Myth Busting and Fact Checking – Analysis of 5 statements on Australia’s Demographics

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We've set out to do some myth-busting on Australian demographics just in time for Australia Day. From the "land of the long weekend" to "Australia as the sunburnt country", social researcher, Mark McCrindle reveals the facts on Australian demographics.

There are more New Zealanders living in Australia than in wellington

In 2014, 617,000 New Zealand born individuals were recorded to be living in Australia. New Zealand’s 3 largest cities by population are Auckland with over 1.4 million, Wellington (398,300) and Christchurch (381, 800). Therefore, there are far more New Zealanders that call Australia home than Wellington or Christchurch home.

Yet at the same time, 62,712 Australian-born individuals lived in New Zealand with approximately 20,000 Australian-born individuals living in Auckland.

In the month of April 2015, there was a net inflow of 100 migrants from Australia to New Zealand. This was the first month that NZ experienced a net gain of individuals from Australia since 1991.

Even though the growth of New Zealanders living in Australia has slowed, there are indeed more New Zealanders living in Australia than the entire populations of Wellington and Christchurch.

Australia, the land of the long weekend

While Australia is sometimes called the land of the long weekend, the number of public holidays in Australia still falls well behind many other countries around the world. India, has 21 public holidays a year, ranking them the country with the most public holidays. This is followed by South-East Asian countries which average between 11 and 15 public holidays a year. On the other end of the spectrum, the UK, Spain and Canada only have 8 public holidays a year. Furthermore, under Australian workplace law, full time employees are granted 20 annual leave days per year, while workers in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Finland are given 30 days of leave.

In most years, Australia has 3 long weekends (Easter Monday, Labour day and Queens birthday), and while there are other countries with more holidays and annual leave, it is certainly part of our national culture that Australians make the most of these long weekend holidays offered throughout the year.

Australia as the ‘sunburnt country’

A ‘Sunburnt Country’ might be categorised by a hot and dry climate. While Australia has gained its reputation as the sunburnt country from the famous poem “My Country”, how does it fair among the other countries around the world?

With a scale from 1 to 11 for UV levels, Sydney has an average UV level of 6.2 over the year while Darwin has the highest average level of 10.75. On the other side of the world, cities like Los Angeles also recorded average UV levels of 6.3, but Paris only registered an average UV level of 3.5 over the year.

From 2011-15, Australia averaged 534mm of rainfall, but the US and UK recorded 715 and 1,220 mm of rainfall respectively.

Australia definitely has mid to high UV levels and a national rainfall far below most other developed nations. Therefore, the poetic term of Australia as the sunburnt country can be validated.

Do half of all marriages end up in divorce in Australia?

As of 2014, the number of marriages in Australia (121,197) was 9% more than the number of marriages 10 years ago. This accounted for a rate of 5.2 marriages per 1000 individuals however, over the same decade, the number of divorces in 2014 (46,498) declined by 4% since 1994, with only 2.0 divorces per 1000 individuals.

Therefore, the current divorce rate is just 38.4% of the current marriage rate and the divorce rate is falling faster than the marriage rate. Additionally, the length of those marriages that end is increasing, with the median duration to divorce being extended to 12 years compared to just 10.9-years in 1994.

Consequently, based on this analysis, it is not the case that half of all marriages end in divorce, but based on comparing national marriage and divorce rates, it can be estimated that around 1 in 3 marriages will end in divorce.  

Australia is a small business nation

The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines small businesses as those that employ between 5 and 19 people, and generally a term that encompasses micro-businesses, which employ between 1-4 people and non-employing businesses.

As of June 2014, 61% of all Australian businesses are non employing businesses. Of the employing businesses, 27% are microbusinesses, 10% are small businesses (5-19 employees), almost 2% are medium businesses (20-199 employees) and just under 1% are large businesses (200 or more).

Therefore, small businesses (including micro and non-employers) account for 98% of all actively trading businesses in Australia, there are almost 2.1 million of these small or micro enterprises, so Australia is indeed a small business nation. 


ABOUT MARK MCCRINDLE

Mark 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.


DOWNLOAD MARK'S SPEAKING PACK HERE

Which Australian major city has the best weather on Australia Day?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Australians love to celebrate Australia Day in the sun. We attend the thousands of events taking place in every suburb and council area right around Australia. It’s a relaxed day which we spend having a picnic, at the beach or watching the fireworks.

