The Australian Communities Forum Video

Monday, November 23, 2015

On Friday 13th November, McCrindle Research and R2L&Associates were proud to present the Sydney Australian Communities Forum. The ACF featured 13 brilliant speakers and 4 jam-packed buzz-group sessions. Overall it was a brilliant and packed day. Thank you to all the expert speakers who contributed and those who attended and shared their thoughts and expertise.

Check out this video from Power Creative for a recap of the day and some of the highlights:

Australian Communities Forum, Sydney November 13, 2015 from Power Creative on Vimeo.

We then heard from Mark McCrindle on the Australian Community Trends Report where he shared the results from the national research study. This inaugural national study is based on extensive research of the Australian public as well as current donors and also national research of staff and leaders working in Australia’s not-for-profit sector.Some of these results included the National Giving Macro Segments, Giving Blockers and Enablers, the Giving Sentiment Matrix, Donor Priorities, the Donor Participation Scale, the Engagement Hierarchy, and the sector's Net Promoter Score. All delegates were given a copy of the Australian Community Trends Infographic, visualising the results below. Image of Mark by Power Creative.

Melbourne Australian Communities Forum 2015

We are now busily preparing for our Melbourne Australian Communities Forum, on Thursday 3rd December 2015. Our keynote speakers include:

View the full program here.

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.

The Australian Communities Forum Sydney 2015 Recap

Monday, November 16, 2015

Last Friday, McCrindle Research and R2L&Associates were proud to present the Sydney Australian Communities Forum. The ACF featured 13 brilliant speakers and 4 jam-packed sessions.

Claire Madden opened the event with a session on understanding the power of collaborative communities. She gave a snapshot of our changing communities, how we can understand and interpret the emerging generations and best utilise the power of collaborative communities.

Image by Power Creative

We then heard from Mark McCrindle on the Australian Community Trends Report where he shared the results from the national research study. This inaugural national study is based on extensive research of the Australian public as well as current donors and also national research of staff and leaders working in Australia’s not-for-profit sector.

Image by Power Creative

Mark’s session revealed the fascinating results including the National Giving Macro Segments, Giving Blockers and Enablers, the Giving Sentiment Matrix, Donor Priorities, the Donor Participation Scale, the Engagement Hierarchy, and the sector's Net Promoter Score. All delegates were given a copy of the Australian Community Trends Infographic, visualising the results:

R2L & Associates co-founder Jon Rose then shared the implications of these findings on the not-for-profit sector and attendees were given practical steps on how to strategically respond to these illuminating findings.

Image by Power Creative

Our keynote speakers

Partner and lawyer at DibbsBarker Fay Calderone shared key insights on how to create engaging workplace communities, and that inspiration, vision and motivation is key. Fay reminded us that in an organisation, culture will eat compliance for breakfast every time, and reiterated the need for us to build healthy and values-based workplace culture.

Image by Power Creative

Glen Gerreyn from the Hopefull Institute spoke brilliantly on the need for hope, inspiration and motivation in our teams and lives. Glen reminded us that we need to have more dreams than memories, that failing is a part of the process and encouraged us to fail forward.

Image by Power Creative

Amanda Rose from Western Sydney Women shared how we can be strategic connectors in our online and offline worlds, and how our attitude can make or break our cause.

Image by Power Creative

Equipping our delegates

The Australian Communities Forum was an interactive day based around an innovative format. After a hearty buffet lunch, delegates participated in a number of 15 minute practical buzz groups to be equipped with practical insights about engaging their communities.

Creating compassionate commercialism, Tim Surgenor, DataMotive

The power of visual storytelling, Greg Low, R2L&Associates

Using brand to engage your community, Fran Avon, Wesley Mission

Transforming communities through cultural change, Karen James, On-Purpose Hub

Putting care back into community through quality CRM, Justin Yoon, AlpaSys

Data visualisation – bringing research data to life, Ben Duffin, McCrindle

To further explore the research component of the Australian Communities Trends Report, our Future communities workshop presented the results from the environmental scan of the not-for-profit sector, where a panel of experts gave an overview of the emerging trends, challenges and opportunities which will impact Australian communities overt the decade ahead.

