Demographic Myths - Busted!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

To assist in separating the opinions and conjecture from statistical reality, we've set out to do some myth-busting! From “the rise of childlessness”, “regional Australia in decline” and “the man drought” to “marriage out of favour” and “refugee arrivals driving population growth”, social analyst and demographer Mark McCrindle reveals the facts. Download the full Social Analysis here.

McCrindle Research Demographic Myths Busted Blog Article 2012

Myth 1: A growing percentage of women remaining childless

While Australia's crude birth rate has declined over the years, this is not because a greater proportion of women are remaining childless. Smaller families are now more common; for example, of women aged 60-64, 55% had three or more children compared to just 34% of women aged in their forties. Women in their forties were instead most likely to have fewer than three children.

Myth 2: Regional Australia is in decline

Actually the inner-regional areas of Australia (as distinct from the more remote regions) are growing as fast as our major cities (1.5%). The fastest growth rates in Australia are actually in regional centres and areas such asLake Macquarie north of Sydney, or Shoalhaven on the South Coast, Mandurah and Exmouth in Western Australia and Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in Queensland all grew faster than their respective capitals.

Myth 3: There's a 'man drought' in Australia

When looking at the gender ratio across the entire population, the 99.2 males per 100 females appears to indicate a gender disparity, or “man drought”. However from birth there is anything but a man drought with 105 males are born for every 100 females in Australia.

Myth 4: The institution of marriage is out of favour

While the crude marriage rate has fallen from 5.4 over the last two decades, there are actually more marriages today than ever before, exceeding 121,000 per annum. And the marriage rate of some age groups is actually increasing: 30-34 females are now more likely to marry than ever before. Marriages are also lasting longer, with the average length of a marriage (that ends in divorce) now lasting 12.5 years (up from 10.2 in 1990). While thetotal number of remarriages has been declining constantly for more than 20 years (now around 25,000 per year), the number of first time marriages has been consistently increasing over this period and now exceeds 95,000 per year. Furthermore, the crude divorce rate is down, currently sitting at 2.3 from 2.5 in 1990.

Click here to see the latest data in infographic form on marriages in Australia. 

Read the full Social Analysis here.

Future Forum Breakfast Series promo video [ EVENT ]

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

In just half a decade our society has been transformed. Five years ago we had no smartphones, the iPad wasn't around, Twitter and Facebook were just starting up, the global financial crisis was not even predicted, and Australia's population was still at 20 million.

To help you Know the Times, McCrindle Research are delighted to bring you our acclaimed Future Forum as a Breakfast Series. These three events will be held at The Tea Room in QVB, Sydney CBD.

Check out our promotional video below and register now online or contact us at the office on FREECALL 1800 TRENDS (1800 873 637).

2007 to 2012: The major economic, political, technological & generational transitions

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A word from Mark McCrindle: Australia has been transformed in the space of half a decade. Below is a snapshot of just of few of the massive transitions we have seen.

Economically: There was no GFC even visible on the horizon and households were more aspirational than value-conscious in their focus.

Politically: Australia looks very different compared to 5 years ago. Not only have we seen a shift from the coalition to Labor federally, but at this time in 2007 100% of states and territories were under Labor governments. Today it’s just 12%.

Technologically: Five years ago there were no iPhones in Australia, no iPads, no apps and no Androids. Facebook was still behind MySpace (the biggest social networking site of the time) and Twitter was only just emerging. Smart phones, social media and cloud computing were virtually unknown. Today Facebook has over 900 million users, while Twitter has 140 million.

Generationally: Most of the talk centred on Generation Y – who were at that stage the bulk of high school students and starting work. These days Generation Z comprises all school students, the emerging consumer segments, and even some new employees starting their careers. More information on Gen Z here.

McCrindle Research is about to hold its Future Forum Breakfast series, designed to give you the heads up on what the next half decade will hold. More information here.

Australian income & wealth distribution

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

There are currently 9 million households in Australia, and if looking at the the disposable income of Aussie families, as well as the net worth of each Australian household - we've noticed quite the divide!

Watch Mark McCrindle as he unpacks this further in the video below. We've also created an easily downloadable infographic for you to use or distribute.

Australian income and wealth distribution McCrindle Research ABS 2012

Click here for the image in higher resolution.

If you're interested in finding more about the state of Australian households and other indicators of our nation - all this and more will be explored in our upcoming Future Forum breakfast seminars.


ANZAC DAY supported by more than 9 in 10 Australians!

Monday, April 23, 2012

While there has been recent discussion about the role of Anzac Day in culturally diverse 21st Century, Australians emphatically support it. A national survey by McCrindle Research, completed by more than 1000 Australians shows that 95% still support setting aside a day to remember this part of our history.

The study found nearly half (49%) fully support Anzac day, 22% strongly support, and further quarter (23%) somewhat or slightly support it. Just 6% strongly agreed that Anzac Day is not relevant to a multicultural Australia (while 11% agreed), yet almost 14 times as many (83%) agreed that it unites people from all backgrounds due to the freedoms gained through the sacrifice of people from all cultures.   

