Sydney at 5 million and the growth of The Hills Shire

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sydney has now officially hit a new population milestone of 5 million, and almost half of the population (2.2 million) reside in the 14 local government areas that make up Western Sydney of which The Hills is one.

If Western Sydney was a city in its own right, it would be the 4th largest city in Australia after Melbourne, the rest of Sydney, and Brisbane. While Western Sydney is just slightly smaller than Brisbane’s population of 2.3 million, it is growing 30% faster than Brisbane.

The population of The Hills is greater than the population of Darwin, and the two local government areas of Blacktown and The Hills have a combined population almost the same size as the entire state of Tasmania. This growth is evident in the increasing development seen around the Hills. The increasing urbanisation has raised the density of The Hills to 4.15 people per hectare, above Hornsby Shire’s 3.69 and well above Hawkesbury’s 0.24.

What differs the hills to the rest of Sydney?

The Hills Shire is now almost 10% larger than that recorded in the 2011 Census. Not only is the Hills population growing faster than the national growth rate, but the average household is significantly larger than the Australian average (3.1 compared to 2.6 people per household) and the district is home to a higher proportion of students, university educated adults and full time workers than both the national and state averages. The region is more culturally diverse with 3 in 5 residents having at least one parent born overseas compared to less than half of Australians nationally. The proportion of school-age children locally is 20% higher than the Sydney average, and those in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are similarly well above the greater-Sydney average.

Age gap in the Hills Shire

There is a hole in the Hills’ demographic, a 15-year gap in the numbers of locals aged 23 to 38. This missing group, neatly lining up with Generation Y, is a staggering 20% smaller than is average across the rest of Sydney. In fact, while there has been an increase in numbers of almost every age group over the 5 years between the last two Census reports, for the mid 20’s to mid-30’s there has actually been a decrease in numbers.

Entrepreneurial hotspot

The Sydney Hills is also an entrepreneurial hotspot, with 32,191 actively trading local businesses. So while the local population represents less than 0.7% of Australia, the number of businesses is more than twice this share at 1.5% of all Australian businesses. And with the new transport infrastructure, commercial constructions and emerging urban centres, the number of new business start-ups in the Hills will only grow.

The future of the Hills Shire

The future for the Hills will include more pockets of urbanisation which will create options for those looking for apartment living, walkable communities and a café culture. However, the size and diversity of the area will mean that the suburban and semi-rural nature of other parts will remain and the overall density will never reach the highs of local government areas like Parramatta which currently has 27.48 people per hectare. Not too many parts of Australia offer high-density living options just 10 minutes’ drive from acreage. Little wonder The Hills is one of the fastest growing regions in NSW.

Mark McCrindle will present the results of the 2017 Hills Business PSI, the third year of this study this Friday at the Sydney Hills Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Lunch at which the Premier will deliver the keynote address.

If you would like a copy of the full Hills PSI Report please let us know and we will make it available after Friday’s launch.

Changing Face of Sydney Transport

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

From high above, aerial images show Sydney un-earthed. These before and after images detail the changing face of Sydney’s suburbs. Major progress is being made on key Sydney infrastructure projects as the city prepares for ongoing population growth.

 Before After 

Sydney’s growing population

Sydney reached 5 million at the end of June 2016. While it took almost 30 years (1971 – 2000) for Sydney's population to increase from 3 million to 4 million people, it took only another 16 years to reach its next million. 

Growing by 83,000 people every 12 months (at 1.7%, above the national average of 1.4%), the city needs infrastructure to keep pace with this population growth.

NSW projections show that NSW will grow to 9.9 million people by 2036. Sydney is two-thirds of this number, so will reach 6.5 million in the next 20 years, and 8 million by 2050.

How we commute to work in Sydney

Almost 2 in 3 Australian commuters get to work by private car (65.5%, up from 65.3% 5 years ago) with just 1 in 10 relying on public transport. The 2011 Census showed that 58% of Sydneysiders commute to work by car, 9% by train, 5% by bus, and a further 4% walked. 

