The evolving disparities in location and socioeconomics of an ageing Australian society

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OBJECTIVES: It is well known that there are associations between overall health, age, socioeconomic status and rural residency. The objective of this study was to determine the distribution of Australia's aged population by socioeconomic status, as well as remoteness.

METHODS: The study employed the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (Statistical Area Level 1 and Remoteness Areas). The database of the geographic boundaries was integrated into the ageing population and socioeconomic data using the Geographic Information System. The socioeconomic data was analysed through the Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage.

RESULTS: Over a decade, the older population in Australia has increased noticeably. In 2016, there was a high percentage of older people (≥65 years) in Tasmania (Tas), 19%, while the lowest percentage was recorded in the Northern Territory (NT), 7%. Across the country, Tasmania had the highest percentage of older citizens living in the most disadvantaged areas since 2006, with 48% recorded in 2016. There was an association between the remoteness areas and the education and income levels of the ageing cohort. However, this association differed between the states and territories. This socioeconomic gap becomes more evident in the very remote areas of the country.

CONCLUSIONS: The ageing population in Australia is increasing rapidly; this was associated with an evolving socioeconomic disparity among this ageing society. Our results demonstrated that socioeconomic inequalities were to be found among the older people based on their distribution over the remoteness areas in Australia. This information should be used to target healthcare and ageing policies that meet the specific needs of older people.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2022


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