Australia at 12 vs 24 million

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Australia’s population will soar to 24 million this year, but what exactly did the country look like when the population was half that? The year was 1968 – John Gorton was Prime Minister, our soldiers were still in Vietnam and it was the year that Kylie Minogue and Hugh Jackman were born.

But since then Australia’s population has sky rocketed. The population has doubled since 1968. We had just hit 12 million back then, and next month we will hit 24 million people nationally. In fact 1 in 3 Aussies have seen the population double in their lifetime.

The rate of marriages has dropped by over 40% since then, and in 1968 the average woman had 2.34 babies, compared to today’s 1.8.

Weekly earnings have also increased over the last 48 years. If we go back to 1968, the average hourly rate was $1.22, and that meant that the weekly wage was about $48.00 per week. Comparatively, today’s average earnings – if you put it in annual terms – is about $88,000 per year.

While wages have risen so too has the cost of living, and owning your own home is now 5 times more expensive than it was 48 years ago. Back in 1968 the average Sydney home would set you back $18,000, compared to the average Sydney median house price of $1 million today.

But the good news is that milk, butter and potatoes all cost less today. A litre of milk back then was 19 cents, in today’s dollars that’s actually $2.00, which is more expensive than a litre of milk today which is about $1.25.


Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media. He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.


Data Visualisation Case Study

Monday, December 07, 2015

Gateway uncovers the state of Australians’ financial literacy, with only 39% of mortgage holders definitely understanding the concept of a ‘split’ home loan.

It was excellent to work with Gateway Credit Union, one of Australia’s leading Credit Unions committed to educating consumers on financial literacy. Our joint study has revealed some interesting figures around the financial literacy of Australians.

Despite the majority of mortgages spanning a 30 year period, the research highlights that your everyday mortgage holder does not truly understand a number of the features and loan facilities that are available to them.

“When buying a home, Australians get into the biggest debt of their life to make the biggest purchase of their life. This research shows more than a third of mortgage holders do not understand basic mortgage terms such as split home loans, redraw facilities and offset accounts. While every mortgage advertisement will display a comparison rate, only 1 in 3 mortgage holders know what this is. It is encouraging to see that the understanding of the new generation of home buyers, Generation Y, was greater than that of the older generation, highlighting an increase in financial literacy amongst the emerging generation.” Mark McCrindle.

The study revealed that the financial terms least understood by mortgage holders are a ‘split’ home loan and the difference between ‘interest rate’ and ‘comparison rate’. Only 39% of those surveyed confirmed that they definitely understood what a ‘split’ home loan was. Similarly, only 35% of mortgage holders definitely understand the difference between ‘interest rate’ and a ‘comparison rate’.

This infographic focuses on the most commonly misunderstood banking terms, and also provides consumers with easy to understand explanations of each of these features.

This research in the media

The Adviser

Sydney's most liveable suburbs: The urban living index

Thursday, November 19, 2015

With Sydney’s population set to reach 5 million next year, there are significant densification trends underway. Sydneysiders are increasingly embracing medium and high density housing, 7 in 10 either have lived in a unit/apartment or are currently living in one. Of Sydneysiders who have never lived in a high density setting, 50% would consider unit/apartment living and this rises to 63% for Generation Y.

“Over the last decade there has been a big swing in Sydney to more urban living generally in apartments. To gain a clearer understanding of urban living patterns and satisfaction Urban Taskforce Australia commissioned McCrindle, experts in researching demographic data to develop the Urban Living Index.”, said Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson.

Mark McCrindle, Principal of McCrindle Research says, “The challenge for Sydney’s future is to ensure that it responds to population growth yet maintains its world-beating lifestyle and that its liveability rises to match its increasing density, and that is why we have developed the Urban Living Index.”


Measuring the liveability of areas across Sydney

The Urban Living Index is an ongoing measure of the liveability of suburbs in Sydney. This instrument considers the affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility of an area to determine how liveable it is.

The Planning Regions of Sydney

The NSW Planning Regions were developed by the NSW government to allow for cohesive and integrated planning under A Plan for Growing Sydney. Exploring the Index across the six regions assists in understanding how they are equipped to respond to a high density population and where there are opportunities for improvement in the quality of urban living.

