Rise in number of older immigrants expected

The number of older Australians (65 years and over) who are immigrants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is expected to increase by 66% over a 15-year period, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The corresponding increase for the Australian-born population is projected to be 23%.

Projections of Older Immigrants: people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds 1996-2026, Australia shows there were 393,000 older immigrants from these backgrounds in Australia in 1996-18% of the total number of older Australians. In 2011, this number is expected to increase to 654,000 people, or nearly one-quarter of the total older Australian population.

Head of the AIHW's Aged Care Unit, Dr Diane Gibson, said that not only would this population of older immigrants increase more rapidly in the next decade and beyond, it will also age more rapidly.

'In 1996, about 16% of the 65 and over immigrant population from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds were aged 80 and over. This compares with 23% for the Australian-born.

'By 2011 the age profiles of the two groups will be very similar-the respective figures will be 26% and 28% of the two older populations being aged 80 and over.'

The report shows that Italians formed the largest group of older immigrants from a culturally and linguistically diverse background living in Australia in 1996 (81,000). People born in Poland formed the second largest group (27,800), followed by Germany (27,600), Greece (26,800), the Netherlands (25,300), China (18,000) and India (10,900).

Italians are still expected to be the largest group in 2011, with a projected 117,600 living in Australia. People born in Greece will form the second largest group (70,200), followed by Germany (43,700), the Netherlands (37,500) and China (28,300).

Other findings in Projections of Older Immigrants include:

  • The Australian Capital Territory had the most diverse older population in 1996-people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds made up almost 24.8% of its older population. Victoria (23.1%), the Northern Territory (20.3%) and Western Australia (19.6%) also had higher than average proportions. Both New South Wales and South Australia were very similar to the national average (17.7% and 17.8% respectively). Queensland (10.4%) and Tasmania (7.3%) were well below the national average.
  • Victoria will have the most diverse older population in 2011-immigrants from a culturally and linguistically diverse background are expected to make up about 1 in 3 of the State's older population.

The Projections of Older Immigrants report was commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

15 June 2001


Further information:
Dr Diane Gibson, 02 6244 1190; mobile 0407 012 520
Media copies of the report: Publications Officer, tel. 02 6244 1032