Number 9: Australia's fertility rate: trends and issues
The Research FaCS Sheet series was produced by the former Department of Family and Community Services (the former FaCS). The aim of the series was to provide a brief overview of varied social policy research undertaken by FaCS staff or research undertaken in conjunction with external research bodies. The last Research FaCS Sheet was released in 2002.
Ageing of the population
In recent years, the ageing of the population has been of increasing concern to government and society. Most of this concern was about numerical ageing – the absolute increase in the number of older people. Concern both here in Australia and overseas focused on the sustainability of the retirement income, health and aged care systems given the increase in dependency ratios.
There has been a shift in public debate recently, as the importance of decline in the tax base to long-term system sustainability has led to recognition of the implications of structural ageing – which is primarily the result of falling fertility. As fertility falls, the proportion of the population at the younger ages decreases and the proportion at older ages increases.