Sydney’s most liveable suburbs

This analysis of Sydney’s 228 suburbs shows that Surry Hills and Crows Nest - Waverton are Sydney’s leaders with the top rated Index of 85. In the Central planning region after Surry Hills was Marrickville with 83, in the North it was North Sydney – Lavender Bay with 82, West Central was Parramatta – Rosehill 80 followed by North Parramatta 75, South was Hurstville 76 followed by South Hurstville – Blakehurst 74, South West was Liverpool – Warwick Farm 66 followed by Cabramatta – Lansvale and West was Springwood – Winmalee 59 followed by Blaxland – Warrimoo – Lapstone 59. The results show a strong correlation between high density housing and urban liveability with seven of the top ten rated suburbs in the top twenty highest density suburbs in Sydney.

Sentiment toward housing affordability

One of the key drivers of the growth in high density housing is Sydney’s housing affordability challenge. When Sydneysiders were asked if they had to start over and buy into the current property market, more than 3 in 5 (61%) of Sydneysiders would probably or definitely be unable to do so. Sydneysiders are also not convinced that the affordability challenge will change with 51% saying that in three years’ time their area will be less affordable than it is today, and only 11% saying it will be more affordable. This is even higher in the West planning region where 56% say it will be less affordable. It is also higher amongst Generation Y (56%) than Baby Boomers (47%). More than half of all Sydneysiders (59%) say that Sydney’s housing affordability is a massive challenge for their children’s generation with an additional 29% saying it is a significant challenge.

More than half of all Sydneysiders (57%) state that the construction of units and apartments assists affordability. More than a third of Sydneysiders support the idea of allowing first home buyers to access their superannuation to buy a home (37%) and increasing unit/apartment construction (36%) while only 1 in 5 (22%) supports the tightening of bank lending rules as a solution to affordability.

The most valuable assets of Sydneysiders

When it comes to housing, Sydneysiders prioritise the intangibles (location and community) above the tangibles (buildings and fittings) by a factor of 2 to 1. They also prioritise current liveability above long term price growth, also by a factor of 2 to 1 and value walkable communities above more mobile lifestyles by a factor of 6 to 1. Sydneysiders generally like their local community assets such as shops and cafes with more than half (52%) saying they totally love or really like them compared to just 6% who are indifferent to this amenity. Twice as many (32%) believe that amenities in their local community will increase over the next 3 years compared to those who think there will be a decrease (16%). Sydneysiders are also positive about the growing infrastructure, transport and accessibility of their local area, with 37% expecting it to increase over the next three years compared to 14% expecting a decrease.

The Urban Living Index report, interactive maps and further details on Sydney’s six planning regions are all available at The Urban Living Index results and rankings will be launched at a breakfast event at Clayton Utz, Level 5 1 Bligh Street, Sydney on the 10th December 2015, 7:30am for 8am start. Speakers will be Chris Johnson and Mark McCrindle.

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.


The Future of Sydney Report

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Sydney is changing. It is growing, densifying and expanding. This McCrindle Research study surveyed 1,007 Sydneysiders in August of 2015 on their attitudes and sentiments towards the future of Sydney with regards to current population size and growth, infrastructure, planning, the house price boom and challenges moving forward.

Demographic Snapshot

Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and home to more than 1 in 5 Australians. More people live in Sydney than in the whole country of New Zealand, and its population is larger than the whole of Australia was a century ago. In addition to being Australia’s largest city, it is also the most culturally diverse with 2 in 5 Sydneysiders born overseas. While European settlement of Australia began in Sydney, the city now has connections closer to the region with 6 of the top 10 countries of birth of Sydneysiders born overseas being located in Asia.

63% of the current New South Wales population is living in Sydney, compared to 48% of Queensland’s population that lives in Brisbane. Western Sydney is growing faster than the rest of Sydney currently, and the total population of the areas that comprise greater western Sydney (2.3 million) is larger than the nations of Fiji, Luxemburg, Iceland, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Greenland, Lichtenstein and Nauru combined! By 2030, the population of Greater Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney, at almost 3 million.

Sydney’s Size

Sydney is Australia’s largest city and was the first to hit 2 million, which it reached in 1959, followed by Melbourne in 1975, Brisbane in 2008 and Perth in 2014.

Based on current growth trends, Sydney will reach a population of 8 million in 2055, the same year that Australia’s 5th largest city Adelaide reaches a population of 2 million. In fact Sydney adds 1,400 people every 6 days which is more than the entire state of Tasmania adds in a year.

While Sydney will hit the 5 million milestone in the next year and 8 million in 2025, more than a third of Sydneysiders (37%) currently think that Sydney’s population is 3 million or less. Only one third of Sydneysiders (35%) correctly identify Sydney’s population as being close to 5 million.