But, we know that rain can spoil all these festivities and the atmosphere around them. So which major Australian capital city has the best Australia Day weather?

An analysis of Australia Day weather data from the Bureau of Meteorology since 1900 has yielded some intriguing results over the 116 years.

Perth's Australia Day's are hardly ever rainy

Perth arguably has the best Australia Day weather, experiencing just 8 Australia Day's of rain since 1900 with an average of 2.9mm of rain falling on these days. It also has the highest average maximum temperature at 30.4°C with 61 of the past 116 Australia Days above 30°C.

In comparison, Sydney has experienced 51 rainy Australia Day's, Melbourne with 28, Brisbane, 41 and Adelaide, 17.


Australia Day temperatures most consistent in Sydney

Sydney may have recorded the rainiest Australia Day's, but when it rains, it rains significantly less than it does Melbourne and Brisbane.

The temperatures in Sydney are much more comfortable for a day out, with average temperatures of 26.6°C over the past 116 years. Sydney has only experienced 2 Australia Days above 40°C and 13 above 30°C compared with 61 and 4 for Perth respectively.


Melbourne has had the coolest maximum temperatures

On the other hand, Melbourne experiences a range of temperatures, with the lowest average maximum temperature out of the 5 major capital cities, at 25.9°C. It has experienced 21 Australia Day's where the mercury has failed to rise up 20°C but there have been 28 days of temperatures above 30°C over the past 116 years.




Brisbane experiences rainy Australia Day’s

In Brisbane, when it rains, it pours, on Australia Day as it has the wettest rainy days out of all the capital cities, with average rainfall of 22.7mm on their rainy days, compared with 5.5mm in Adelaide and just 2.9mm in Perth.

Brisbane and Adelaide have experienced average temperatures of 29.9°C and 28.5°C respectively, with 57 days reaching above 30°C in Brisbane and 39 days in Adelaide.



Depending on your preference …

So what’s the best capital city to celebrate your Australia Day? Based on the past 116 years of data, if you’re hoping for a day that feels slightly cooler, Sydney has been typically greeting Australians with a 20°C range in temperatures, but higher likelihood of wetter weather. If you’re looking for a classic, hot Australian summer’s day, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide is the destination where temperatures could reach above 30°C. Melbourne is probably the most unpredictable, where your Australia Day could take a chance at being hot like summer should be, or cold and wet instead.

24 facts about Australia at 24 million

Friday, January 22, 2016

As Australia closes in on the next population milestone of 24 million, which it will reach in February, social researcher Mark McCrindle analyses what life was like when the population was half this- and how we have changed in the 48 years since.

  1. Australia hit 12 million in 1968 and has doubled since then to hit 24 million in 2016. Over the 48 years from 1968 to 2016 Australia’s population increased by 12 million. Over the previous 48 years (1920 to 1968) the population increased by just 6.5 million.

  2. More people live in the three cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane today than lived in the whole nation in 1968.

  3. More than 1 in 3 Australians (8.6 million) have seen the population of the nation double in their lifetime.

  4. In the time that Australia’s population has doubled, (1968 to 2016), Tasmania has only increased by one-third (36%) while the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have increased more than two and a half times (252% and 263% respectively)!

  5. In 1968, there were 83,807 more males than females while today there are 121,292 more females than males
  6. 1968 = 101.3 males per 100 females

    2016 = 99.0 males per 100 females


  7. 29% of the population in 1968 was aged 0-14 compared to under 19% of the population today, however there are still 1 million more under 15’s today than then.
  8. 0-14 years

    1968: 29%, 3,486,000

    2016: 18.8%, 4, 476,045


  9. In the time that the population has doubled, the number of Australians aged over 65 has more than tripled from 8.4% of the population (1,014,000) to today’s 15% of the population (3,569,556).

  10. The rate of marriages has dropped by over 40% since 1968 from 8.8 per 1000 population to 5.2 today. However there are around 20,000 more marriages annually than the 106,000 seen in 1968.

  11. The total birth rate has decreased by a quarter since 1968, from an average of 2.34 births per woman to 1.8 today. However with a population twice as large there are far more births today, exceeding 300,000 annually compared to 240,906 in 1968.

