The Rise and Rise of Australia’s Population

Monday, October 30, 2017

Australia has increased its population by one third in the last 20 years, from 18.5 million in 1997 to 24.7 million people currently. But more remarkable is that this record population growth has exceeded all forecasts. 

In 1998, the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicted that, based on low-growth assumptions, Australia’s population would reach 23.5 million people in 2051, a benchmark it went on to achieve in July 2014. The mid-growth forecast of 24.9 million people by 2051 will be reached in the middle of next year, 33 years early! The upper end forecast of 26.4 million, based on high-growth assumptions, will be reached in mid-2021, less than four years away.

What has caused such population growth?

The current growth patterns of Australia will lead us to a population of 38 million by 2051, around 12 million higher than even the high-ball forecasts of the late 1990’s. It’s not that the calculations were wrong, it’s that migration policy changes as well as longevity increases and a solid birth rate have defied the trends that were evident twenty years ago.

Back then it was assumed that the total fertility rate (babies per woman in a lifetime) would remain low. However, today’s TFR of 1.81 is above even the highest assumption allowed for in the 1990’s of 1.75.

It was also thought that life expectancy at birth would hit a high of 82 for males and 86 for females by 2051. However, current life expectancy is already closing in on 81 for males and 85 for females and will reach these 2051 targets decades early.

Net Overseas Migration the biggest growth factor

The biggest growth factor that has blown out previous population modelling has been the rise and rise of Australia’s net overseas migration. In 1998 it was thought that it would grow our population annually by around 70,00, or at the most, 90,000. In the last 12 months, Australia has added 231,900 through net migration which is more than 2.5 times even the high-forecast of two decades ago.

Expected growth for our major cities

The expectations for our largest cities back in this era were also well below what has eventuated. This 1998 report expected Melbourne to reach a population of between 3.6 and 4.5 million by 2051. It is currently well above this range at 4.8 million. Sydney was predicted to reach between 4.7 and 6.2 million by the middle of this century. It is currently around 5.1 million and will reach the higher forecast within a decade, 23 years early.

Australia's population growth among the highest in the developed world

While the late 1990’s may not seem like that long ago- John Howard was Prime Minister and Bill Clinton was the US President, the last two decades have seen significant shifts in our demographic trends. Back then, slowing population growth was responded to with policy changes like the baby bonus and efforts to increase overseas migration. Australia’s population growth is now one of the highest in the developed world. 

We have added 390,000 people to our population in the last 12 months, which is like adding three cities the size of Darwin to our population each year. Sydney is now home to more people than the whole country of New Zealand. Speaking of which, New Zealand, back in 1998 was expected to reach 4.7 million in 2050- its population currently exceeds 4.8 million. Melbourne is growing even faster and rather than having 1.7 million fewer people than Sydney in 2051 as was predicted, it will likely overtake Sydney to be Australia’s largest city by this year.

Lessons to be learnt

The lesson for policy makers, urban planners and governments alike, is to keep a close eye on the population forecasts and plan early for the growth that is being experienced so that our cities are not left short of infrastructure. While population growth can’t realistically be stopped, it must be better planned for and managed to ensure the Australian lifestyle continues. And when in doubt, assume the higher growth forecasts not the lower ones. I’m yet to see an Australian population forecast that needs adjusting down.

Mark McCrindle, Demographer and Social Researcher

A shift to volunteering in the NFP sector

Friday, August 18, 2017

Australia is a nation of volunteers. According to the latest Census results, almost one in five (19%) Australians volunteer through an organisation or group, which equates to 3.6 million Australians and is an increase of 2% since the 2011 Census. Our Australian Community Trends Report showed that this increases to 1 in 3 (34%) among Australians who give financially to charitable organisations.

There is an increasing desire of Australians to be involved in charitable organisations in an experiential way. This is particularly true among young people, who desire to go on a journey, have a tangible experience and develop a partnership, not just a transactional relationship of donating money and the charity does the work. The ability of an organisation to engage a donor on multiple levels and take them on a journey can increase loyalty and generosity towards the organisation. When Australians give of their time not just their money, there is an increasing sense of partnership and advocacy with the organisation they are engaging with.