It was also a privilege to have Sarah Prescott, head of marketing and communications at Thankyou wrap up our conference and share with us about the inspiring Thankyou story and the journey her organisation has been on. She inspired our delegates to know the why behind what they do, and challenged us with ‘who says we have to do things the way they have been done before’?

Overall it was a brilliant and packed day. Thank you to all the expert speakers who contributed and those who attended and shared their thoughts and expertise.

Melbourne Australian Communities Forum 2015

We are now busily preparing for our Melbourne Australian Communities Forum, on the 3rd December 2015. Our keynote speakers include:

Watch this space for the program, which will be released very soon!

What attendees will hear at the Sydney Australian Communities Forum 2015

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Australian Communities Forum is happening again in Sydney in just over a week's time!


Attendees are in for an excellent, informative and interactive day. Check out our event line up below:


CLAIRE MADDEN | Research Director, McCrindle

Understanding the power of collaborative communities

Responding to the megatrends transforming Australia will ensure that organisations remain relevant in these changing times. From demographic change to generational transitions, from new technologies to emerging consumers, communities are changing and so is the workforce. This introductory session will give leaders insights into how to respond to this and create a culture of collaborative innovation.

MARK MCCRINDLE | Principal, McCrindle Research

Australian Community Trends Report; Results from the national research study

This inaugural national study reveals is based on extensive research of the Australian public as well as current donors and also national research of staff and leaders working in Australia’s not-for-profit sector. This session will reveal the fascinating results including the National Giving Macro Segments, Giving Blockers and enablers, the giving sentiment matrix, donor priorities, the donor participation scale, the engagement hierarchy and the sector’s Net Promoter Score. In addition to sharing the key insights, attendees will be given practical steps in how to strategically respond to these illuminating findings.

FAY CALDERONE | Lawyer and partner at DibbsBarker

Engaging workplace communities

Fay is a legal specialist in workplace and employment engagement. In this session she will outline how to create engaging workplace communities and effectively manage cultural change. An increasingly central community in Australian society is the workplace community and Fay will deliver insights into how to harness talent, drive purpose and alignment, and create a thriving and healthy workplace.

GLEN GERREYN | Director of the Hopefull Institute & nationally renowned youth expert & communicator

Creating community amongst the emerging generations

Hear from one of Australia’s most prolific youth communicators as he defines the key challenges facing the emerging generations and the most effective strategies to engage, inspire, influence and lead this emerging generation of supporters, volunteers and staff members.

STEPH PRESCOTT | Head of Marketing and Communications, Thankyou

The Thankyou story

Thankyou is an Aussie success story, not only because of the growth of this water, food and products company, but the business model it utilises to impact and fund impoverished communities. In this inspiring closing session, Sarah will outline the Thankyou model for empowering everyday Australians to change the world through simple choices in their everyday life. She will share what has made Thankyou a household name through creating effective, fresh and motivating marketing that cut through the noise and achieved something great.

AMANDA ROSE | CEO of The Business Woman Media & Founding Director of Western Sydney Women

Growing communities through strategic connections and social communications

Amanda is an expert strategic connector and uses the power of social media and digital technologies to create communities, empower individuals and network organisations. In this session she will discuss the power of strategic connections, how to build an online presence and how to grow relationships to build staff, customer and client communities.


TIM SURGENOR | Founding Director, DataMotive

Creating compassionate commercialism

One of Australia’s most important community trends is the rise of social enterprises; entrepreneurial organisations which operate to empower communities and make a difference for those in need. As the founder of DataMotive, Tim will share his story of building a business that transforms communities as well as highlighting how other organisations can utilise “impact-sourcing” and ethical buying to not only manage their costs but support ultra-poor communities.

GREG LOW | Co-founder, R2L

The power of visual story telling

Greg is an expert at helping organisations tell their story, especially through visual communications. With professional skills both behind the camera as well as in shaping campaigns and advising not-for-profits, he has a depth of experience in helping organisations create engaging content and telling their brand story.

