This paper investigates how the declining proportion of younger people and increasing proportion of older people in the population has reduced past crime levels and should reduce future crime levels.
Official crime statistics suggest that young people aged 24 years and under make the greatest contribution to a population’s overall crime levels. A decline in the proportion of the population aged 24 years or under should therefore reduce the population’s crime levels. Yet the impact of structural ageing—the shift in population age structure from ‘young’ to ‘old’—in Australia is ‘one frequently overlooked influence on long-term crime trends’. This paper is one of two AIC publications that investigates the impact of structural ageing on crime patterns. A case study of the South Australian population is provided; a state where the relevant data was available to investigate how the declining proportion of younger people and increasing proportion of older people in the population has reduced past crime levels and should reduce future crime levels. While the South Australian population is ageing at a greater rate than some other jurisdictions, this paper has national relevance as the populations in all states and territories are ageing to some degree and as this occurs, the impact on crime levels should be evident throughout Australia.