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3311.8 - Demography, Australian Capital Territory, 1998  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/12/1999   
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MEDIA RELEASE

December 14, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
143/1999

ACT men living longer

According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today, males in the ACT have the longest life expectancy of all States and Territories (77.5 years) while female life expectancy (81.6 years) is only marginally below the longest life expectancy of Western Australia (81.9 years) in 1996-98.

Although the national median population age (35 years) was higher than the ACT, the population is ageing, with a median age in 1998 of 32 years (compared to 29 years in 1988). The population of the ACT at December 1998 was 308,400. It grew by 1,150 people over the calendar year despite a net loss of 2,000 residents to other States and Territories.

For the sixth consecutive year ACT women had the lowest fertility rate of all States and Territories at 1.56 babies per woman. This is below the national level of 1.76 babies and below the average 2.1 babies needed per woman for population replacement.

Women in the ACT are having their babies later than women Australia-wide, with fertility rates peaking in the 30-34 years age group, compared to 25-29 years nationally.

The major causes of death in the ACT in 1998 were malignant neoplasms (30% of all deaths) and ischaemic heart disease (17% of all deaths).

For the first time in the ACT 1998 saw more marriages performed by civil celebrants (866) than by ministers of religion (826). Australia-wide, 49.5% of marriages were performed by civil celebrants, while 50.5% were performed by ministers of religion. The median age at marriage continues to increase, being 29.8 years for grooms and 27.6 years for brides in 1998.

In the ACT, 72% of marriages involved parties who indicated the same usual address before marriage compared to 67% of marriages Australia-wide.

The median duration from marriage to divorce was 12.1 years in the ACT compared to 11.2 years Australia-wide. Around 5% of couples who divorced in the ACT in 1998 had separated within the first year of marriage. However most separations (28%) occurred within one to four years of marriage. Wives remained the main applicants for divorce in the ACT, however, joint applications have become more common in the last decade, increasing from 13% to 22%.

Details can be found in Demography, Australian Capital Territory (cat. no. 3311.8) which is available from ABS Bookshops. The main features of the publication are available from this site. The ABS encourages media with online services to link to the main features. Please phone us if you need help to do this.

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