Key motivators for volunteering

When it comes to volunteering, responsibility and satisfaction are the key motivators for volunteers with more than half (51%) indicating that they do so because of the feeling they get when they volunteer, or because they feel it is their responsibility to give back to the community (51%). Almost half (49%) are also motivated by their desire to make the world a better place.

Regular Vs. one-off

Australian charitable givers are volunteering more regularely than just a one-off. 61% of respondents indicated that they regularly give of their time, helping out once a month (24%) or at least a few times a year (37%). Two in five (39%) volunteer on a more sporadic basis with one-off activities such as Clean up Australia Day.

Time-poor students and young workers are more commonly participating in once-off activities while the older generations in retirement are more likely to volunteer very regularly for one or more charities. 35% of the Baby Boomers and 40% of Australians from the Builder generation who are charitable givers volunteer regularly for one or more charities. This compares to just 13% of Gen Y and 21% of Gen X. These young generations are more likely to participate in on-off activities instead of regularly volunteering (47% Gen Y and 41% Gen X).

How charities can engage consistent volunteers

The below mind-map shows some of the key strategies not-for-profits can use to engage consistent volunteers.

Challenges

The challenge recognised by charitable organisations is the time and administration costs incurred with the management of volunteers. Some charities find it challenging to accommodate volunteers within their operations while others rely heavily on volunteers for the execution of their services or programs. Overall, the sector recognises that if it can navigate the challenges, there the countless opportunities for everyday Australians to both give back and have their own lives enriched through voluntary engagement with the not-for-profit sector.

Methodology

Results are from a nationally representative survey of 1,510 Australians who give financially to charitable organisations at least once per year (80% of the total Australian population), as well as six focus groups and 14 expert interviews. Research conducted in September 2016.

The Future of Shopping

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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 cardless, a quick swipe of our phone or device will pay the bill and receive the recept. And best of all, in an era of driverless cars, car share drop-off points and streamlined public transport, getting a good parking spot may even be achievable!

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 kim@mccrindle.com.au.

Download Eliane’s professional speakers pack here

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.

WHO IS THE TYPICAL AUSSIE?

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.

HOW IS AUSTRALIA CHANGING?

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 kim@mccrindle.com.au, or call our offices on +61 2 8824 3422.



The Fading Australian Dream

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Housing affordability is currently a key issue of discussion in Australia and while there are a number of factors at play, the main price driver is that demand for houses is exceeding supply. Population growth, a trend to smaller households (and so more homes needed relative to the population), and demand for homes not only from first home buyers but also from downsizers, overseas buyers, local investors, and self-managed super funds and trusts are all fuelling price rises.

While Australia’s current annual population growth of 1.4% may seem modest, this adds almost 340,000 to our population each year- which is one new Darwin every 20 weeks or a new Tasmania every 18 months.

Where population growth is strongest, house price rises are the highest

Sydney is growing much faster than this having averaged 1.8% per annum for the last five years. It will add almost two million to its population by 2037 – which is the equivalent of adding a new Perth into Sydney. Melbourne is currently Australia’s fastest growing city and based on the current growth trends, it will overtake Sydney to become the nation’s largest city around the middle of this century. Unsurprisingly where population growth is strongest, house price rises are the highest.

Earnings growth has not kept up with house price growth

In just twenty years, the average Sydney house price has increased more than five-fold from $233,250 in 1997 to $1,190,390 today while in Melbourne prices over the same period have increased by more than six times from $142,000 to $943,100 today. While it is true that wages have increased over this time, earnings growth has not kept up with house price growth. In 20 years, average annual full-time earnings have not quite doubled from $42,010 in 1997 to $82,784 today.

The impact of growing demand on house prices is most evident when comparing prices to average earnings. Twenty years ago, the average Sydney house was 5.6 times average annual earnings while in Melbourne it was an affordable 3.4 times annual earnings. Today Sydney homes are more than 14 times average earnings, and in Melbourne more than 11 times annual earnings. While the maxim that house prices double every 10 years is not always the case and growth fluctuates, since 1997 Sydney prices have in effect doubled every 8 years while Melbourne has managed this every 6 years.

