Ageing boomers invert pyramid

The age dependency ratio is expected to double by the middle of the century, according to the latest figures from the ABS.

New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal the full extent of the ageing population over the next 50 years.

Under all three scenarios in the Social Trends report the age pyramid will become increasingly top-heavy.

By 2056, it is expected that close to a quarter of Australia’s population will be aged 65 and over, compared to just 13 per cent in 2007.

And the proportion of people ‘old old’ people aged 85 and over is going to increase dramatically as well. It is projected to jump from 1.6 per cent to between 4.9 and 7.3 per cent.

As a result the old age dependency ratio will double from 20 per cent in 2007 to between 38 and 42 per cent in 2056.

“Put another way,” the report said, “for each older person in 2007, there were five working-age people, while in 2056 there will be less than three working-age people for every older person.”

Ageing population expert, Professor Graeme Hugo from the University of Adelaide, said the projections came as no surprise, given the shape of the current population.

“There are a large number of baby boomers that are going to age through into those older age groups in coming years,” he said.

“In this world there are very few things that are certain but one thing that is certain is the age growth of that group and that will certainly mean increased demand for industries like aged care.”

The rate of population ageing is projected to accelerate markedly in the short to medium term and then ease off before the middle of the century.

“We are going to go through this period of rapid growth and it will be well into the 2030s before the baby boomers work their way through the age pyramid,” Professor Hugo said.

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