Social researcher Eliane Miles notes, "Sydney-siders are spending a significant amount of time moving each day. While the average work trip for a Sydneysider is around 35 minutes, for many Sydneysiders the journey to work takes much longer. Commuters in Sydney's outer suburbs are often spending five times this length (up to 2.5 hours) per trip each way. Sydney is investing more in infrastructure than other world cities of comparable population size, and it is critical that investment in both roads and public transport options continues." 

You can watch the full story on Nine News here

About Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the megatrends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth to social trends such as changing household structures, to generational change and the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

To have Eliane speak at your next event, feel free to contact Kimberley Linco on 02 8824 3422 or

Download Eliane’s professional speakers pack here

Religion, Churchgoing and Easter

Friday, April 14, 2017

Each year Easter provides an opportunity for Australians to not just consume copious amounts of chocolate but also to reflect on the Christian meaning of this national holiday.

The rise of “No religion”

A decade ago, Australians selecting “No religion” in the Census ranked third, at 18.7%, after Catholic (25.8%) and Anglican (18.7%). By 2011, No religion rose by 4.5% points to 22.3%, overtaking Anglican (which had fallen slightly to 17.1%), though still ranked second after Catholic (down to 25.3%).

If this trend has continued, the Census 2016 results (to be released on 27 June) will be the first in Australia’s history to record No religion larger than any other religious grouping.

In the 2011 Census, only three of Australia’s eight states and territories had Catholic as the most dominant religion (NSW, Victoria and Queensland) while for the rest of the country, No religion was the most dominant. Based on the trends over the last decade, it is likely that in the 2016 results NSW will remain the only state or territory where No religion is not the most common worldview.

Christian religion, total: 61%

When all of the Christian denominations are combined, the 2011 Census results record this at 61%, down from 64% in 2006.

Christian, not just spiritual, total: 44%

In our Faith and Belief in Australia study, which will be launched in May, the results show that when Australians are given the option of selecting “spiritual but not any main religion” (an option not available in the Census) the total Christianity numbers drop to 44%.

I consider myself a Christian, total: 38%

When the religious identity question is personalised to the statement “I consider myself a Christian”, 38% of Australians agree.

Regular churchgoer, total: 14.5%

Of Australians who identify their religion as Christianity, 22% attend church weekly, with an additional 11% attending fortnightly or monthly. Regular church attendees, defined as those who attend church at least once per month, comprise in total 14.5% of the adult population.

How many Australians will attend church this Easter?

It is reasonable to predict that most of the quarterly and annual churchgoers will attend church at some point over Easter, along with the regular churchgoers. In total, this is 50% of Australians identifying with the Christian religion- or 22% of all adults. Therefore, Easter church services nationally will see around 3.9 million adults in attendance.

Census Update - In the media

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Australian Census has been conducted every 5 years since 1911, and is the biggest democratic activity in Australia. While the election last year counted 14 million votes, the 2016 Census includes every household, age group, resident and visitor – all 24 million of us.

Here’s everything you need to know about the preliminary Census results, painting a picture of our changing nation.


The typical Australian is a 38 year-old Gen X woman, born in 1979, who can expect to live past the age of 85. She is married with two children and lives in one of Australia’s capital city (like 3 in 5 Australians), which is worth $825,980 and which she owns with a mortgage. She has $427,847 equity in their home, which is the bulk of her wealth. She works full-time and gets to work by car, along with 69% of all commuters.


We are ageing

The median age of Australians has increased from 37 to 38 (from the 2011 to the 2016 Census). Queensland has shown a strong leap in ageing (from 36 to 38), as has the Northern Territory (from a median age of 31 in 2011 to 34 in 2016).

We are culturally diverse

Three states (NSW, VIC, and WA) now feature their ‘typical’ resident as a person who has at least one parent born overseas. In NSW, China is now the top country of birth for residents born overseas and in VIC the top country for residents born overseas is India.

Owning a home outright is not as common anymore

The typical person across all of the states and territories now no longer owns a home outright, but with a mortgage. Only NSW and TAS feature the typical person who owns a home outright, and in the NT, the typical person is renting their home.

McCrindle In the media

Mark McCrindle on The Daily Edition

Eliane Miles on SBS News

Mark McCrindle on Seven News

McCrindle In the media

Latest Census Results: The 'Typical Aussie'

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

As demographers and social researchers there are a few calendar events that cause for celebration. Among them include population milestones, special data set releases and, of course, the Census.