Sydney’s Infrastructure

More than 4 in 5 Sydneysiders believe that the public transport, roads, hospitals and infrastructure is not keeping up with the population growth, with almost half (47%) saying it is nowhere near keeping up. Just 1 in 5 (18%) say that the infrastructure development is keeping up with the population growth.

Sydney’s House Price Boom

While Sydneysiders experience higher wages than the Australian average, the wage growth has not been keeping up with the house price growth. Four decades ago the average Sydney house price was 5 times the average annual full time earnings. Two decades later, house prices had outstripped earnings to be 6 times annual wages. Such has been the house price boom that today the average Sydney house price is more than 13 times the average annual full time earnings of $77,000.

Sydneysiders don’t believe the current house price growth is being driven by first home buyers or owner occupiers, but rather by investors. 2 in 5 (41%) Sydneysiders say that Australian property investors are driving the current house price boom, while 81% say that it is overseas property investors that are key to the price increases.

Sydney’s Challenges

Clearly Sydney is an expensive place to live, and when Sydneysiders were asked what the greatest challenges of Sydney are, the top 2 responses were the cost of living (73%) and the cost of housing (59%). The third biggest challenge is the traffic and commute times (52%) followed by job / employment challenges (29%) and the pace and stress of life (29%).

These challenges for Sydneysiders are such that more than two thirds of local residents (66%) have considered moving out Sydney, with a quarter of all Sydneysiders (23%) saying they have seriously considered it.

The latest demographic data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics quantifies this by showing that Melbourne is now Australia’s fastest growing city, exceeding Sydney’s growth by more than 10,000 people per annum, and while Victoria and Queensland have consistently been experiencing net interstate migration gains for the last decades, New South Wales has over the same period been losing more people to other states than it has been gaining from other states.

Of the Eastern States, Victoria had a net interstate gain of 9,336 last year, Queensland’s gain was 5,598, while New South Wales over the same period had a net loss of 5,572.

From Sea Change and Tree Change to City Change

When Sydneysiders are considering exiting Sydney, a quarter of them are looking at a sea change or tree change within New South Wales, with another 1 in 20 (5%) considering moving to a rural or regional area interstate. However, more than half of all the would-be leavers (53%) are happy with city living, just not the Sydney life and are looking for another city interstate (32%) or in New South Wales (21%).

Sydney’s Sentiment

Sydney residents are not convinced about the direction in which their lifestyle is headed. Less than 1 in 5 (16%) say that Sydney is better than it was 5 years ago and will be even better in 5 years’ time. Overall, Sydney residents are pessimistic about the current realities and future forecasts. Almost two thirds (64%) say that Sydney is worse than it as 5 year ago, with an even larger percentage (66%) believing that it will be worse in 5 years’ time. In fact half of all Sydneysiders (50%) say that Sydney is worse than 5 years ago and will be even worse in 5 years’ time.


Watch Mark McCrindle on Channel 7 News speak about the research:

The cost of work: What we pay to work

Monday, August 17, 2015

The unemployment rate is rising, but so are the costs of work. And while living costs and house prices have been rising faster than wages, the costs associated with work are also on the way up. From toll roads to public transport costs, a simple cup of coffee to updating work clothes. From childcare costs to tax increases, Australians are paying to work.

A recent 2015 McCrindle Research study of over 540 working Australians reveals that income doesn’t just generate wealth, it also consumes it. Australians are forking out more than ever on transport costs, clothing and food while they are working, significantly reducing their take-home pay. Incurring travel costs associated with work, work-related education expenses, child-care costs, and income tax all further reduce a full-time worker’s take-home pay to less than two thirds of their gross salary.


95% of working Australians spend their own money on food and beverages during work times, with almost 3 in 4 Australians (74%) purchasing lunch, morning tea, or coffees when at work or when travelling to/from work at least once per week. More than one fifth of Australians (22%) spend their own money on consumable food items every single day while they are at work.


Males tend to eat out more often, with 27% of male employees purchasing food or beverages at least once per day (compared with 16% of females). The frequency at which employees purchase consumables while at work decreases with age. While 78% of Generation Ys and 77% Generation Xs spend their own money on food and beverages at least once per week, this reduces to 60% for the Baby Boomer Generation.


The average Australian employee spends $18.52 on lunches, snacks, and beverages during their workday every week. This takes into consideration the 6% of Australians who don’t spend money on food while they are at work, and ranges to include those who go out more than once a day, some of whom spend over $100 on food and beverages while at work each week. Over a 48-week work year, this average weekly spend accumulates to $889 per year.


