Supply and demand; Australia as an ageing nation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017



Australia is experiencing a baby boom, with births exceeding 300,000 a year. 30 years ago, the over 65s made up just 11% of our population (one in nine persons). Today the over 65s make up 15% of our population (one in seven). Forecasts project that this cohort will make up 18% in 2027 (one in six). By 2047 one in five Australians (20%) will be aged over 65.


Our median age is also increasing. Three decades ago the median age of an Australian was 31.3. Today it is 37.4 and in 2047 it is projected to be just under 40.


The over 85s, where there is an even greater need for aged care services, are growing at a faster rate than the over 65s. In 1987 there were 133,448 Australians aged over 85. Today there are four times as many, and in 2047 there will 14 times as many.


Not only are there more older people in our nation, but Australians are living longer than ever before. Life expectancy at birth in 1987 was 76.3, whereas today it is 81 for a male and 85 for a female. In 2047, it is projected to 89.9.


The primary enabler of this increased longevity gain has been the health system rather than individual behaviour. Life expectancy increases will continue because of improved medical technologies, public health infrastructure and better public health measures. New and improved medical interventions will also contribute, as will the improved survivability rates of major illnesses and cancers.

A decade ago, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were the 6th largest causes of death in Australia. Today they are the 3rd leading causes of death with the number of deaths having more than doubled to 9,864. Over the same period of time, deaths due to the first and second causes of death (heart disease and brain disease) have been decreasing. If today’s current trend continues, by 2021 dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will be the leading cause of death in Australia.


In 1952, the year that Queen Elizabeth II became sovereign, 40 letters of congratulations would need to have been written to Australians turning 100. This year, 2,925 Australians will turn 100 and in 10 years 5,401 will turn 100. In 30 years the number of congratulatory letters written to Australians turning 100 will increase to 25,938 in the year 2047.



Not only is there an increasing demand on the services provided by the aged care sector with the growing number of over 85s, there is also a workforce supply challenge.


The ageing population will place greater demands for productivity on the labour force. In 1975 for every person of retirement age there were 7.1 people in the working age population. By 2015 there were just 4.5 people of working age for every individual of retirement age, and this is projected to decline to just 2.7 people of working age for every individual at retirement age by 2055.


Because of the high median age of an employee in the aged care sector, half of the aged care workforce will be of retirement age in 15 years. There are 350,000 workers in the aged care sector (estimated in 2012), so this equates to an average of 11,667 retirements per year for the next 15 years. This averages to 972 farewell lunches per month!

If we are to keep the current ratio of aged care workers to people aged over 85 in our nation, we need to add 129,945 workers in the next 10 years. This equates to recruiting 1,083 new workers per month, in addition to replacing the 972 retiring staff per month.

That’s a total recruitment goal of 2,055 each month – adding nearly 25,000 individuals to Australia’s aged care workforce each year.


To find out more about McCrindle's expertise in the aged care industry, or how we can communicate these insights to your team, please get in touch.

Media Commentary from the McCrindle team

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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.

Some of our recent media commentary includes:

Jobs of the future

The last few years of disruption has shown us that any role that can be replaced by technology will be.While technology is great for automating systems and replacing repetitive functions, it is not strong at adapting to complex change and engaging with people. Mark McCrindle speaks to The Daily Edition about how students can future proof their careers and skills. Watch it here.

Trends of 2016

From Donald Trump to Brexit, dabbing, bottle flipping and Pokemon Go, Mark McCrindle speaks to The Daily Edition about some of the biggest trends of 2016, including the 2016 word of the year which was Post Truth, and demographic milestones for Australia including reaching a population of 24 million people in February, and Sydney hitting a population of 5 million. Watch it here.

Trends of 2017

Rise of the local, growth of lifestyle cities, DIY everything, the Gig-economy and post-rationalism are the top five trends Mark McCrindle has identified for 2017. Mark joins the team from The Daily Edition to discuss the trends forecasted for 2017. Watch it here.

