Box 16a: Numerical Ageing (annual increment)
The accompanying figure illustrates 'numerical ageing' - the absolute increase in the number of elderly - shown here in terms of the annual increment at age 65+. These numbers are now rising rapidly. In the year 2008, Tasmania will have around 1,783 more people aged 65+ years than it did in 2007. In each of 2009, 2010 and 2011 it will have between 2,200 and 2,300 more than in the previous year. In 2012, as the baby boomers begin to file past age 65, the annual increment will leap to 3,586, and it will remain around 3,000 additional 65+ year olds every year until approximately 2026, after which the annual increase will slowly subside.
Importantly there is minimal difference between ABS projection Series in these numbers and their rate of increase. It is thus critical that Tasmania's policy makers immediately prepare for these increases. Many pronouncements on the topic of population ageing imply that its impact will not 'hit' for another few decades. It is correct that peak numbers will not be encountered for a few years (Box 16b), but as the data indicate, it is the sharp upward trend that has to be climbed first, and that trend is already upon us.