In an effort to keep up with the latest styles and fashions or simply to avoid wearing the same thing every day, employees spend hundreds of dollars on clothing per year. Australians report spending an average of $320 each year of their own money on clothes they require directly for work. This includes employees across all industries and factors into account those who spend very little, having uniforms supplied, as well as those who purchase corporate apparel.


After childcare and tax costs, transport is the greatest expense when it comes to work, with the average Australian spending $99.88 each week on work-related petrol costs, tolls, and/or public transport tickets. While public transport cost increases have been modest, the big challenge for workers has been the rising cost of petrol, tolls and car ownership, and this is particularly relevant for the 2 in 3 Australians (65.5%) who travel to work by private vehicle. The average full time worker spends almost $4,800 per year just on getting to and from work.


30% of working Australians spent their own money last year on education and training directly associated with their line of work, averaging to $1,936. Overall (accounting for the 70% who didn’t spend any of their own money on employment-related learning), the average Australian worker spends $588.60 per annum of their own money on training, and much of this, where it is retraining for a new career or role, is not tax deductable.


The Productivity Commission Study into childcare shows the median childcare costs are $7.40 per hour ($74 for a 10 hour day). For those requiring full time childcare for 50 hours per week, this would cost them $370 per week which equates to 22% of the average full time weekly earnings.


The current average full time weekly earnings is $1539.40 per week ($80,049 per annum) which brings this average wage into the third tax bracket (a tax rate of 37 cents per dollar). Based on the 2015-2016 tax schedule this average annual earnings package would attract a tax bill of $16,768.


The average full-time Australian worker who earns $80,049 per annum (current full time adult weekly earnings) is spending $889 of that on lunches, $320 on wardrobe changes, $4,794 on transport costs, $587 on education, $17,760 on child-care (based on 70 hours at average costs) and $16,768 on tax (not including tax deductions). These total work costs add up to $41,118, which is 51% of the average annual gross.


Hornsby Shire; A shire of opportunity

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The social, generational, economic and demographic trends impacting Hornsby Shire are creating not only new challenges but great opportunities. Unprecedented change can sometimes lead to change fatigue where the response can be to become worried about change, or equally 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 respond to the shifts, influence the trends and shape the future.

Hornsby Shire Council: A Shire of Opportunity, outlines ten of the top trends that are redefining the Hornsby LGA and shaping the future of this community. We have been pleased to assist Hornsby Shire Council in conducting this analysis and the trends shaping the region.

The top 10 trends for Hornsby Shire are:

  1. Growing population, increasing densification
  2. Ageing population, transitioning generations
  3. Educational attainment, professional employment
  4. Entrepreneurship for small and home-based businesses
  5. Property ownership and investment growth
  6. Stable workforce, lower unemployment
  7. Mobile lifestyle enabled though public transport and cars
  8. A home for families and the next generations
  9. A place of cultural and language diversity
  10. The lifestyle shire

To view the full, visual report, please click here

If you’d like to learn more about our demographic analysis and trends research, please contact our office today or see our research pack for more details.

For more Sydney-based demographic analysis, see the latest coverage on Channel 7’s Changing Face of Sydney.

Latest media commentary

Monday, June 15, 2015

As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. From demographic analysis and future forecasts, to communication of key research findings and the identification of social trends, at McCrindle we are passionate about communicating insights in clear, accessible and useable ways.

Here are some the most recent media pieces our research and team have been cited in:

What will adulthood be like for Generation Z?

“McCrindle – whose business is analysing generational trends and forecasts – says generation Z is characterised by five key terms. They are global," through the possibilities of technology, and through pop culture -–movies, music, brands and language changes make their way around the world more quickly and thoroughly than ever before. They are "digital," thanks to the devices through which they live their lives. This generation is distinctly "social" because it gets a great deal of information not from experts but from peers, largely through social media. They are highly "mobile" in the fluidity of their work and housing. And they are uniquely "visual: in terms of how they process their information: YouTube is their search engine of choice, because "they don't want to read an article about something, they want to watch a video about something."


Treechangers flee city for a cheaper home

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said moving to regional areas was now a viable option for buyers who had been priced out to Sydney’s fringes.

“For that extra bit of distance of living in a region, particularly if they can get a job there, someone would cut down on the commute time into the CBD or into Sydney from where they are in the outer ring suburbs,” Mr McCrindle said.

He added that an influx of new developments and infrastructure being built in regional areas was making them more attractive and had contributed to a change in attitude from Sydneysiders, who are now more open to ’going bush’.