Melbourne growing faster than Sydney

After being voted the world’s most liveable city for the sixth year in a row, Melbourne property prices have grown faster than those of Sydney over the last year. With Melbourne being forecast to become Australia’s biggest city by 2050, Mark McCrindle attributes the diversified economy, lower house prices and its reputation as the fashion and cultural capital to its growth. Read the article here.

Are passive aggressive notes breaking down Sydney's sense of community?

The rise of anonymous, sarcastic signs left by Sydneysiders is seen to be breaking down communities. While this sort of behaviour is often seen on social media, Mark McCrindle says we don’t see so much of it normal civil interactions. When we are face to face, people aren’t nearly as sarcastic or nasty. Behind the venomous notes and social media posts, we really get a sense of the angst and frustration that is modern, busy stressful life. Read the article here.

Baby Name trends

Mark McCrindle has made his baby name predictions for 2017. He says longer and more culturally diverse names will be popular in 2017. Names beginning with X, Y and Z are also predicted to be huge, including Zander and Zephyr for boys, and Zyla and Zelda for girls. Read the article here.

Aussie parents are opting for sophistication and substance over quirky spellings or compound names, with gender neutral names back in vogue. Mark McCrindle predicts te top 10 ‘rising stars’ of 2017 for girls names were likely to be Addison, Penelope, Ariana, Frankie, Charlie, Elsie, Aurora, Billie, Lilian and Aisha. For the boys, McCrindle predicts Harvey, Beau, Chase, Theodore, Carter, Spencer, Ali, Harley, Darcy and Fletcher will be the rising stars for boys names next year. Read the article here.


The growing trend of finding others to do the jobs we hate has made the Christmas of 2016 a far cry from festive seasons past. “As for outsourcing, that is certainly a growing trend, especially around Christmas time when the shops are busy and perhaps there is a task that we don’t feel confident in completing, that we can have someone else complete for us,” says Ashley Fell from McCrindle. Read the article here.

Home ownership and renting

Sydney is turning into a city of renters as rising prices force more people to ditch the home owning dream. McCrindle research director Eliane Miles said while home ownership was still a major aspiration, it was ­simply affordability stopping young people from buying. “We did some research that showed 90 per cent of Australians still want to strive towards owning their own home,” Ms Miles said. “It’s still the Aussie dream, it’s just more difficult and I think for young people it seems incredibly far off.” Read the article here.

The Future of Shopping

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

As Christmas approaches, so does the urgency of shopping. So what will shopping in the future look like - and will we even need shops? It is interesting to note than in an era of online shopping, we actually visit the shops more now than a generation ago. In a survey this year we found that the main connection point Australians have with their local community is not the community centre, park, school or club but the local shopping centre. A visit to the shops is not just about getting groceries- it is a social experience, an entertainment destination, a café stop-off and of course an opportunity to see, try, and experience what’s new.

The shopping experience of the future will start much earlier than the moment we enter a store. It will begin at the time we make decisions about items we buy. Increasingly, these decisions will be socially informed by recommendations made by family and friends as well as our digital communities with whom we share common interests and even available nearby shoppers.

Shopping will become a hybrid of online purchasing through mobile devices and personalised shopping apps, and real world shopping in-store. By 2026 our in-store shopping will be guided not only by our shopping list but also by applications which facilitate our shopping experience. They will be able to detect when and where we are in store and provide recommendations and discounts in real-time based on our lifestyle, our purchasing habits, household demographics and our electronically-enabled shopping trolley as we fill it. At home, intelligent appliances in our smart homes will monitor our consumption of grocery items, automatically detecting items we are running low on and based on past behaviour and clever predictions this shopping list will be automatically set up for payment and home delivery or available at convenient collection hubs.

Payments will not only be cashless but card-less - a quick swipe of our phone or device will pay the bill and receive the receipt. And best of all, in an era of driver-less cars, car share drop-off points and streamlined public transport, getting a good parking spot may even be achievable!

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