There are approximately 3.8 million people over the age of 65 living in Australia, making up around 15 per cent of the overall population. Now, new data has revealed the breakdown of older Aussies, detailing the make-up of the growing demographic over the past 12 months.
The report, titled Older Australia at a Glance 2017, was compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and showed that three in 10 Aussies aged 65 and over were actually born overseas, whilst almost half of the age group are women.
And, while the number of over-65s currently doesn’t exceed 4 million, experts claim that by 2057 there will be more than 8.8 million older people in Australia, accounting for 22 per cent of the population, rising again to 12.8 million people (25 per cent) by 2097.
Last year, 57 per cent of older people were aged 65–74 (2.2 million), while one-third were aged 75–84 (1.2 million) and 13 per cent were aged 85 and over (497,000). However, it is predicted that by 2047 there will be just under 3.4 million people aged 65–74, though this represents a smaller proportion of all older people (45 per cent). People aged 75–84 will account for 35 per cent (2.6 million) of the population and 20 per cent of older Aussies will be aged 85 and over (1.5 million).
In 2017, over 1 in 7 people were aged 65 and over. Today's report provides an overview of this diverse and growing population group through a range of topics. These outline older people's demographic characteristics, health status, and service use. https://t.co/UfrxeGigYB
— AIHW (@aihw) September 10, 2018
As well as revealing how many over-65s were born overseas, the report also revealed that the majority of those (67 per cent) descended from Europe, while 16 per cent were born in Asia. The figures also show that two out of every 10 people aged 60-plus speak a language other than English, with the most common languages being Italian (spoken by 3 per cent) and Greek (2 per cent).
“Older Australians are a vital part of the economy through their continued engagement in the workforce and, post-retirement, through their incomes and assets,” the report reads, revealing that one in eight older people in Australia are still working – with the rate predicted to increase in coming years – while 20 per cent had volunteered within the last 12 months.
The research also showed that three quarters of Australians aged 65 and over own their own home, while fewer Aussies are relying on the government-funded Age Pension as their sole source of income. In June last year 2.5 million people received at least a partial age pension, representing 66 per cent of the age group, down from 75 per cent in 1997.
In contrast the study also revealed the shocking news that the number of older people becoming homeless has increased by a whopping 49 per cent over the last decade, as one in six (16 per cent) of all homeless people on Census night in 2016 were aged 55 or over—around 18,600 people.
On a positive note, seven in 10 Australians aged 65 years and over considered they had “good”, “very good” or “excellent health”, compared to 20 per cent, or one in five, who reported experiencing disability in the form of a “severe or profound core activity limitation” – meaning they cannot communicate, are not able to get around or can no longer care for themselves.