More than a fashion choice, the everyday aesthetics of tattooing

According to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, 22 per cent of Australian men and 29 per cent of women aged 20 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

In a 2013 survey conducted by Sydney-based McCrindle Research, a third of people with tattoos regretted them to some extent, and 14 per cent had looked into or started the removal process. Laser removal has become cheaper and more readily available, but there are serious safety concerns around cheap lasers, poorly-trained operators and the risk of serious burns and scars to clients.


IVF isn’t a fix-all for those choosing to delay adulthood

From a societal point of view, what worries me is what demographer and social commentator Mark McCrindle refers to as the "safety net syndrome" – the perception held that someone, whether it's the government or medical science, will solve the problems that have arisen because of a person's own choices. When it comes to fertility, that's simply not possible.

There are, however, promising signs that the pendulum is starting to swing back. McCrindle's research indicates that Generation Z is rejecting the "have it all" attitude of the previous generation and is recognising the limitations of science when it comes to fertility.


Victoria’s man drought: Areas where there are more women than men – and vice versa

The female surplus is particularly pronounced in some affluent eastern and bayside suburbs, university locations and “seachange” destinations.

“Females greatly outnumber men in older, established suburbs or places popular with retirees or with aged care homes because they live longer,” social researcher and demographer Mark McCrindle said.

“You also find more women living in locations with female-friendly institutions such as universities, or outer suburban areas with a lower cost of living suitable for single parents.”

“Places where males significantly outnumber females are mainly regional, industrial, farming, fruit picking and military and air force zones. It’s employment-driven,” Mr McCrindle said.


Sydney real estate: Narrowest home on the market expected to fetch upwards of $700,000

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said there was a clear trend of Australians moving away from bigger properties and looking at smaller homes.

“Certainly Australians are responding to smaller properties because the trend has been towards unit and apartment living anyway,” Mr McCrindle said.

“People buying homes have already lived in medium-density housing. A century ago, there were 4.5 people per household in Australia. Now it’s down to 2.6 people per household and the Australian Bureau of Statistics forecasts a drop to 2.5 in the next two decades.”

Mr McCrindle said smaller homes tended to be located in the inner city, where there was an urban environment and a cafe lifestyle.


Highlights from #TuesdayTrend

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


As Australia’s social researchers, we take the pulse of the nation. We research communities. We survey society. We analyse the trends. And we communicate the findings.

Every Tuesday we release a trend about Australia for #TuesdayTrend. Here are some of our recent #TuesdayTrends, highlighting fun facts about Australia. Be sure to follow, share and interact with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


In a world of big data- we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information- that research should be accessible to everyone not just to the stats junkies. We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. We’re in the business of making you look good and your data make sense.

For more information, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you:



P: +61 2 8824 3422

Australia's Defining Traits

Friday, January 23, 2015
As a nation, there are traits that have defined Australia for decades, but as the times shift and trends emerge we take a look at the extent to which these are still relevant in defining us today.

1. The Lucky Country

Statistics show that Australia is doing better than ever when it comes to health, education, economic opportunities, and even political participation.

The economy is on a steady increase, even despite a recent global economic crisis. Cash flow is increasing with the net disposable income for everyday Australians now $10,000 more than it was a decade ago.

We value independence but in a community-minded way. As Aussies we recognise that individual achievement rarely occurs without a helping hand from others. After all we call this the lucky country—we don’t take the credit for it all ourselves. Despite our differences we know that when adversity strikes, whether in the form of personal tragedy, natural disasters or international conflict, there’ll usually be a fellow Aussie there to help out. It’s the tradition of the digger, the character of mateship, and it’s still the essence of the Australian community.
Fast Facts
  • Compared to the unemployment rate of the US, UK and France, Australia’s unemployment rate is lowest at just 5.8
  • The EU, G20, OECD and USA have all experienced a recession during the last 7 years, whereby Australia has not
  • Over the last 10 years Australia’s life expectancy has increased by 2 years
  • Over the last 40 years our life expectancy has increased by 10 years

2. Big Australia

Australia’s population exceeded 23 million on 23 April 2013. Having doubled since 1966, this rise is fuelled by an increase in birth rate, life expectancy and migration. These factors have allowed Australia to grow at a rate of 1.7% per year, above the world average of 1.0%. Not only is Australia the fastest growing OECD nation, but its population is increasing faster than Indonesia, India, and Malaysia.
Fast Facts
  • Australia’s population is growing by 1.7% annually
  • Australia currently has a population of 23 million people, with an increase of 397,200 people
  • Natural increase accounts for 40% of growth, adding 154,500 people to the population
  • Net overseas migration accounts for 60% of the population increase, increasing Australia’s population by 228,000 people
  • Australia’s population density is 2.99 people per km2
  • Vertical communities - with record population growth comes increase densification, where we now live up and not out
  • Traditional detached homes vs housing approvals. More new homes in greater Sydney are medium density than detached homes

3. The Clever Country

The Top 5 industries 30 years ago were all industrial (mining, utilities, manufacturing, construction, and transport) whereas today there has been a shift to professional industries (Top 5 are mining, technical, IT, financial, and utilities).