FRAN AVON | Executive Manager, Communications, Fundraising and Volunteering, Wesley Mission

Using brand to engage your community

In this session, Communications Manager Fran Avon at Wesley Mission has just led the organisation through a significant rebrand. As one of Australia’s leading charities, this process for Wesley was complex and the insights that has come from the journey are very useful for other organisations.

KAREN JAMES | Founder, CEO & author of On Purpose Hub

Transforming Communities through Cultural Change

Karen is an expert in creating cultural change in business communities and was instrumental in the establishment of CommBank’s Women in Focus community. In this session she will share how to manage change, build community and shape the business world through contagious leadership.

JUSTIN YOON | Director, AlphaSys

Putting the care back into community through CRM

Justin has founded one of Australia’s leading Salesforce CRM implementation and integration specialists with a strong focus on the non-profit sector. His consultative approach helps organisations use the right technologies to drive effective acquisition, engagement and achievement of mission.

BEN DUFFIN | Research Visualisation Manager, McCrindle

The 5 essentials to visualise reports and bring research data to life

In an era of big data and information overload, the challenge for organisations is to deliver quality content in a compelling way. In this session, Ben Duffin, who leads the renowned research visualisation output of McCrindle, will provide insights into how to effectively communicate using visual tools.


Education Future Forum

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bringing together thinkers and leaders in education, innovation & future thinking.

The Education Future Forum is an opportunity for educational leaders and practitioners to engage in the dialogue around the future needs, trends and directions in education. The day will inform and inspire those who are seeking to understand this generation and simultaneously envision a school where the learning captures the hearts and minds of young people. There will also be the opportunity to tour Northern Beaches Christian School, to see students and teachers in action and view the learning spaces.

The forum will deliver key insights and practical applications in the areas of student engagement, teaching and learning, developing strategic plans, learning space design, emerging leadership and policy shift redefining 21st century education.

Event Information

Date: 2016
Place: Northern Beaches Christian School (1 Echunga Road, Terrey Hills, Sydney NSW 2084)
Cost: (All prices include GST) Earlybird: $199 Full Registration: $249
Click Here for more information 

The presenting team:

STEPHEN HARRIS | Principal, Northern Beaches Christian School

Future-Proofing Your School

Stephen Harris is principal of Northern Beaches Christian School, and Director of the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning. In 2011 he was Secondary Principal of the Year (NSW) in the Australian Awards for Outstanding Teaching and School Leadership. Stephen has been in school-based education for 34 years, with teaching experience across almost every grade from Kindergarten to Year 12. His firm belief is that every student should love learning, and that it is the responsibility of schools to relentlessly seek to engage students. Stephen blogs at

MARK MCCRINDLE | Social Researcher, McCrindle Research

Emerging Trends in Education

Mark McCrindle is a social analyst, internationally renown for tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. A regular commentator for prominent media channels, 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 various television shows. His advisory firm counts amongst its clients more than 100 of Australia's largest companies and he is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia's leading organisations.

CLAIRE MADDEN | Social Researcher, McCrindle Research

Future Students: Engaging Generation Z

Claire Madden is a TEDx speaker, social commentator, futurist and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. Claire effectively bridges the gap between the emerging generations and the business leaders and educators of today. She is a next-gen expert, fluent in the social media, youth culture, and engagement styles of these global generations, and a professional in interpreting what this means for educators, managers and marketers. With academic qualifications in communications and postgraduate studies in leadership, Claire brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting.

ANNE KNOCK | Director of Development, Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning

Implementing a Culture of Change

With a background in education, Anne heads up the SCIL team, and works closely with the senior leadership team at Northern Beaches Christian School to ensure that innovation is embedded in its DNA. Anne has worked as a teacher at some of Sydney's leading independent schools, held roles in the not-for-profit sector and was the NSW State Executive Officer at Christian Schools Australia.

