Demographics of older Australians

The Australian population is ageing, with older Australians a growing proportion of the total population. In 2017, 15% of Australians (3.8 million) were aged 65 and over; this proportion is projected to grow steadily over the coming decades.

Growth in the proportion of older Australians is partly due to increasing life expectancy: in 2014–16, a 65-year-old man could expect to live another 20 years and a 65-year-old woman another 22 years—7 years longer for both sexes than in the mid-1960s. Overall, Australians now enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world. These increases in life expectancy have generally not come at the expense of reduced functioning or worsened general health (see Health and functioning).

This section presents an overview of the changing demographic characteristics of older Australians.

Over 1 in 7

Australians are aged 65 and over (15%)

Around half

of older Australians aged 65 and over are women

3 in 10

older Australians aged 65 and over were born overseas

*Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3) are geographical areas built by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for analysis of regional data. To find out more, see 1270.0.55.001 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016.