© 2015 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc. In an increasingly urbanised and ageing world the spatial distribution of an older population is a matter of growing scholarly and policy interest. Much of the research on this topic has tended to draw on one of two key measures: structural ageing, or the ratio of older cohorts to the rest of the population, or numeric ageing, which simply counts the number of older people without reference to the rest of the population. This paper argues that, on their own, these measures have limitations, and that considerable value lies in assessing the interplay between numeric and structural ageing measures. The population ageing matrix, a theoretical framework that classifies the demographic dynamics of population ageing across metropolitan areas, is presented and examined through the case study of Perth, Western Australia. The value of the matrix to reveal patterns and trends missed by analyses of single measures is investigated and areas that are experiencing changes in the composition and size of the ageing demographic are identified. The paper also reflects on the implications of these findings for policy and planning.