We always hear about the ageing population and the impact it will have on the economy over the coming years. This week we look at the council areas with the highest proportions of their population aged 65 years or greater.

Based on recently released data to June 2015, there were 3,569,020 Australian aged 65 years or older which was equivalent to 15.0% of the total population.  To put this in context, a higher 18.8% of the national population was aged 15 years of age or under.  Looking at the population aged 50-64 years of age, 18.1% of the population or 4,294,625 persons are set to reach 65 years of age over the next 15 years.  Of course some will pass away between now and then but nevertheless a large number of people will reach at least 65 years of age over the next 15 years.

50 Council regions nationally with the highest proportion of
persons 65 years or older and median house and unit values as at June 2015


Looking across the individual states and territories, the proportion of the total population aged at or over 65 years of age in June 2015 was: 18.7% in NSW, 18.3% in Vic, 19.8% in Qld, 17.6% in SA, 19.2% in WA, 18.2% in Tas, 22.1% in NT and 18.9% in ACT.  Despite Qld, WA and NT being the 3 states and territories with the highest proportion of residents 65 years or older, zero council regions from Qld or NT are listed on the top 50 list and only 3 regions from WA are listed.

Victor Harbor, located approximately 80km south of Adelaide, has the highest proportion of residents aged 65 years of age or older.  More than 1 in 3 local residents in Victor Harbor (37.9%) are at least 65 years of age.  Queenscliffe, adjacent to Geelong in Victoria, has the nation’s second highest proportion or residents aged 65 years of age or older at 35.3%.    

Not one of the top 50 regions listed is situated within a capital city area.  Given this, the regions listed are typically either coastal or regional townships.  Interestingly, very few of these council areas have a large overall population, only 7 of the 50 listed council areas had a total population of more than 20,000 persons.    Areas that many people think of as retirement hotspots such as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Cairns and the Surf Coast of Vic do not appear on the list indicating that these areas have become much more than just locations for retirees.

The insight highlighted within the data is valuable, particularly for local governments.  As populations’ age there is a requirement for a greater level of healthcare especially when you consider approximately 4 million additional persons will reach 65 years of age over the next 15 years.  As these 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.