A decade of Australian transformation

Monday, September 14, 2015

Only occasionally in history do massive demographic changes combine with huge social shifts, ongoing generational transitions and unprecedented technological innovation so that within the span of a decade society altogether alters. Australia is currently in the midst of one such transformation.

Constant change can sometimes lead to change fatigue where the response can be to become worried about change, or equally negatively it can lead to change apathy which can create an indifference to change. However by understanding the emerging trends, we can be more prepared for the changes and so rather than becoming defensive or blasé we can confidently respond to the shifts and so remain ever-relevant.

5 Megatrends Reshaping Australia:


While Australia’s population growth rate has recently slowed, we are still adding more than a million people every 3 years. Australia’s largest city, Sydney will also be the first Australian city to hit 5 million (by the end of 2016) however it is our second largest city, Melbourne which is growing the fastest and will take Sydney’s title in 2053 with both cities expected to reach a population of 8 million in 2055. In fact Melbourne is growing by more people every 5 days than the state of Tasmania adds in an entire year (1,400). Our third and fourth ranked cities will also change order over the next decades with Perth’s rate of growth set to see it overtake Brisbane in 2029 when they both reach a population of 3 million. While only these 4 cities currently exceed 2 million people, Adelaide will join the 2 million club but not until 2055, almost a century after Sydney reached this milestone in 1959.


This population growth is leading to more densified living. While 3 in 4 households currently live in a detached home, almost half of all new housing approvals are in the unit, apartment or townhouse category. Australia’s communities are undergoing significant transformation from the horizontal suburbs to the growth of these vertical communities, and as people rent more, move more frequently, and transition across more communities than ever before. The average renter in Australia stays just 1.8 years per abode and even those who have bought a home are not putting their roots down deeply and staying for several decades like their parents did. Those with a mortgage stay on average just 8 years before they sell. While this growth, density and mobility is evident in the capital cities and larger coastal cities, Australia’s top 30 cities now include many inland regional cities that have a growth rate exceeding that of some of the capitals. It is the tree change and not just the sea change that rising capital city house prices is currently facilitating.


Cultural diversity is foundational to Australia- part of the DNA of our communities. More than 1 in 4 Australians was born overseas and almost half of all households (46%) have at least one parent born overseas. And our population mix is now more connected to our region with the top 7 countries of birth of Australians born overseas shifting in three decades from mainly European countries to now include China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. There remains a deep affection for the traditional Aussie qualities of mateship, ironic humour and the larrikin spirit alongside the richness of our lifestyle which comes through the input of so many cultures. In a nation of world cities and global connectivity, gone is the cultural cringe, replaced with an international perspective that looks out not in.


Three decades ago Australia’s average age had only just moved out of the 20’s to reach 30, today it exceeds 37 and in three more decades it will be 40. This ageing population though is a good news story- it means we are living longer, and consequently active later and able to work later in life than was previously the norm. In the last generation, Australians have added an average decade to their life expectancy at birth. Along with the ageing population goes an ageing workforce- which means that there are more generations in the workforce than ever before and leading teams in diverse times requires better people skills to bridge more gaps than ever before.


Australia’s generations of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are now sharing the leadership and workforce roles with the emerging Generations Y and Z. These new generations, born and shaped in the late 20th Century are increasingly becoming lifelong learners, multi-career workers with a focus on work-life balance, participative leadership models and a more varied job description. Along with this, the next generation of technology has, in less than a decade, transformed almost every area of business and consumer interactions. How we shop, where we get information from, when we connect and where we work from have all been fundamentally changed in this Wi-Fi-enabled, device-driven, app-based, social media-influenced decade. While it is self-evident that every business, product or idea is just one generation away from extinction, such is the speed of change today, we are now just a decade or perhaps a few years away from this point. While such change impacts us all, those who understand the trends can drive the change and shape the future.


Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations.

Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, The Morning Show, ABC News 24 and A Current Affair.

His research firm counts amongst its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and his highly valued reports and infographics have developed his regard as a data scientist, demographer, futurist and social commentator.


Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


fears Word Up Queensland Wodonga New Zeland mother's day pharmacies households emerging technologies Real Estate Institute of Victoria Sydney increasing densification social lives property selfie debate sunburnt country rent collaborative Royals cars Gen Y environmental scanning group in depth interviews leadership workshop university 2015 sydneysiders PSI insight poker master ashley mckenzie weather small business non profit faux-ciliser Duchess of Cambridge Population Clock parents shbc politics jobs of the future sector wide study Wagga Wagga NSW house price research population 24 million technology Do It Yourself conference speaker bureau January 26th housing affordability follow urban not for profit urban taskforce divorce rate entrepreneurs of today church huffington post Northern Territory post rationalism customer sustainable wealth generational trends university degree australians staying home more schools students young australians plans socialites mccrindle research students home ownership careers daily telegraph aged care puzzle office opening national private wealth baby boom shopping mythbusting media commentary Australia Day cost of living quote cash offenders Christmas season pyrmont click Love gen alpha relevant goals financial fears global financial crisis the changing face of learning styles cooking ideas Northern Beaches Christian School Australian Families capital city youth education research authenticity REIV Conference relational motivate renter of the future trends of 2017 investing state 2020 income food weekly earnings business google teacher investment logan digital networking mateship wealth and income speakers demographer education future vegemite community trend responsive marrickville culture investor woolworths property price conference presentation event System's Architect wealth and income distribution wage sports intern interactive proactive urban living qualitative research dessert Australian schools suburbs anzac Australian Communities Trends royal family finance Tuesday Trend career Social Trend sector wide new office fresh learning Australian Dream cancelling plans commute mining boom hills shire high density apartments dream shopper's pick easy rider collaboration builders high density living New Zealand couple Scouts storytelling engage social researchers financial independence hopes eliane high density mccrindle in the media geomapping social enquiry mentor townhouses Assistant Store Manager office space life area entrepreneur families Real Estate easter ease of travel case study financial average aussie media optus australian communities trends report consumer Education Future Forum millennials kate middleton household communicate HSC report royal influence princess charlotte study school satisfaction resource award victoria national wealth teach wealth distribution training pharmacy Melbourne Research Executive baby name cloudy days focus groups local communities ethnography mobile Myth research data faux-cilising energy daily commute Christmas lunch domestic retirement conference society tattoos cancelling event Tasmania South Australia product researcher future of work EFF social change learner growing population Australian demographics healthy future divorce narcissism paying to work workplace monarchy work-life royal baby SMSF 1994 Kirsten Brewer schools TAS Australian Bureau of Statistics in the media house Res Vis New South Wales GPO jobs waverton 24,000,000 coffee 2013 brand experience brands bondi market research public speaking ACF 2016 deloitte participants Queensland: QLD social life engagement infographic wall experience insights supply and demand suburb mythbusters futurist middle class Northern beaches Event staff ACT wellbeing education sector government rich VIC rental stress cancel plans population growth work mates litter teachers know the times research visualisation winter youth unemployment criminal wedding high school keynote community event housing growth annual income priorities baby boomers land of the middle class office Charlotte trends analyst graphs Australian Home 2014 friendship baby IT Specialists transport Western Australia internships emerging generations outsourcing CBD identity Aussie dreaming medicine tea norwest Mark McCrindle staying in DESTEL 23 million WA hobart online shopping Tuesday Trends property market social issues group session optus my business awards long weekend data economic sun Kiwi faux-cilise nfp demographic Channel 7 poor social researcher Gen X friends social social media vegetarian survey dare to dream workshop program communications Australian Census spend menai stay home volunteers Christchurch affordable optimistic student Netflix baby name predictions generation acf15 internship clothing goal generations research pack father's day 40 million Generation Y statistics royal 1980 sentiments meals "know the times" typical australian trends innovative ashley fell states socialising presentations ultimo megatrends employers survey design twentyseventeen australian social research leadership future Financial Planning Association of Australia Australians trends of 2016 data analyst online mccrindle community engagement residents wolloomooloo mccrindle tea facts Generation X hornsby FPA TDE holidays safe NT The Daily Edition marriage owning a home Sydney keynote speaker greatness public holiday Channel Seven happiness The ABC of XYZ apartment sydney speaker conferences census sector 2016 change housing trends family potts point thrive Births organisations gender FOMO capital cities communication names brand snapshot define REIV National Conference australian communities forum 1968 house price rise media release demographic transformations urban living index year 7 entrepreneurial Adelaide marketing wages blaxland Aussies professional publication society trends city aussie culture contiki Financial Planning Week personal growth personalities internet curiosity rule keeper rising house prices seasons moderators guide visual water summer men repayments google for education neutral bay forecasting alpha stats future-proof trend tuesday educated future proof social analysis earnings millionth entertainment challenge world youth day resilience February 16 newspaper parenting ACF McCrindle Speakers unemployment mortgage global generations communities holiday skills national crime rates ipswich education Caregiver 1975 DIY Australian Trends cost cultural diversity tv Australia Day 2017 rain unaffordable Geoff Brailey etiquette teleworking perth Financial Planning Association affordability video balance results Hornsby Shire Council sunny days meetings crows nest living celebration child care women christmas 2017 professional speaker brisbane tips budget demographics millenials school winter blues panel lalor park going out cold research services toys workplace culture media activity ageing population environment slideshare social shifts hello fresh house prices earn gen z renting mover and shaker emerging trends grandparents generation Z SA cartodb social research new york times financial dreams leader recap data visualisation future proofing Bathburst moreton bay real population map growth charity sydney event Valentine’s Day focus group not-for-profit baby name trends home Crime Rates housing market suburban living visualisation ABS business index forecast keynote speaker social commentator low density Engineering Manager thought leadership English crime darwin baby names shifts religion school students workforce financial future gold coast innovation equip learn manly travelling consumerism overcast social impact JOMO NEETs young people australia travel future of education World Water Day Australian communities Northern Beaches Territory education future report organisational culture educhat population milestone lifestyle debt global rise of local housing local presentation work world social trends sydneycity home owner 2012 Deaths Christmas presents christianity year 12 tableau economy tertiary education employment ageing prince george forum events omnibus Merry Christmas social commentary earning aged care analysis marriages Canberra professional development language salary the australian dream generation alpha teaching village eliane miles tuesday demographic trends infographic buildings list Wellington 10 years children news