Melbourne’s population growth and the challenges for cemeteries

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Australia’s population is growing. We are currently experiencing a baby boom, with births exceeding 300,000 a year. But we are also ageing. 30 years ago, the over 65s made up just 11% of our population. Today they make up 15% of our population, and in a decades time this cohort will make up 18% of our population.

Australia’s growing and ageing population means that the increase in deaths is growing even faster than the population growth rate. Within a decade there will be 100,000 more deaths in Australia each year (232,000) than we had each year, just a decade ago (132,000).

Melbourne is currently the fastest growing city in Australia with a population growth rate of 1.9%. By the middle of this century it will overtake Sydney to be Australia’s largest city when it will also be the city with the highest annual deaths. A decade ago, Melbourne saw around 25,000 deaths per year but in a decade this number will be almost 45,000 each year- a massive increase.

When it comes to arranging a funeral, our research shows that cost is the biggest influencer – even above religion, culture and family traditions. That is why 2 in 3 Australians now have a preference for cremations, but 1 in 3 are still be opting for burial. So even with the increasing trend towards cremations, there will still be more people being buried in 10 years’ time than we had 10 years ago.

References: Deaths Australia (ABS), McCrindle Research Deaths and Funerals in Australia

About Ashley Fell

Ashley Fell is a social researcher, trends analyst and Team Leader of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms, content creation and event management, Ashley is well positioned to advise how to achieve cut-through in these message-saturated times. Her expertise is in training and equipping leaders and teams on how to communicate across generational barriers.

With academic qualifications in communications and experience in leading the communications strategy at McCrindle, Ashley brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting.

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

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