Making Sense of the Census

Many of us can recall the great Census debacle of 2016. The data has now been released and commentators from all sides are trying to work out what it says about Australia. Or at least what it says about those households that did actually manage to fill out the 2016 census.

The key points are unsurprising for anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last 20 years. The population has grown by almost 2 million in the last 5 years. We are more ethnically diverse. Our incomes are up (well, at least some of them are anyway). Fewer of us own homes. And, unsurprisingly, we're getting older.

One in six Australians is now over the age of 65, compared to one in seven in 2011. Tasmania is our 'greyest' state with nearly one in five people over 65. 2.1 per cent of Australians are over the age of 85, up from 1.9 per cent in 2011.

These figures are consistent with expectations, but what isn't consistent or acceptable is the lack of policies that reflect this reality.

You would think that with an ageing population, we would see an increase in funding of public health services and more affordable aged care.

You would think that we would be seeing a concerted effort to protect the growing number of older Australians facing homelessness. Not to mention investment in better and more accessible public transport.

It's high time that all levels of Government ready the nest for our ageing population. But it seems that it will take a little more than this census data to get the ball rolling.