Dawning of a New Age?: The Extent, Causes and Consequences of Aging in Australia

SPRC Discussion Paper No. 75

47 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 1998

See all articles by Peter Saunders

Peter Saunders

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC)

Date Written: December 1996

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the extent of the aging of the population in Australia and reviews the evidence and debates that have emerged over the extent of aging and its consequences for social policy. After a brief historical account of aging in Australia, the methods used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to project future population movements are described, and the latest series of ABS projections are summarized. Particular attention is devoted to the debate over the impact of immigration on aging, and it is argued that the attention devoted to this contrasts with the relative neglect of several other important aspects of the issue. The paper then discusses in some depth the debate over the implications of aging for social expenditure, drawing on recent work undertaken by the Economic Planning Advisory Commission (EPAC) and the National Commission of Audit. It is argued that the expenditure projections underlying this work are simplistic and fail to take account of the dynamic aspects of aging and what these imply for the overall economic and social fabric of an aging society. After providing a few illustrations of how Australian social policy has been responding to aging, the paper finishes by providing some case study evidence which illustrates the kinds of difficulties encountered by those Australians who are trying to cope with the problems of old age.

JEL Classification: H51, H53

Suggested Citation

Saunders, Peter, Dawning of a New Age?: The Extent, Causes and Consequences of Aging in Australia (December 1996). SPRC Discussion Paper No. 75. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=36838 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.36838

Peter Saunders (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
612 9385 7810 (Phone)
61 2 9385 1049 ext. 1049 (Fax)

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