  12. The death rate has dropped by almost 30% since 1968 and life expectancy has increased by 13.2 years for males and 10.9 years for females to now exceed 80 for males and 85 for females.

  13. Standard variable interest rates were exactly the same in 1968 as today, at 5.4% while inflation was slightly higher (2.6%) compared to today (1.5%).

  14. The male average hourly wage was $1.22 and the weekly full time wage was $48.93 which in today’s dollars is $567. The current average weekly full time earnings is almost three times this at $1,484.50.

  15. Back then 1 Australian dollar bought 1.11 US dollars compared to 0.73 US dollars today.

  16. The maximum marginal tax rate was much higher at 68.4% on $32,000 and over while for the 2015-16 financial year it is 45% on $180,000 and over. The tax free threshold has also increased from $416 ($4,800 in today’s dollars) to $18,200 today.

  17. The company tax rate was 40% for private companies and 45% for public companies while for the 2015-16 year it is 30% and 28.5% for small businesses.

  18. While our population is twice as large, our economy is five times the size it was in 1968. Back then Australia’s GDP was $28,817 million ($334,072m in today’s dollars) while for the 2014-15 financial year was $1,619,195m.

  19. Men are participating in the workforce much less (male participation rate has dropped from 83.7% to 70.8%) while women are participating much more (up from 37.7% to 59.6%).

  20. Homes cost 5 times more. The median Sydney house price was around $18,000 (in today’s dollars this equates to $195,300) compared to the current Sydney median house price which exceeds $1 million.

  21. But milk, butter and potatoes cost less today.

  22. In 1968 TV was black and white, music was played on record players and the moon had not been reached.

  23. John Farnham’s Sadie the Cleaning Lady was the top song for five weeks and 1968 was the year that Hugh Jackman and Kylie Minogue were born.

  24. The postage rate in 1968 was 5 cents for a standard letter compared to $1 today. Most suburbs had twice-daily delivery service compared to the current 3-day delivery times.

  25. In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Australia bagged 5 gold medals (17 in total) compared to an AOC target of 13 gold medals (and 37 in total) for Rio in 2016.

  26. Australia was still getting used to the new currency system, moving from the Australian pound to the Australian dollar from 1966 and we’ve gained two new coins and two new notes since then.

  27. The coins in use were the 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. There were also notes with values of $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20.

IN THE MEDIA

 

About Mark McCrindle

Mark 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.

Download Mark's speaking pack here

Sydney: One City, 300 Cultures

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sydney, a city which will soon reach 5 million people, is Australia’s most culturally diverse capital with over 2 in 5 Sydneysiders born overseas. Over half of all Sydney’s population have both parents being born overseas and over 40% speak a language other than English.

According the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data, Sydney is comprised of people from over 220 countries and significant sub-regions, with over 240 different languages spoken and residents identifying with almost 300 different ancestries.

So which areas of Sydney are the most diverse, and what suburbs have the strongest connections to various cultures?

VISUALISING DATA WITH TABLEAU

Explore Sydney in all its cultural diversity below, where you are able to select any country, language and ancestry and see where people with those characteristics choose to call home within Sydney, or simply click on your area on our McCrindle Tableau map to reveal your area’s profile!

 

The Optus Renter of the Future Report

Monday, January 11, 2016

We were delighted to have been commissioned by Optus to uncover the attitudes, behaviours and technology trends of Australian renters, to develop the Renter of the Future Report. This national research has been launched in partnership with Optus and their Home Wireless Broadband Internet offering, and revealed some interesting insights into who is renting, what defines their situation and what they are looking for in a rental property.

The report highlights that 3 in 10 renters are 'choice renters'. “There’s this idea that the great Aussie dream is to move into a home that you own and if you haven’t done that then the dream hasn’t come true for you. But with generational change that’s just not true. You’ve got a lot of people who are the choice renters because they prefer the lifestyle. And they themselves might be landlords so financially they’re rocketing ahead." - Mark McCrindle.

30% of Australians rent - that's more than own their own home outright and they are twice as likely to be living in medium and high density housing than the average Australian, are almost years younger, and move much more frequently - on average every 1.8 years.

