.

   In 1996, the number of
people aged over 85 increased
by 11,000, or 6%, well above
the national growth rate of
1.3% for the entire population.

   The number of people aged 65
and over increased by 2.4% in
the 12 months.

   South Australia had the
highest proportion of
population aged 65 and over
with, nearly 14%, followed by
Tasmania with 12.7%, NSW
12.5%, Victoria 12.4%,
Queensland 11.4%, WA 10.5%,
ACT 7.2% and NT 3.3%.

   The increase in the number of
people in this age group in
Tasmania last year was below
the national average of 2.4%.

   The state last year recorded a
decline in the number of
children aged up to 14 years
against a national increase of
0.4%.


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