NCLS Research

Population and Age Structure

See Pages 12 and 13 of your
Community Social Profile

Explore the population and age of your community, in your CSP. You can Share it with others, Engage it with reflective questions, Dig Deeper into background research and national trends or Apply it to your setting with worksheets and workshops. Choose an option to suit you.

Download your CSP and share
Churches can download a copy of their CSP, using their Admin Key on the NCLS website. The pdf file can be saved, emailed, uploaded, or a selection of pages can be printed from it.

Screen shots for power point and newsletters
Using a pdf version of your CSP, you can use the “Take a Snapshot” edit function in Adobe Acrobat Reader, to copy a section and paste it into a document or a power point presentation.

Questions to ask about your Community’s Population Structure (p. 12-13 of your CSP)
• Are there more or less people living in your local community than 5 years ago? Why do you think this is so?
• Does it seem to you that your community is ageing or becoming younger?
• Is there a connection between the age profile of your local community and what is happening in the life of your church?
• Are there more females than males in your community? How does your percentage of males and females compare to the rest of Australia?
• If you consider your church attenders, how do they compare to your local neighbourhood in age and gender balance?
• How might the life and mission of your church be affected by this information?

Prepare a report on your CSP
You might like to use the questions above or Worksheet 5 in your Workbook to summarise key points to share with others in your church or community.

About Population Structure
The first section in the Detailed Review of your Community Social Profile shows the number of people who live in your local community. It also gives a breakdown by gender and a clear picture of the age structure of your local community.

Total Population
If there has been substantial growth or decline in the number of total persons, it is important to understand what is driving this change and the possible implications for community life.
If there has been an increase in the population, does your community have sufficient services, such as schools, child care, community development programs and so on? What is in place to assist new arrivals to integrate? What impact has the inflow of new arrivals had on those who have been established long-term? Has this growth changed the age structure of the community markedly?

For those communities experiencing a decline in numbers, the implications may be very different. It may be that industries have changed and the associated workforce has shifted. In rural areas, young people may be moving away. Or it could be that the community is ageing overall with fewer young families arriving in the area.

The number and proportion of males and females in your community is also shown. the population was made up of 49.8% males and 50.2% females in June 2011*.  Do you have a gender imbalance in your community? If so, why might this be? For example, areas with older age profiles may have higher proportions of women. Some communities that have a high prevalence of certain industries may have more men present.

*Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2011, Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2011, Catalogue Number 3235.0

The age profile often differs greatly from one community to another. Many age profile graphs will have two peaks, representing high concentrations of parents and their children. Some new housing estates contain very high proportions of young children and 30 to 39 year olds (young couples with children) and a scarcity of people aged over 60 years. The same double-peak pattern may exist in older established suburbs but be ten years older. The age profiles of many rural communities may show a dip in the proportion of teenagers and young adults, as young people move to the cities for education and employment.

Things to look for
In your Community Social Profile, identify where the highs and lows are on your community’s age graph. Are they as you would expect?

The table tells you the actual count or number of people in each five-year age group as well as the proportion of the community they represent. What is this telling you? Does the ‘change column’ suggest any trends and if so, what do you think the next 5 years may hold? Look at the ‘distinctiveness arrows’ - what age groupings are higher or lower that the average? What does this suggest to you. Looking at the maps, are the old and the young clustered in any obvious way?

National trends
The Australian population is ageing. This has been a constant trend over the last few decades and is expected to continue. In 2006, 13.3% of the population were aged 65 years or more*. By 2011 this had increased to 13.7% of the population**. In contrast, the proportion of 0–14 year olds decreased from 19.3% to 18.8% over the same period***. The median age in Australia remained stable at 37 years in 2006 and 2011****.

* Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2006, Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, Jun 2006: Catalogue Number 3201.0
** Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2011, Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2011; Catalogue Number 3101.0
***Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2006, Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, Jun 2006: Catalogue Number 3201.0
and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2011, Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2011; Catalogue Number 3101.0
**** Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2013, Australian Social Trends, April 2013; Catalogue Number 4102.0 and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2006, 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Media Releases and Fact Sheets, 2006; Catalogue Number 2914.0.55.002

See the Community Social Profile Guide for more information, including Technical Notes and how to understand Tables, Maps and Graphs.

Tip sheets- how to use the CSP to inform children’s, youth and seniors ministry
•  Download Children’s Ministry Tip Sheet
•  Download Youth Ministry Tip Sheet
•  Download Seniors Ministry Tip Sheet

Workshop processes to walk through your CSP
There are a variety of Workshop Processes in your Workbook to plan effective ways to improve your connections to the wider community.

Worksheets  for use
A selection of Worksheets are available in your Workbook to use alongside your CSP, to look at your community, chart connections and apply the information.

The CSP, Workbook and Guide can be accessed online by those churches who purchase their Community Connections Pack. Enter your Admin Key under "Administer Your Church". Your Admin Key was included on the cover letter in your Pack.

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