Renters are also tech-savvy, the study showed. “Renters comprise nearly a third of Australian households. For the modern Aussie renter technology underpins and has become completely fused with their lifestyle. This group is among the first to jump onto new technologies, keeping abreast of the latest trends and, where possible, the latest devices. Accessing the internet quickly from their new rental property is a must for them." - Mark McCrindle.

Highlighting the lifestyle aspects that Australians renters seek, the top 3 best things they like about renting are:

  1. The ability to change locations easily (38%)
  2. Easier to upsize or downsize as needed (24%)
  3. Flexibility to travel for extended periods of time (18%)

When asked to list their top five lifestyle features in a home, Aussies revealed what is most important to them in a rental property:

  1. Parking (38%)
  2. Pet-friendly (32%)
  3. Cable internet (31%)
  4. A strong mobile signal (25%)
  5. Number of power points in a room (22%)

Find out more about the findings of the study in the below infographic:


This research in the media


An event recap of the Urban Living Index launch

Monday, December 14, 2015

It was a privilege for two of our team, Mark McCrindle and Annie Phillips to attend and present at Urban Taskforce’s launch of the Urban Living Index on Thursday 10th December.

The event was an opportunity to showcase the Urban Living Index and how it can be best utilised as Sydney continues to grow and increase in densification.

The Urban Living Index

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to develop The Urban Living Index, which is going to be used as an ongoing measure for 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 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. While a city can always improve, the results of the Index show that the city planning and unit development are creating thriving urban communities, as evidenced by the results that show superior liveability in high density Sydney suburbs.


To read the full report, visit the Urban Living Index website here.





Sydney’s most liveable suburbs

Crows Nest-Waverton
Surry Hills
Pyrmont-Ultimo
Marrickville
Potts Point – Woolloomooloo

In the media




Sydney Morning Herald - Measuring urban living across Sydney








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

Bringing Big Data to Life

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

At McCrindle we take big data and make it visual. Data tells a story and here are three brief ones from the world of twitter over the last week. We have used our geomapping tools, combined with social media analysis to quantify and visually display specific hashtags and handles mentioned in tweets over the last week. Every tweet including the respective term is indicated by a single flash.

A Day in the Life of #Australia and #New Zealand


This twitter analysis shows every tweet that included #Australia (indicated by a gold flash) or #New Zealand (indicated by a silver flash, and includes #NZ). It shows that while both Australia and New Zealand get mentions globally, gold is clearly in first place with silver a definite second.


A week in the life of @turnbullmalcolm versus @billshortenMP


In this analysis you can see that blue (tweets including the handle @turnbullmalcolm) gets more hits than red (tweets including the handle @billshortenMP), however there are certainly some moments (hours in real-time) when there are more red indicators than blue.


Five days of #Sydney and #Melbourne


Both Sydney and Melbourne are global cities as indicated by the location and number of tweets which include #Sydney (purple) or #Melbourne (green). While Sydney’s population (and twitterati) is only 10% larger than Melbourne’s, it dominates on the social media landscape. A look at the #Sydney tweets emanating from the US and UK shows that while both of Australia’s largest cities have international influence, Sydney, at least when measured by tweets, is more global.


What attendees will hear at the Melbourne Australian Communities Forum

Thursday, November 26, 2015

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

DOWNLOAD THE FULL EVENT PROGRAM HERE


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

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

ELIANE MILES | Research Manager, McCrindle

Australian communities in context

To introduce the day, Eliane will outline some of the key factors defining 21st century Australian communities and set some context around this national communities’ research.







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.


GEORGE SAVVIDES | CEO, Medibank Private & Chairman of World Vision Australia

The change journey; leading teams and engaging workplace communities through cultural transformation

In his thirteen years as CEO of Medibank Private, George has led the organisation from government ownership to public listing, and this IPO was the second largest in Australia’s history. He has recently transitioned this organisation which has a customer base of 3.9 million Australians to new headquarters with a layout design to create a collaborative workplace. As chair of World Vision Australia, he has also given governance to one of Australia’s best known charities in these times of unprecedented change.


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.




REBECCA KOTOW | Head of Social Impact & Community Investment, NAB

Innovating and adapting to influence change and impact communities 

In her role as head of social impact and community investment at NAB, Rebecca and her team are responsible for micro-finance, impact investment and the community engagement of one of Australia’s largest organisations. NAB is regarded as a leading innovator in not only the communities’ space, but in workplace engagement as well. Their new headquarters at Docklands and the phenomenal work space community that is The Village, along with the employee engagement programs that Rebecca leads are all great examples of people-focused innovation.