While once derogatorily referred to as the world’s quarry, it turns out that we are the clever country after all with more people than ever employed in science and technical roles. The Australian workforce has undergone significant structural change and we’ve moved from an industrial base to a knowledge base.
Fast Facts
  • The average years of schooling Australian’s engage in is 12 years
  • The number of patents granted by Australia annually is 17,877
  • 1 in 5 Baby Boomers, 1 in 4 generation X’s, 1 in 3 generation Y’s have a university degree and 1 in 2 generation Z’s will have a university degree

4. The Land of the Middle Class

Australia is the land of the fair go, where people are taken at face value and class and values based on where people are from or where they were educated don’t rate highly in interactions. Lifestyles are busy and our lives are complex but our culture is down-to-earth, and mainstream recreations are simple. Regardless of income or social status, there are rich pleasures offered in Australia, and these are all the more appreciated in times of rising living costs.

It is a collaborative rather than individualistic culture and this teamwork, a mix of mateship and altruism, creates a context where neighbourhoods and communities are defined by diversity and connecting rather than class and hierarchies.
Fast Facts
  • Australia’s median household income is $47,736. This is 2.6 times Spain’s average household income and 47 times the income of more than 30 other countries with household income below $1,100 (Spain’s is $18,531, Greece $15,823)
  • The average capital city house price in Australia is $2.5 million

5. The Small Business Nation

Australia has always been an entrepreneurial nation, with small business the backbone of the economy and the labour force. The Australian spirit of independence, a DIY attitude and the courage to give things a go are strongly demonstrated in these latest business statistics. The tough economic times and the terrain in which small business operates is having an impact, however, with only half (51%) of new business starts surviving 4 years in operation. For many Australians, the entrepreneurial dream is still alive but as demonstrated by the survival rates of new businesses, without better support, only a minority will achieve success.
Fast Facts
  • There are 2.1 million businesses in Australia
  • Just 39% are employing businesses
  • 69% of employing businesses are micro and have 1-4 employees, 6.2% are small (5-19 employees), 24.3% are medium (20-199 employees) while just 0.5% of businesses are large and employ over 200 employees
  • 50% of new businesses cease operation within 3.5 years of establishment
  • 1 in 10 cease operation every year

6. Land of the Long Weekend

Australians enjoy between 11 and 12 public holidays in addition to the 4 weeks annual leave for employees, which is more public holidays than many countries, and twice the annual leave of the average worker in the US. However Australians also work amongst the longest hours when compared to other developed nations and some of the most years of schooling. The “no worries” attitude is strong but it is more “no worries- we’ll sort it out” rather than “no worries- she’ll be right”. The “can-do” culture balances the “long weekend” mindset to shape a people who enjoy time off and know how to holiday- but work hard to earn the break.
Fast Facts
  • Australians enjoy 11 to 12 public holidays a year
  • Full time workers receive 4 weeks annual leave
  • On average, Australians work 38 hours per week, (41.0 for males and 35.8 for females)

7. The Tyranny of Distance

While Australia is warmly referred to as the land down under, the isolation and distance that the term once communicated is not the case today. While Australia is geographically a long way from the UK, it’s historical and population links with the “old country” remain strong. More importantly, it is closely located to the new epicentre of economic growth in Asia. Australia is a regional hub for many multinational organisations with operations in Asia, and is in its own right a globally connected, business influencer, cultural exporter and regional leader. The cultural cringe has given way to sophistication, cultural diversity and global influence.
Fast Facts
  • Australia’s region of Asia is home to 60% of the global population and the fastest growing nations on earth
  • China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines are all in the top 7 birth countries of Australians born overseas
  • In a 12 month time period Australia chaired the UN Security Council, hosted the G20 and will host the Cricket World Cup

For more on the facts and figures of Australia, be sure to check out our Australia Street Video Animation and Infographic.



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