Director of McCrindle Research, Mark McCrindle, said, “In our era of fast change and non-stop innovation, Australians have a yearning for something significant, solid and solemn.  Anzac Day is one of the few dates in our calendar that gives us ceremony, tradition and time for reflection. Australians recognise that the timeless qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice are worthy of remembrance and are key to our national identity.” 

Supporting this, 95% of Australians agreed to some extent with the statement, “The spirit of Anzac Day (with its human qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice) continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.” Over 3 in 5 strongly agreed with this statement (63%). 

Australians see Anzac Day as a time to reflect on freedom more than anything else. 95% agreed to some extent that it is an important day to remember and honour those who have and still do fight to defend our country and freedoms, and while 7% feel strongly that Anzac Day commemorates violence and glorifies war, 53% feel strongly that it does not. Indeed 82% in total disagree with the “glorifies war” view. 

There was also a significant knowledge of Anzac Day with 57% able to fill out the ANZAC acronym unprompted. However while 25 April was officially proclaimed in 1916, just 12% of respondents could correctly place this, with a quarter (25%) having no idea and 1 in 6 (16%) believing that it began after WW2. 

Despite being hazy on some of the facts, Australians are clear that they value Anzac Day and support it” stated social analyst Mark McCrindle. “There is a recognition that change is not the same as improvement and sometimes advancement is best achieved by looking back and reflecting, not just looking forward and innovating.

The Heart of Australia: Tracking the centre of our population

Friday, April 20, 2012

Did you know that Australia has a Centre of Population...and that it’s on the move?

Recently, Mark McCrindle wrote about the Centre of Population, which marks the location that is the shortest distance to every person in Australia. 

To see his post, click here.

Future Forum: Breakfast Series

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We're delighted to bring our acclaimed Future Forums to breakfast format covering need-to-know topics over a fantastic Tea Room breakfast and all provided at a can't-say-no price. Places are limited - sold on a first come basis. Bring your team, get a table. Click here to register!

Breakfast One: Australia at 23 million - A demographic and social snapshot Friday 25 May 2012

The National Barometer 2012
Demographic projections and challenges
The declining equality of wealth distribution
Markers of healthy communities
Drivers of population growth
Changing household types and trends
Cultural diversity trends
Redefined age, transformed lifestages

Breakfast Two: 21st Century Customers - Engaging with the emerging global consumers Friday 24 August 2012 

From Boomers and Xers to Gen Y and Z
Understanding niche: An analysis of micro segments
Consumerography: A snapshot of today's key customers
Macro customer segments
Emerging drivers of consumer behaviour
Innovative research methods for the new generations
The power of brand in a fragmented market
Global generations, world consumers

Breakfast Three: Achieving Cut-Through - Communication tactics for message-saturated times Friday 2 November 2012 

Media consumption
The anatomy of a message
Marketing in multi-modal times
Timeless drivers of influence
Maximising retention: The future of training
Engaging with online communities
Elements of effective communication
Attracting audiences and eliciting action
Visually connecting with the post-literate generations

Cringing over cliches

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The word is out: Australians are so over clichés. There’s no question that we love to hate them. Yet having said that, we use them in droves, big time.

General Clichés 

You’ve heard them all before... perhaps you’ve even used them yourself? Either way, Australia has spoken and these are the clichés we love to hate.

1. At the end of the day  

2. Let’s do lunch 

3. It’s not rocket science 

4. 24/7 

5. Calling to touch base 

6. Bring it on  

7. Don’t get me started  

8. As you do 

9. Tell me about it  

10. Your call may be recorded for training purposes


Political Clichés

Politicians are rarely short of something to say, possibly because they are the 2nd biggest offender in terms of using annoying clichés. Here’s a page or two out of their lexicon: 

1. Working families  

2. Not ruling anything in or out 

3. No magic bullet 

4. Can I just say 

5. The jury is still out on that one 

6. Going forward  

7. No brainer  

8. Having said that 

9. Ballpark figure  

10. At this point in time


For more Top 10 workplace, youth and social cliches, check out the whitepaper on our resources page.


The National Barometer 2012: How we're travelling

Monday, April 16, 2012

Australia in 2012 is experiencing significant population shifts and social trends. So amidst the change, it is encouraging to see that the national barometer shows Australia is travelling pretty well.

Within a few months, Australia’s population will exceed 23 million. In fact, Australia’s population has doubled since 1966 (11.5 million) which is the same period of time that the total world population has doubled (from 3.5 billion in 1966 to 7 billion today). When asked about this population growth, more than half of Australians (52%) said that they were concerned about Australia’s rapid rate of population growth. Only a third (36%) felt that we were growing at the right rate.

