Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

40 is the new 20:

The Australian population just keeps getting older and living longer - and 40 really is the new 20.
By Motherpedia
Date: February 13 2013
Editor Rating:

As the first of the baby boomers turn 65 this year, the phenomenon of population ageing continues in earnest.

Presenting at a recent conference, Senior Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Rafal Chomik, told the audience Australia is well on the way to our average median age being 40.

“At Federation, Australia was a youthful country with an average age of 22,” Mr Chomik said.

“This year, the average age of Australians is 37 and by 2050, it will be 42. Each year, the median age in Australia is increasing by one and a half months.”

Analysis of the 2011 Census reveals that Australia is at a cross-roads: for the first time, there are more people who are aged 60 and above than those aged 14 and below.

“In the 2006 census, 18% of the Australian population was over 60, while 19.8% were children aged 14 and under. In 2011, this reversed for the first time with 19.3% under 14 and 19.6% over 60,” Mr Chomik said.

“These changing proportions demonstrate the demographic shift and the phenomenon we know as population ageing.

“The trend will see a reduction in the ratio of working age people to older non-working Australians,” he said.

Australia is not alone is facing this global phenomenon, which is affecting how the provision of pensions, health care and aged care. By 2050, Japan will have an average age of 52.

“Recent analysis reveals that our investment in superannuation sees us comparatively well placed internationally to meet the demands of population ageing,” Mr Chomik said.

“Australian public spending on pensions, though increasing, is expected to remain third lowest in the OECD.

“The Replacement Rate (the amount of income in retirement compared with income during working age) for an average earner with a full career is estimated to be around 60 percent – higher for someone on less than average earnings.

The most recent data from the superannuation industry suggests that a couple looking to achieve a ‘comfortable’ retirement will need $56,339 a year in December 2012 dollars, while $32,555 a year will provide a ‘modest’ retirement lifestyle.

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