Australia Then and Now: 30 Years of Change

Saturday, January 25, 2014
Australia Then and Now McCrindle

Click here to download the infographic.

Australia is a nation in transition. In the span of a generation, Australia’s population has increased by more than half. Demographically we are ageing, with an average age 7 years older than it was 3 decades ago, but with a life expectancy 7 years greater than it was in 1984.

Our growing population is being achieved not only through this increased longevity, but also through record births- more than 300,000 per year. This is more than 25% higher than the peak of the original post-war baby boom. Yet as significant as this natural increase is, the largest source of our population grow immigration, with significant shifts in the Top 5 countries of birth. In 1984, the Top 5 countries of arrival were all European (and New Zealand) while today both China and India are in the Top 5 with Vietnam and the Philippines not far behind.

While the population has increased by 51% since 1984, the workforce has increased by 81%. Three decades ago the average full time worker took home just under $19,000 per year in a time when the average house price was less than $150,000. Today annual earnings exceed $73,000 with the average house price in most capital cities exceeding $520,000. From an employment perspective, the Australian workforce has transitioned from industrial in 1984 to professional today. The largest industries by workforce were all industrial in 1984 while today professional, scientific, technical, IT and the financial sectors make up the biggest employers along with mining and utilities.

In 1984 almost 2 in 3 Australians were married while today less than half are. And the “never married” proportion has increased from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3. From a religious perspective, Christianity is still the religion of more than 3 in 5 Australians, down from 3 in 4 in 1984. Meanwhile the “no religion” proportion has doubled and the “religion other than Christianity” numbers have increased from 265,600 to 1.68 million today.

In addition to these demographic changes, the shifts in our national identity are significant. Certainly the old affections run deep however there is a recognition of Australia as a cultural hub, a technology exporter, a fashion destination, a small business nation and a nation hosting iconic events.

It seems that Australians are comfortable in their own skin- embracing of this sunburnt country with all its iconic landmarks, yet proud of the cultural achievements and our diverse cities. There’s an understated confidence that welcomes the world to this unique landscape, yet has the posture to proudly list off our cultural achievements.

There is a depth to our reflections on 21st Century Australia. The iconic language and Australiana is retained and reinterpreted with a new sophistication, and without the cringe. Our cultural identity is also being interpreted beyond the beach or sport. Multiculturalism has come of age in Australia. You can tell because there is little self consciousness and even less tokenism expressed. Rather the cultural mix is in our national DNA, it’s part of our lifestyle- it’s who we are. The fact that more than 1 in 4 of us weren’t born here seems unremarkable- as though it has always been thus. Many comments celebrated the richness of our lifestyle that comes through the input of so many cultures.

Amidst massive national and global change, the Aussie spirit is alive and growing in the 21st Century. What it means to be Australian has morphed to meet the challenges and diversity of our changing times. Australians hold strongly to an identity and “Aussie values” yet these are more sophisticated and mature, and represent our place in a world of global interactions.

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


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