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.





SARAH 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.



THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY TRENDS INFOGRAPHIC

At the event, we will also be launching the results from the sector-wide, not-for-profit study. Mark McCrindle will deliver a presentation on the Australian Community Trends Report and will share 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. All delegates will receive a copy of the Australian Community Trends Infographic, visualising the results:

BUZZ GROUP SPEAKERS


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.



NICHOLAS BOLTO | Managing Director, Olympus Solutions

The trust factor: giving confidence to donors 

Nic is a not-profit consultant who developed The Difference Index, an annual measure which assists in credentialing charities and their impact. Nic will review what donors are looking for and ways you can qualify your marketing claims to increase donor confidence



HEATH MCSOLVIN | Director of Fundraising, CBM 

Retaining long term donors while attracting Gen Y and Z

As Director of Fundraising at CBM Australia, Heath has worked across the mainly disciplines of fundraising for more than 20 years. During that time, he’s seen the changing face of donors - how to acquire them and how to keep them! Heath will share with you some of the insights he has found in finding new ways to recruit donors and important pathways that need to be built to keep them.



JAMES MAINE and NICK HARRINGTON-JOHNSON | Monash University

The power of big data to focus and grow organisations 

James and Nicholas are Econometrics Honours students at Monash University and they have a head for numbers and a heart of not-for-profits. While organisations collect more data than ever, there are simple ways to exploit this data gold mine with traditional statistical techniques and alternatives such as text mining and sentiment analysis. In this session, they will illustrate some examples of cropping, visualising and analysing data and texts from socio media and online data sources.



NICK DUBE | Founder & Creative Director, Heartburst Digital 

Digital Storytelling and the donor experience 

As the founder and creative director of Heartburst Digital, Nick is an expert at creating a compelling brand story through online channels. Based on his extensive experience with not-for-profits, he will give insights in how little online changes can make a big communications difference.



ASHLEY MCKENZIE | Team Leader of Communications, McCrindle 

Social media tips and tricks 

In an era of message-saturation, the challenge for organisations is to deliver quality content that will cut through the noise. In this session, Ashley McKenzie, who leads the communications strategy at McCrindle, will share tips and tactics on how to best influence through social media and which platforms engage different communities.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKET TO THE MELBOURNE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITIES FORUM

FOR A VIDEO RECAP OF OUR SYDNEY EVENT ON 13TH NOVEMBER 2015:

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

Q and A: An ageing population and the birth rate

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Is Australia’s population ageing partly because there are more women remaining childless, mothers having fewer children and overall fewer babies being born?

It is true that Australia’s population is ageing with the midpoint in our population – the median age having increased from 30 to 37 in the span of 3 decades. However this is largely due to increased longevity and not at all to do with declining births.

In fact Australia is in the midst of a baby boom with the numbers of births setting new records this decade- having exceeded 300,000 births per year, every year since 2008. This is almost twice as many births as Australia experienced in 1946- the year that saw the arrival of the first Baby Boomers. While the peak of Australia’s original baby boom occurred in 1961 with a fertility rate of 3.5 (babies per 1,000 women), which is almost twice the current fertility rate of 1.9, total annual births currently exceed the 1961 record of 240,000 births by more than 60,000.

So the current baby boom is much larger than this original 16 year baby boom (1946-1961) and the total Australian births in the 16 years from 2008 will produce almost 5 million babies – around 1.5 million more than the post-war boom.

Not only are there more babies than ever, but there are more women who are mothers as well. There are more than 6.5 million Australian women aged over 18 who have given birth which is almost 70% of them. It is the case that women are having children later in life with the median age of mothers having increased from 25.5 four decades ago to 30.8 today. However the fertility rates have increased not decreased in the last decade, up from 1.7 in the early 2000’s to 1.9 today. And as for the proportion of women in Australia who will have no children in their lifetime – it remains at 1 in 4 which is a figure unchanged over a generation. Therefore of the women who will have children, the average number of children is actually 2.5.

So Australian mothers are more numerous than ever, collectively parenting more children than ever and on average raising between 2 and 3 of this largest generation in Australia’s history.

More information can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.


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