Event Recap: Making sense of the census

Thursday, June 29, 2017

It was an eventful morning at the McCrindle office this morning as we welcomed local businesses who were interested in getting up to date with the just-released census data and what it means for their organisation. The morning kicked off with a delightful breakfast to welcome our guests and some time for networking.

After a warm welcome from our MC, Ashley Fell, Mark McCrindle talked through the census data and introduced our brand-new infographic based on the newest numbers from the 2016 Census.

Next it was over to our Director of Research, Eliane Miles, who showed us what the data means for us and how to practically use the ABS website and the tools within the site.

We’d like to say a big thank you to the attendees who made this a successful census briefing. Be sure to look out for our future events taking place in Sydney! If you're interested in having one our McCrindle Speakers present at your next event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Melbourne’s population growth and the challenges for cemeteries

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Australia’s population is growing. We are currently experiencing a baby boom, with births exceeding 300,000 a year. But we are also ageing. 30 years ago, the over 65s made up just 11% of our population. Today they make up 15% of our population, and in a decades time this cohort will make up 18% of our population.

Australia’s growing and ageing population means that the increase in deaths is growing even faster than the population growth rate. Within a decade there will be 100,000 more deaths in Australia each year (232,000) than we had each year, just a decade ago (132,000).

Melbourne is currently the fastest growing city in Australia with a population growth rate of 1.9%. By the middle of this century it will overtake Sydney to be Australia’s largest city when it will also be the city with the highest annual deaths. A decade ago, Melbourne saw around 25,000 deaths per year but in a decade this number will be almost 45,000 each year- a massive increase.

When it comes to arranging a funeral, our research shows that cost is the biggest influencer – even above religion, culture and family traditions. That is why 2 in 3 Australians now have a preference for cremations, but 1 in 3 are still be opting for burial. So even with the increasing trend towards cremations, there will still be more people being buried in 10 years’ time than we had 10 years ago.

References: Deaths Australia (ABS), McCrindle Research Deaths and Funerals in Australia

About Ashley Fell

Ashley Fell is a social researcher, trends analyst and Team Leader of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms, content creation and event management, Ashley is well positioned to advise how to achieve cut-through in these message-saturated times. Her expertise is in training and equipping leaders and teams on how to communicate across generational barriers.

With academic qualifications in communications and experience in leading the communications strategy at McCrindle, Ashley brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting.

To have Ashley speak at your next event, feel free to contact Kimberley Linco on 02 8824 3422 or kim@mccrindle.com.au.

Sydney at 5 million and the growth of The Hills Shire

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sydney has now officially hit a new population milestone of 5 million, and almost half of the population (2.2 million) reside in the 14 local government areas that make up Western Sydney of which The Hills is one.

If Western Sydney was a city in its own right, it would be the 4th largest city in Australia after Melbourne, the rest of Sydney, and Brisbane. While Western Sydney is just slightly smaller than Brisbane’s population of 2.3 million, it is growing 30% faster than Brisbane.

The population of The Hills is greater than the population of Darwin, and the two local government areas of Blacktown and The Hills have a combined population almost the same size as the entire state of Tasmania. This growth is evident in the increasing development seen around the Hills. The increasing urbanisation has raised the density of The Hills to 4.15 people per hectare, above Hornsby Shire’s 3.69 and well above Hawkesbury’s 0.24.

What differs the hills to the rest of Sydney?

The Hills Shire is now almost 10% larger than that recorded in the 2011 Census. Not only is the Hills population growing faster than the national growth rate, but the average household is significantly larger than the Australian average (3.1 compared to 2.6 people per household) and the district is home to a higher proportion of students, university educated adults and full time workers than both the national and state averages. The region is more culturally diverse with 3 in 5 residents having at least one parent born overseas compared to less than half of Australians nationally. The proportion of school-age children locally is 20% higher than the Sydney average, and those in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are similarly well above the greater-Sydney average.

Age gap in the Hills Shire

There is a hole in the Hills’ demographic, a 15-year gap in the numbers of locals aged 23 to 38. This missing group, neatly lining up with Generation Y, is a staggering 20% smaller than is average across the rest of Sydney. In fact, while there has been an increase in numbers of almost every age group over the 5 years between the last two Census reports, for the mid 20’s to mid-30’s there has actually been a decrease in numbers.

Entrepreneurial hotspot

The Sydney Hills is also an entrepreneurial hotspot, with 32,191 actively trading local businesses. So while the local population represents less than 0.7% of Australia, the number of businesses is more than twice this share at 1.5% of all Australian businesses. And with the new transport infrastructure, commercial constructions and emerging urban centres, the number of new business start-ups in the Hills will only grow.

The future of the Hills Shire

The future for the Hills will include more pockets of urbanisation which will create options for those looking for apartment living, walkable communities and a café culture. However, the size and diversity of the area will mean that the suburban and semi-rural nature of other parts will remain and the overall density will never reach the highs of local government areas like Parramatta which currently has 27.48 people per hectare. Not too many parts of Australia offer high-density living options just 10 minutes’ drive from acreage. Little wonder The Hills is one of the fastest growing regions in NSW.

