In 2005 Japan had the highest median age of all countries in the world, while Australia's population was only moderately aged. Some 50 years ago the demographic situation was quite different, with the median age of Australia's population being seven years older than Japan's. The ageing of the population is a major issue for Australian policy makers, particularly in regard to the long-term implications for reduced economic growth and the increasing demand for age pensions, and health and aged care services. As the population ages, growth in the number of people of working age will slow, while the proportion of people of retirement age will increase. Sustained population ageing also leads to slowing or negative population growth. While declining population growth in developed countries is welcomed by some environmentalist and social scientists, economists tend to agree that population decline brings gloomy economic prospects. In addition to the decrease in the labour supply, the demand side of the economy may be affected through shrinking markets for goods and services. How quickly this occurs depends on the dynamics of fertility, mortality and overseas migration. While a moderate pace of demographic change allows for gradual adjustment of the economy and policies to the changing population demographics, rapid changes are more difficult to manage. As a result, governments and society as a whole may need to take actions to address these issues. But how severe is the ageing of Australia's population, relative to other countries?
Ageing population, which is a major concern for Australian policy maker, implies decreased economic growth and greater demand for age pensions and other related industries as well as slowing or negative population growth, but how quickly this can occur depends on the dynamics of fertility, morality and overseas migration, suggesting that governments and society should take actions to address these issues. (61 words)