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3201.0 - Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, Jun 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/1999   
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MEDIA RELEASE

December 16, 1999
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)
148/99

Fewer babies, longer lives: Australia by age and sex

Australia's population is ageing because of sustained levels of low fertility and increased life expectancy which have resulted in proportionally fewer children in the population, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. The number of Australian children aged 0–4 years fell by 0.8% (or 10,200) in the 12 months to June 1999, further continuing the decline which began in 1996.

In contrast the number of people aged 85 years and over increased by 7.4% or 16,700 people over the same period. The population as a whole grew by 1.3% in the year to June 1999 compared to 1.1% in the preceding year.

The median age of the Australian population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) has increased by almost six years over the last twenty years, from 29 in June 1979 to 35 years in June 1999.

South Australia has the oldest population of all the States and Territories (37 years) at June 1999, followed by Tasmania (36 years), New South Wales (35 years), Victoria (35 years), Queensland (34 years), Western Australia (34 years) and the Australian Capital Territory (32 years). The Northern Territory has the youngest population in Australia (29 years).

The age structure of Australia's population in 1999 is closest to that of Canada and the United States. Generally, European countries, Japan and Hong Kong have older populations than Australia. In contrast, countries from the Asian regions have younger populations comprising proportionally more children and far fewer older people.

Further details can be found in Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories (cat. no. 3201.0) available in all ABS bookshops. A summary of the main findings are also available on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online services to link to the main findings. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.

If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication telephone 02 6252 5249.

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