STEVE COLLIS | Director of Innovation, Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning

Designing Physical, Virtual and Cultural Spaces for Learning

As the Director of Innovation at Northern Beaches Christian School and a key member of the SCIL team, Steve plays a pivotal role in working with teachers to transform pedagogy and redesign the learning experience. Steve joined NBCS in 2002 teaching English and French, and quickly attracted recognition in awards for 'Excellence by a Teacher' (National Quality Schools Awards) and 'Microsoft Innovative Teacher of the Year.' Now, with SCIL, Steve is in demand as a presenter / facilitator as he shares his knowledge and works with educators around Australia.

The Australian Communities Forum 2015

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Australian Communities Forum is happening again in Sydney and Melbourne 2015!

The ACF exists to help organisations understand and connect with their communities. From local, staff, constituent, membership, customer and special interest communities, this forum is focused on how to build, shape and engage communities in all their diversity.



Whether you’re part of a community-based organisation, a charity, a government agency or a commercial organisation with a community focus, the Australian Communities Forum will deliver the latest information in an interactive format, with innovative local examples, and the sharing of great ideas.

At the one day Australian Communities Forum you will hear:

  • Results from the Australian Communities National Research study
  • Case studies of innovative community engagement projects
  • Practical, best practice workshops providing innovative strategies to equip and empower
  • Keynote sessions on volunteer engagement, motivating teams, generational change, segmentation engagement and effective public and media communication strategies.

Stay tuned for more information on guest keynote speakers, the program and more!

Keep up to date with The Australian Communities Forum 2015 on Facebook.

The Changing Face of South East Queensland

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Brisbane, capitol of the sunshine state and Queensland’s river city. It’s fascinating to see how far Brisbane has come and where it’s heading. In 2004, Brisbane’s population was at 949,935, today that number reaches 1,140,000, in 2036 that number is expected to hit 1,400,000 and greater Brisbane will explode to 3,300,000.

Brisbane is adding 40,000 new people every year, that’s adding one new Rockhampton every two years! Brisbane is certainly more culturally connected and more globally influenced than it used to be.

70.5% of residents are aged 15-64, 11.9% are aged 65 and over, 17.6% are children aged 0-14 and just under a third of Brisbane’s population is aged 25-44. There are 40 retirement and aged care facilities under construction worth more than 800 million dollars.

Immigration is also changing Brisbane, more than a quarter (28.3%) of the population of Brisbane’s residents are immigrants. In Springhill, the number one language other than English is Spanish.

Residents living in Dutton Park and Fairfield have increased their use of public transport from 7% to 23% in the last 10 years and Brisbane has one of the highest rates of car ownership in the country with 54% of all households having at least two cars.

THE CHANGING FACE OF Brisbane Part one:

The Changing Face of brisbane part two:

The Changing Face of the gold coast:

The Changing Face of IPSWICH:

The Changing Face of logan:

The Changing Face of Moreton bay:

Generation Alpha: Mark McCrindle Q & A with the New York Times

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Q. So what comes after Generation Z - and how were they named?

When I was researching my book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations (published in 2009) it became apparent that a new generation was about to commence and there was no name for them. So I conducted a survey (we’re researchers after all) to find out what people think the generation after Z should be called and while many names emerged, and Generation A was the most mentioned, Generation Alpha got some mentions too and so I settled on that for the title of the chapter Beyond Z: Meet Generation Alpha. It just made sense as it is in keeping with scientific nomenclature of using the Greek alphabet in lieu of the Latin and it didn’t make sense to go back to A, after all they are the first generation wholly born in the 21st Century and so they are the start of something new not a return to the old.

Q. Will these generational labels survive the test of time?

I have found from my generational research that generic labels rather than descriptive ones are likely to last. Names like the Baby Boomers, which describe a unique demographic phenomenon at the birth of a generation, or even Millennials, based on the timing when the leading edge were coming of age, are aberrations. A label like Gen X, Gen Z and Gen Alpha provide a blank canvas on which a generation can create their own identity rather than have a descriptive label, relevant for just a segment of the cohort or for a period of time, pinned on them. And while some Gen Xers bemoan that label, for a while there it was “slackers” and “baby busters”, and labels like “latch key kids” and “the MTV generation” as they were also called seem ridiculous for this generation turning 50 this year. Similarly for the Millennials or Gen Y- labels like “the dot com kids” and “the iPod generation” are short-sighted.

