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The changing face of the Australian population: growth in centenarians

Robyn L Richmond
Med J Aust 2008; 188 (12): 720-723.

Summary

  • At the time of the 2006 Census, there were 3154 centenarians in Australia, 797 men (25%) and 2357 women (75%). This number is expected to increase to 12 000 by 2020.

  • In Australia we are experiencing a demographic transition in which the proportions of people in the oldest age groups are increasing while the proportions in the youngest age groups are decreasing.

  • Centenarians are the fastest growing age segment of the Australian population. Their numbers have increased by 8.5% per year over the past 25 years. In 2006, they represented 0.12% (3154/2 644 469) of the population aged 65 years and over.

  • More than half of centenarians live in private dwellings, with 27% of men and 14% of women living on their own.

  • Government policies are starting to address the issues of an ageing population, including provisions for financial support, improved access to medical services, and appropriate housing and transport facilities. However, we need specific social, medical and financial estimates of the impact of living to 100 years and beyond.

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  • Robyn L Richmond

  • School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: r.richmond@unsw.edu.au

Competing interests:

None identified.

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