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Service age groups

This topic has been updated with 2016 Census data for all areas. What's this?

Australia had a similar proportion of pre-schoolers and a higher proportion of persons at post retirement age than Greater Capital Cities in 2016.

The Age Structure of Australia provides key insights into the level of demand for age based services and facilities such as child care. It is an indicator of Australia's residential role and function and how it is likely to change in the future.

Service age groups divide the population into age categories that reflect typical life-stages. They indicate the level of demand for services that target people at different stages in life and how that demand is changing.

To get a more complete picture Australia's Age Structure should be viewed in conjunction with Household Types and Dwelling Types.


Derived from the Census question:

'What is the person's date of birth or age?'

Age structure - Service age groups
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
Service age group (years)Number%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2011 to 2016
Babies and pre-schoolers (0 to 4)1,464,7766.36.41,420,9136.66.6+43,863
Primary schoolers (5 to 11)2,074,7268.98.81,895,4388.88.6+179,288
Secondary schoolers (12 to 17)1,668,5217.17.01,673,1587.87.5-4,637
Tertiary education and independence (18 to 24)2,144,9769.29.72,020,0489.410.0+124,928
Young workforce (25 to 34)3,368,45514.415.72,966,25513.815.0+402,200
Parents and homebuilders (35 to 49)4,726,38720.220.94,566,51621.221.7+159,871
Older workers and pre-retirees (50 to 59)2,977,87412.712.22,744,23812.812.3+233,636
Empty nesters and retirees (60 to 69)2,488,39310.69.62,125,2199.99.1+363,174
Seniors (70 to 84)2,000,9238.67.71,690,1987.97.2+310,725
Elderly aged (85 and over)486,8472.12.0402,7081.91.8+84,139
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2011 and 2016. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Please refer to specific data notes for more information

Dominant groups

Analysis of the service age groups of Australia in 2016 compared to Greater Capital Cities shows that there was a similar proportion of people in the younger age groups (0 to 17 years) and a higher proportion of people in the older age groups (60+ years).

Overall, 22.3% of the population was aged between 0 and 17, and 21.3% were aged 60 years and over, compared with 22.2% and 19.2% respectively for Greater Capital Cities.

The major differences between the age structure of Australia and Greater Capital Cities were:

  • A larger percentage of 'Empty nesters and retirees (60 to 69)' (10.6% compared to 9.6%)
  • A larger percentage of 'Seniors (70 to 84)' (8.6% compared to 7.7%)
  • A smaller percentage of 'Young workforce (25 to 34)' (14.4% compared to 15.7%)

Emerging groups

From 2011 to 2016, Australia's population increased by 1,897,187 people (8.8%). This represents an average annual population change of 1.71% per year over the period.

The largest changes in the age structure in this area between 2011 and 2016 were in the age groups:

  • Young workforce (25 to 34) (+402,200 people)
  • Empty nesters and retirees (60 to 69) (+363,174 people)
  • Seniors (70 to 84) (+310,725 people)
  • Older workers and pre-retirees (50 to 59) (+233,636 people)