If the growth metrics over the last two decades play out over the next two, the average home in both Sydney and Melbourne in 2037 will exceed $6 million. Clearly, the Australian dream of home ownership for the next generation is fading. Young people today need almost three times the purchasing power that their parents needed to buy the average place, so even double incomes will not quite do it. Additionally, today’s new households are starting their earnings years later than their parents, having spent longer in tertiary studies, and they begin their economic life not with zero savings like their parents, but well into the negative- with interest accumulating study debts to pay off. Even if today’s emerging generations start saving harder and earlier and live with their parents longer, home ownership is still not a given.

Policy settings around migration and baby bonuses have grown the population and policies around property tax incentives, self-managed superannuation and investment provisions have fuelled property demand therefore policy support will be required to bring the great Australian dream a little bit closer to reality.

Sources: Population at 2017 (ABS). 1997 prices: Macquarie University (Abelson). 2017 house prices: Core Logic. Analysis: McCrindle

Understanding Generation Y Globally and Locally

Monday, February 20, 2017

Generation Pessimism

We think of the younger generations having youthful idealism and optimism yet the 2017 Global Millennial Study by Deloitte shows that the 20’s and early 30-somethings are not feeling optimistic. Just 1 in 4 believes the year ahead will see an improvement politically and again a minority- only 1 in 3 believe we will see an uptick economically.

Where’s our share?

While it is little surprise that their number one concern is terrorism/political tension (56% are concerned), the second biggest concern (43%) is income inequality. There is a strong feeling amongst Generation Y (Millennials) that they are being left behind in this era of flat wages growth and massive home and living cost increases. Our recent ABS income and wealth analysis shows that Gen Y as a whole have 7% of Australia’s private wealth while they are more than twice this (15%) of the population while the older Boomers have an economic share three times that of their population share. There is a growing series of forecasts indicating that this may well be the first generation since the Great Depression which will end up behind their parents economically.

Big challenges but are they too big…

This study shows that Millennials, particularly in the developed world feel somewhat disempowered with a sense of high responsibility yet low influence to shape the challenges of the environment, social equality and direction of the country. They are key contributors to society and believe that working within the system rather than radically fighting against it in a revolutionary approach is the best way forward.

Moving on…but to full time roles

Almost 1 in 2 (48%) expect to leave their current role within 2 years while less than 1 in 3 (31%) plan on still being there in 5 years. While the gig economy sounds exciting, almost three times as many (70%) would prefer full time work than a freelance work life (25%). Yet the challenge for Australian Gen Y’s is that while unemployment is still quite low (5.7%), the workforce is trending away from full time roles. In the last year, the Australian economy has added 130,000 part time roles but lost 40,000 full time roles.

The dot com kids see the downside of tech

Millennials are more negative than positive when it comes to technology particularly regarding the impacts it is having in the workforce. While it aids productivity, economic growth and flexibility, the majority of this generation believe that it will force them to retrain (51%) and that it is making the workplace more impersonal and less human (53%).

But they are warm towards Gen Z

The new next generation (Gen Z, born since 1995) is well regarded by Gen Y with most Y’s (53%) believing that the next generation will positively transform the workplace. They also believe that Gen Z are well equipped and “futureproofed” in the workplace because of their creativity, flexibility and engaging leadership style.

WATCH MARK'S FULL INTERVIEW ON WEEKEND SUNRISE 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!

McCrindle Research Pack Update

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

At McCrindle we are engaged by some of the leading brands and most effective organisations across Australia and internationally to help them understand the ever-changing external environment in which they operate, and to assist them in identifying and responding to the key trends.

Our forecasts identify trends, our strategy informs decisions, and our research futureproofs organisations. In our most recent Research Pack you can find out information on what we do and how we do it. The pack provides an outline of our research focus, tools, output, solutions and research rooms. Additionally, the pack also includes information on our research-based communication services including media commentary and our McCrindle Speakers team, as well as an overview of our clients and case studies.

To find out more about what we do and the services we offer, check out our most recent Research Pack!

Contact us

If you have any research or speaking enquiries, please feel free to get in contact us via:

E: info@mccrindle.com.au

P: 02 8824 3422

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