Australia has an aging population, particularly in regional areas.
This is not better demonstrated than in the table below from CoreLogic. It shows the top 50 council regions that have the highest percentage of Australians aged 65 years and older, the current cutoff to receive the old age pension, at least until July 2017.
As you look down the list, you may notice a common trend — there’s not one council from a capital city, they’re all from regional centres, and small ones at that.
“Interestingly, we found that very few of the council areas in our top 50 list hold a large overall population, only 7 of the 50 listed council areas had a total population of more than 20,000 persons,” said Cameron Kusher, research analyst at CoreLogic.
He also notes that so-called sea change locations, such as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in Queensland, are also absent from the list, suggesting that “these areas have now grown to become much more than just locations for retirees”.
As at June 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that there were 3,569,020 million Australians aged 65 years or older, equivalent to 15% of Australia’s total population.
Looking further ahead, that number is expected to swell even further with Australians currently aged 50-64 totaling 4,294,625, or 18.1% of the population.
With life expectancy also increasing, Kusher believes that the list is extremely valuable for governments in terms of future infrastructure investment.
“Of particular note, and of concern for state and federal government, is that as Australia’s population ages, there will be a greater requirement for healthcare and associated services, especially given that approximately 4 million additional persons will reach 65 years of age over the next 15 years,” he says.
“As people retire, a proportion will look to move away from capital cities and to lifestyle areas such as those listed within the table. Catering to their desires and ensuring that there are sufficient local amenities for an ageing population will be vital.”
Just one of the challenges facing government right now, including how to fund it.