The ratio of retirees to workers will double over the next four decades

Australia is ageing rapidly as a nation! By 2050, older people (aged 65-84) are expected to more than double and those aged over 85 will more than quadruple. In today’s workforce, there is a ratio of 5 workers per retiree!  By 2050, this will have halved to just 2.5 workers per retiree. We are moving into a prolonged period where there will be fewer people working relative to the total population, to support through taxation, the increasing aged-care and health costs of an older population.

Growing cultural diversity, growing acceptance of it

Of the 1 in 5 (20%) of Australians born in non-English speaking countries, 83% feel they speak English well or very well. Of all Australians, Tasmanians are the most likely to have been born in Australia (87%) and 86% reported that all or most of their friends were from the same ethnic background as they were themselves. NT (67%) and Victoria (69%) had the lowest percentage of people reporting that all or most of their friends were from the same ethnic background that they were.

 Australians have embraced cultural diversity, 4 in 5 (80%) stating that it is a good thing for a society to be made up of people from different cultures. Those in the ACT were found to be the most accepting of cultural diversity, with 87% feeling this. Tasmanians and Queenslanders were the least likely to feel positive about cultural diversity, but even so, less than 1 in 10 Tasmanians (9%) and Queenslanders (8%) strongly disagree with the idea that cultural diversity is a good thing.

Community involvement and volunteering

As Australians, it’s not uncommon to volunteer in the community, with 6.14 million adults (38%) undertaking some form of voluntary work annually. Interestingly, Australians in major cities (34%) were less likely to participate in voluntary or community activities, when compared to Australians living in regional areas (42%).

Different generations also volunteered for different activities. Younger generations were more likely to be involved in sports and recreation, older Gen Y and Gen Xers were most commonly volunteering in parenting groups. Welfare and community type activities were most common in the Boomers and Builders.

Wealth of the top 20% of Australian households is 70x more than that of the lowest 20%

In Australia, the national average disposable income is $44,096. The disposable household income of the lowest 20% of Australian households comprises just 7% of the total Australian household income ($16,328). The average disposable household income of the top 20% of households is $88,608, which comprises 40% of all household income! Even after tax strategies to balance Australian earning, this is five times the average earnings of the bottom 20%.

 Currently, the average Australian household net worth is $719,561. The lowest 20% of Australian households own just 1% of Australia’s private wealth (with an average net worth of $31,829), whilst the highest 20% own 62%, with an average net worth of $2.22 million. The wealth of the average household in the top 20% is seventy times more than the average of those in the bottom 20%.

Mobiles overtake fixed lines as preferred form of communication

As Australians, we not only value our relationships, but we strive to ensure that we’re well-connected. On a day-to-day basis, 1 in 5 Australians (20%) have face-to-face contact with family and friends outside of their household, and 4 in 5 (79%) have contact weekly. In terms of non-physical forms of communication, mobile phone and SMS-style communication (84%) were the most common methods of keeping in touch with family and friends, just overtaking fixed phone (83%). There are currently more than 6.2 million Australian households connected with broadband internet which equals 7 in 10 (73%) of all households.

We’re optimistic about our health

Most Australian adults rate their health as good, very good or excellent (83%), and when thinking about overall life satisfaction, 2 in 5 (43%) of us are pleased or delighted with our lives, and a further 34% are mostly satisfied. That means that 3 in 4 (77%) Australians are quite satisfied with their lives overall. However, the less contact an adult had with family and friends living outside their household, the less satisfied they were with their lives. Similarly, divorcees and separated adults were also least likely to be feeling satisfied.

Crime and safety

As Australians, we feel safe in our homes, with 85% stating that we felt safe or very safe at home alone after dark. Interestingly, only half of Australians (48%) feel safe if they were to walk in their neighbourhood at night time. There was a large difference between males and females, with men feeling much safer than women whether in or out of their home. 2 in 3 (68%) men feel safe walking in their neighbourhood at night, compared with only 29% of women.

 “The Australian Barometer 2012 reads very well. We are connecting positively culturally, socially and technologically. Our communities are culturally diverse and most Australians agree that this enriches our society. Most Australians connect socially with friends and family other than their household each week, and continuing our early adoption of technology, most Australian households are broadband connected, and more use is made of mobile phones than landlines. We are happy with our health with 83% of Australians rating their health as above average (which says more for our positive frame of mind than our statistical abilities!) and we record a high level of feel safe at home and in our communities,” said Mark McCrindle, director of McCrindle Research. “Overall, the population growth and ageing, the skewed wealth distribution and safety in our neighbourhoods are the areas of concern.”

Sources: The Australian Bureau of Statistics,
The Australian Government Intergenerational Report (2010),
McCrindle Research findings (2012).

Bridging the Gap: Employers

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An employer's guide to managing and retaining to new generation of employees. Gen Y workers have markedly different attitudes, perspectives, values and communication styles when compared to the generations above them, typically their employers.

For Gen Y, their job matters - but it is not their life. In a world where they feel work-life balance is pivotal, if there is a clash, life wins! The social connections they have at work are also key to their retention. Gen Y want a community over a workplace; friends, not just colleagues.



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