NewsAre You A Typical Older Australian?

Are You A Typical Older Australian?

The Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing has just released it’s latest report into older Australians - have a look below and see how you compare. Their definition of “older” for the purpose of the survey is people over 65…

In 2016, approximately 3.7 million people (15% of Australia’s total population) were aged 65 and over.

The stats show we’re healthy, financially in a good place and the number of us engaging in the work force past 65 is rising.

On the downside, there is clearly work to be done in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex arena and for our ADF veterans.

The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Ageing and Aged Care Strategy addresses the need for change in aged care services, to promote equitable access to high-quality aged care for all people who identify as LGBTI.

Our diversity reflects our different life experiences and lifestyles and these factors all influence the ageing process. So let’s take a look...

The older Australian population is growing

In 2016, 15% of the Australian population (3.7 million) were aged 65 and over. The proportion of older Australians is expected to grow—to 22% (8.7 million) by 2056 and to 24% (12.8 million) by 2096.

Most older Australians are not using aged care services

During 2014–15, 2 in 3 (67%) older Australians (2.4 million) did not use aged care services.

Most older Australians have healthy lifestyles

In 2014–15, most people aged 65 and over reported very low levels of smoking (93% not current smokers), 41% reported being sufficiently active during the preceding week, and more than half (51%) were fully vaccinated.

Most older Australians own their own home

In 2013–14, 76% of older Australians owned their own home.

More older Australians are engaged in the workforce

In 2015, 453,000 people aged 65 and over (13% of older Australians) were engaged in paid employment—increasing from 5% in 1990.

The Ageing Profile

In 2016, there were 3.7 million Australians aged 65 and over - by 2096, 12.8 million people will be aged 65 years and over.

As Australia's population ages, its age profile is also projected to change. In 2016, half of Australia's older people (57%) were aged 65–74, one-third were aged 74–84 and 13% were aged 85 and over.

Like many developed countries, Australia has a high median age: a relatively large proportion of its population is aged 65 and over. In 2015, the median age in Australia was 37.4—slightly lower than that in the United Kingdom (40.0) and Canada (40.6).


No surprises when it comes to who lives longer. Women are living longer than men and the older you get, the greater the gap.

In 2016, approximately half of all people aged 65–74 (51%) and 75–84 (54%) were women. This rose to 63% for people aged 85 and over.


25% of people aged 65 and over in 2011 were born in a non-English speaking country and a further 11% of older people were born in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The most common non-English speaking countries of birth for older people were Italy (4%), Greece, New Zealand and Germany (approximately 2% each). Italian was the most common non-English language spoken at home by people aged 65 and over in 2011, then Greek and Chinese.

Geographic distribution

Australia can be broadly divided into these regional classifications:  Major citiesInner regionalOuter regional, Remote and Very remote. In 2014, 66% of older people lived in Major cities, 32% in Inner regional and Outer regional areas and less than 1%  in Remote or Very Remote areas.

The most populous states have the largest share of older people, with 33% of all people aged 65 and over in 2016 living in New South Wales and 24% in Victoria. The proportions varied across the other jurisdictions: people aged 65 and over made up 18% of Tasmania's population, followed by South Australia (17%), Queensland (14%) and the Australian Capital Territory (12%). Notably, just 7% of the Northern Territory's population was aged 65 and over, reflecting its larger Indigenous population.  

In some local government areas-especially coastal areas-older Australians represent up to one-third of the population. Seven (7) of the 10 regions with the highest proportions of people aged 65 and over in 2014 were located on the coast. The Mid North Coast in New South Wales was the region with the largest proportion of people aged 65 and over, followed by the Southern Highlands of NSW, the NSW South Coast.

Next is the Wide Bay area of QLD (essentially the Sunshine Coast) and then South Australia.


As we commemorate ANZAC Day this week it’s worthy to look at our veteran numbers.

At December 2015, more than 240,000 people aged 65 and over were receiving a DVA pension (which included service pensions, disability pensions and war widow pensions). People aged 65 and over made up 80% of all DVA pension recipients.

The main health issues claimed by veterans include hearing loss, post-traumatic stress disordertinnitus, alcohol dependence and abuse, and solar keratosis.

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Are You A Typical Older Australian?

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Frances from VIC commented:

Yes I am over 65 and still working, will be 67 this year, not looking forward to retiring as there wasn't any superannuation when I was young so will have to go to Centrelink. I actually hate the thought of relying on the government and having less money coming in every fortnight. My husband died young so have been single widow for 36 years So I will keep working at my demanding job lucky I do enjoy it. 

Anonymous from WA commented:

What, are there any people over 65 in WA? WA is still part of Australia. Forgotten about once again. I know lots of people over 65 in WA. including me and my husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Anonymous from WA commented:

They might have to check the figures in the geographical distribution. The percentage of over 65's living in the different states adds up to 125 percent? And that doesn't include Western Australia where it seems no one over 65 lives? Not sure how good the other figures are! 

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