Read Mark’s interview in The New York Times here.

Q. Are companies and marketers already starting to focus on this demographic?

There are more than 2.5 million Gen Alphas born globally every week. When they have all been born (2025) they will number almost 2 billion. They start school next year and will be the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology supplied generation ever, and globally the wealthiest generation ever. They will comprise the largest generation of middle class consumers our world has ever seen and they are also “upagers” – older younger and influencing parental purchasing earlier and so it is no surprise that marketers are trying to better understand and prepare for this generation.

Q. How do you try to gather intelligence about a group of people this young?

We can learn a fair bit about them by analysing some key area starting with the demographics which gives us some forward forecasts: age of parents (older), cultural mix (more diverse), socioeconomics (slightly wealthier), family size (smaller), life expectancy (longer). Then there is the research of their parents, the Millennials (or Generation Y) which gives us a sense of how they will be raised (moving more frequently, career changing, materially endowed, technologically supplied, outsourcing aspects of parenting such as child care etc). Finally there is the analysis of the youngsters themselves and their formative years and we can learn a lot from this too (app-based play, increased screen time, shorter attention spans, digital literacy but less social formation etc).

Q. Technology was obviously a defining factor for Generation Y and has been even more so for Generation Z. How much more tech-intensive can the lives of Generation Alpha possibly become and what might be the consequences?

Generation Alpha are part of an unintentional global experiment where screens are placed in front of them from the youngest age as pacifiers, entertainers and educational aids. This great screenage in which we are all living has bigger impacts on the generation exposed to such screen saturation during their formative years. They began being born in 2010, the year the iPad was launched, Instagram was created and App was the word of the year and so have been raised as screenagers to a greater extent than the fixed screens of the past could facilitate. For this reason we also call them Generation Glass because the glass that they interact on now and will wear on their wrist, as glasses on their face, that will be on the Head Up Display of the car they learn to drive on, or the interactive school desk where they learn will transform how they work, shop, learn, connect and play. We were raised in a world where glass was something you looked through but for them it is something you look at. For us it was “hands off the glass” but for this kinaesthetic generation, glass is a hands on medium. Not since Gutenberg transformed the utility of paper with his printing press in the 15th Century has a medium been so transformed for learning and communication purposes as glass- and it has happened in the lifetime of Generation Alpha.

Read Mark’s interview in The New York Times here.

What are some other social factors, beyond technology that seem likely to shape the Generation Alpha identity?

They are upagers in many ways: physical maturity is on setting earlier so adolescence for them will begin earlier- but beyond the physical, social, psychological, educational, commercial sophistication begins earlier- which can have negative as well as positive consequences. Interestingly for them while adolescence begins earlier, it extends later. The adult life stage, once measured by marriage, children, mortgage and career is being pushed back. This generation will stay in education longer, start their earning years later and so stay at home with their parents later than was previously the case. The role of parents therefore spans a longer age range- often still with the adult kids at home even into their late 20’s. This generation will no doubt stay with this trend and in Australia we’ve labelled the stay at home 20-somethings the KIPPERS which stands for Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings!

What comes after Generation Alpha?

Generational definitions are most useful when they span a set age range and so allow meaningful comparisons across generations. That is why we define the generations by the following years of birth:

Baby Boomers: 1946-1964

Generation X: 1965-1979

Generation Y (Millennials) 1980-1994

Generation Z: 1995-2009

Generation Alpha: 2010-2024

And so it follows that Generation Beta will be 2025-2039.

If the nomenclature sticks then we will afterwards have Generation Gamma and Generation Delta etc but we won’t be getting there until the second half of the 21st Century so there is plenty of time to reflect on the labels!

Read Mark’s interview in The New York Times here.


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.

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:

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