The preliminary results from the 2016 Census, released this morning, show a picture of a changing Australia. 

We now have a clearer picture of the ‘typical’ Australian

The typical Australian is a 38 year-old Gen X woman, born in 1979, who can expect to live past the age of 85. She is married with two children and lives in one of Australia’s capital city (like 3 in 5 Australians), which is worth $825,980 and which she owns with a mortgage. She has $427,847 equity in their home, which is the bulk of her wealth. She works full-time and gets to work by car, along with 69% of all commuters.

We also have a picture of a changing Australia

Evidence of an ageing Australia

The median age of Australians has increased from 37 to 38 (from the 2011 to the 2016 Census). Queensland has shown a strong leap in ageing (from 36 to 38), as has the Northern Territory (from a median age of 31 in 2011 to 34 in 2016). The median age is varied across Australia, with the youngest median age found in the NT (34) while the oldest median age is found in Tasmania (42).

Cultural Diversity – Growth in non-Anglo country of birth

  • Three states (NSW, VIC, and WA) now feature their ‘typical’ resident as a person who has at least one parent born overseas.
  • In NSW: China is now the top country of birth for residents born overseas, surpassing England since the 2011 Census.
  • In VIC: The top country for residents born overseas is India, which has surpassed England since the 2011 Census. A decade ago (2006) the top countries of birth for residents born overseas didn’t include India (They were England, Italy, New Zealand and Vietnam).

Housing affordability and home ownership

The typical person across all of the states and territories now no longer owns a home outright, but with a mortgage. Only NSW and TAS feature the typical person who owns a home outright, and in the NT, the typical person is renting their home.

Was #censusfail real?

No – despite some hiccups on 9 August 2016, the numbers show that the data is robust and up to the best-practice quality of previous census'.

  • 96% of Australians completed the Census (just slightly lower than in 2011, and higher than the required 93% for census quality data).
  • Just 11,000 refused to fill out the Census (lower than 13,000 who refused in 2011).
  • 58% completed the Census online (against an expected 65%) – yet this is twice the number from 2011

What's next?

Today's snapshot is just the start of the Census data release. On June 27, the official Census datasets will be released, with further data coming out in July, October and the final data to be released in early 2018.

The good news is that after discussions to relegate the Census to every ten years, the once-every-five-year Census is here to stay..
So it will all be on again on Tuesday 10 August 2021!

For any media enquiries please contact Kimberley Linco at, or call our offices on +61 2 8824 3422.

McCrindle Australian Small Business Champion Award Winner

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Australian Small Business Champion Award 

Over the weekend, we were honored to be announced as the winners of the 2017 Professional Services Small Business Award.

The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is a prestigious and comprehensive program that supports and recognises small businesses across Australia.

Offering a unique opportunity to highlight Australia's most outstanding small businesses, the awards seek to recognise the hard work that business owners contribute to the local community in generating employment for millions of Australians, as well as their contribution to the Australian economy.

Our Team Leader of Accounts, Geoff Brailey and his wife Krystol represented the McCrindle team at the black-tie gala dinner on Saturday 1st April 2017 at the Westin, where the winners were announced.

Industry award for our client, Filtered Media

We were also delighted to hear that our client Filtered Media recently won an industry award for the use of Insights in PR for the Dare to Dream Campaign we assisted with for the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

We were delighted to conduct this new research into Australia’s financial hopes and fears for the future. The visualised report, released in time for Financial Planning Week 2016, showed that one in two of us dream more about our future now than we did five years ago. View the full report here. 

About McCrindle

At McCrindle, we pride ourselves on the professional and innovative services that we provide to our clients. Our team is comprised of research and communications specialists who are innovative thinkers and solutions focused. As professionals in the fields of research, sociology, demography, communications, design and data visualisation, our team acts as an advisory to assist organisations in strategic planning, consumer insights, community engagement and effective communication.

We love what we do, and it was a privilege to be acknowledged as a finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards alongside some other excellent businesses in Australia, and for our insights for Filtered Media to be recognised as well.

Click here to find out more about the research and communications based professional services we provide. If we can be of assistance in any of these areas, please get in touch with us at

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