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Young adults call capital cities home

28 August 2020 by News Desk

Adults aged 20 to 49 years accounted for just under half (45 per cent) of the population living in Australia’s capital cities in 2019, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Outside of the capitals, they made up just over a third (36 per cent).

ABS Director of Demography Lauren Ford said this higher concentration of younger adults in Australia capital cities could be seen in all states and territories.

“It was most evident in New South Wales and Victoria, with the proportions of people aged 20 to 49 years in Sydney and Melbourne more than 10 percentage points higher than in their regional areas.

“The difference was smallest in the Northern Territory, where 49 per cent of Darwin residents were aged 20 to 49 years compared with 46 per cent of those living outside of the capital.”

In contrast, older adults aged 50 years and over accounted for a larger proportion (39 per cent) of people living outside of capital cities compared with 31 per cent of those living within them.

Key statistics

The median age for capital cities (36.0 years) was younger than the rest of Australia (41.2).

The oldest capital was Hobart with a median age of 39.6 years, while Darwin was the youngest (34.3).
Darwin was the only capital with more males than females.

The median age is defined as the age at which half the population is older and half is younger.

The sex ratio is defined as the number of males per 100 females.

Any reference to capital city refers to Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA), and any reference to area refers to Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2).

Capital cities

People aged 20 to 49 years made up 45% of the combined capital city population, compared with 36% of the population in the rest of Australia.

People aged 50 years and over made up a smaller proportion of the population in capital cities (31%) than in the rest of Australia (39%).

In both capital cities and the rest of Australia, there were higher proportions of females than males in the older age groups.

Median age and sex ratio

Hobart had the oldest median age of all capital cities at 39.6 years, ahead of Adelaide at 38.8.

Darwin was the youngest capital city with a median age of 34.3, followed by Canberra at 35.4.

Adelaide had the lowest sex ratio of all capital cities (96.7 males per 100 females), while Darwin had the highest (109.9).

Regions Median age

The areas with the oldest median ages were all popular retirement destinations on the coast including:

Tea Gardens – Hawks Nest (63.0 years) and Tuncurry (61.2) in New South Wales

Bribie Island and Cooloola (both 60.6) in Queensland

The areas with the youngest median ages were:

Acton (21.9 years) and Duntroon (22.6) in the Australian Capital Territory, which had large populations of students or military personnel

Yarrabah (22.8) and Northern Peninsula (23.4) in Queensland, which had high proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Sex ratio

The areas with the highest sex ratios were:

Howard Springs (306.2 males per 100 females) in Darwin and Wacol (250.2) in Ipswich, which both contain correctional centres for men

East Pilbara (289.5) and Ashburton (243.2) in Western Australia, which are areas with significant mining activity
The areas with the lowest sex ratios were:

Deakin (80.8 males per 100 females) in the Australian Capital Territory which contains a boarding school for girls
Woollahra (81.0) in Sydney and Bowral (84.1) in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, which both have older age profiles and reflect the longer life expectancy of females

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