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Australia is experiencing a new demographic phenomenon with citizens now enjoying the fourth longest life expectancy in the world - and a major shift in the number of people living to be more than 100.
Currently, there are 2,860 Australians over the age of 100 and that is expected to explode to 78,000 by 2055.
While it is difficult to verify and for privacy reasons, the oldest Australian is believed to be a 112 year-old woman who lives in Victoria. She is now among the 40 oldest people in the world. (source: The Gerontology Research Group.)
She is part of another ageing phenomenon known as the "super centenarians" – those who are over 110. She is currently Australia’s only validated super-centenarian.
The 2006 Census reported that there were 96 people over the age of 110.
"This is exciting news," the Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliott referring to information from the Policy and Evaluation Branch of the Department of Health and Ageing.
"That means by 2055, we will more people over the age of 100 than live in the NSW coastal city of Port Macquarie, which has 62,000 residents.
"Only the Japanese, Swiss and Icelanders are living longer than Australians.
"People used to joke that 45 was the 'new' 30 – but today with record numbers of Australians reaching 100 - 100 is now becoming the new 75.
"Australians are living longer because of advances in medicine and active lifestyles.
"We are now seeing baby boomers begin to retire; they are changing ageing in forever. They are healthy, active and want to live at home as long as possible.
"An ageing population creates so many opportunities; we can learn so much from the wisdom, knowledge and experience of older Australians.
"At the moment, the average age of a person in residential aged care is 82 and most older Australians live independently in their own homes."
There are 2,870 accredited aged care facilities with 167,070 aged care beds.
Currently, there are 2.7 million Australians aged 65 and over. Within 40 years the number of people aged over 65 will almost triple, from 2.8 million today to around 7.2 million in 2047, or from around 13 per cent of the population today to over 25 per cent.
Official Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that people 100 years and over is:
2005 - 2,055
2007 - 2,860; and
2055 - 78,000.
The most current State breakdown of people aged 100 years and over – is as follows:
AUSTRALIA 2 860
While there is still a gap between the life expectancy of indigenous people, the ABS reports that there are 1,116 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 85 years.
Life expectancy at birth in 2005
|2005 || Life expectancy at birth|