Mark McCrindle will present the results of the 2017 Hills Business PSI, the third year of this study this Friday at the Sydney Hills Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Lunch at which the Premier will deliver the keynote address.

If you would like a copy of the full Hills PSI Report please let us know and we will make it available after Friday’s launch.

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

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

Supply and demand; Australia as an ageing nation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017



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


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


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


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


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

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


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



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


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


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

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

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


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

Generation Y and Housing Affordability

Monday, October 24, 2016

As Australia’s leading social researchers, the senior research team at McCrindle are actively involved in media commentary. Last week our Principal, Mark McCrindle and Team Leader of Communications, Ashley McKenzie were featured in the media about Generation Y and their ability to access the housing market in Sydney.

Generation Y are today’s 22 – 36 year olds, and make up 22% of the Australian population (5.22 million). They also make up the largest cohort in the current workforce (34%). Gen Y’s are comprised of today’s parents, senior leaders, influencers, and increasingly wealth accumulators. With 1 in 3 being university educated (compared to 1 in 5 Baby Boomers), they have grown up in shifting times and are digital in nature, global in outlook and are living in accelerated demographic times.

While Generation Y are often accused of living a lavish lifestyle, which supposedly locks them out of the property market, it is important to remember that traditional expense categories such as food, transport, health and housing costs are higher for younger people today than that experienced by their parents at the same age. A generation ago the average house price was 5 times annual average earnings while today the average house price is 13 times the average annual full-time earnings.

Here is a quick snapshot of last week’s media coverage:

Housing Affordability Debate

"From the Baby Boomer perspective, they worked hard, they earned what they had but I can also see the Gen Y perspective. The reality is that it's a lot harder to buy a home, the costs have gone up. Gen Y do have to pay off the debt of their degree and there are new categories of spend; technology, internet and phone, costs that their parents didn’t have."  

Parental help becoming essential for young people trying to buy property

"Ms McKenzie, who works for social researcher Mark McCrindle, said borrowing from parents was becoming Sydney’s “new normal”. “Baby Boomers control about 50 per cent of the nation’s wealth so it makes sense young people look to their parents for help,” she said." 

For any media enquiries please email us at info@mccrindle.com.au, or call our offices on +61 2 8824 3422. To arrange a media interview or if you are a journalist and would like to receive our media updates, please email kim@mccrindle.com.au.

The Australian Communities Forum 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

On Thursday 13th October 2016, McCrindle Research and R2L & Associates are hosting The Australian Communities Forum at Customs House in Sydney. This one day event is focused on delivering to not-for-profit organisations and community focused businesses the key demographic and social trends transforming Australian communities, and how organisations can best engage in these changing times.

Held since 2012 this annual event provides compelling case studies, the latest research, practical workshops and importantly, great networking over morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Come and hear Mark McCrindle launch the 2016 Australian Communities Report, as well as engaging content and fantastic networking opportunities. This not to be missed event will equip leaders in community engagement with the latest insights into 21st Century Australian Communities.

Purchase your early bird ticket today.

OUr speakers

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. 

Terrence Mullings (MC)

Terrence is a lively TV and Radio personality with a unique ability to communicate and truly connect with his audience. A regular guest on The Morning Show, he currently works as a Radio Announcer on HOPE 103.2 as well as TV presenter on Positive Hits TV/Radio. Terrence has previously been a presenter on Channel 10 (the Circle), Chanel 9 Morning and also live T.V host on TVSN. Terrence created and produced music video show: “Positive Hits,” which currently airs worldwide. Terrence is in the business of “communication” and utilises a variety of platforms: TV, Radio, Speaking Events, and even speaking from "The Pulpit ".

Andy Gourley

Andrew Gourley is the Founder and CEO of Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network. He started the Red Frog Program in 1997, after seeing the need for a chaplaincy service to safe guard teenagers and young adults. This Chaplaincy Network is now the largest support network in Australia for schoolies, festivals and universities students. Currently the Red Frog Chaplaincy program for Schoolies is located in 17 different locations around Australia and coordinates over 4000 volunteers to run its programs. 

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 mega trends 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. 

Josh Hawkins

Josh is the founder and creator of Hi Josh. Which is one of those things that sounds more impressive than it actually is. He enjoys talking in third person and making YouTube videos. He made a few viral videos and now gets recognised at the local McDonalds by Luke, one of the employees. Across various social media platforms Josh has received over 50 million views in the last year, and has a global audience of about 50,000 people over YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat etc.

Nic Bolto

Nic Bolto is an executive coach and consultant specialising in entrepreneurship, strategy execution and change. Nic assignments have included senior government, corporate and not for profit change projects including Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, The Salvation Army, Bupa and the NSW Baird government with Minister Dominello's recent value rediscovery for their social health portfolio. As a Churchill Fellow, Melbourne Business School graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Nic brings significant expertise to the acquisition of goals that are important to community and the people within them, to organisations, to charities and to their donors.

Caitlin Barrett

Caitlin is the founding CEO of Love Mercy, and has a passion for Love Mercy's women in Uganda and about bringing about real change within communities in poverty. Caitlin was committed to setting up the Love Mercy Foundation when Olympic runner and Love Mercy Founding Director Eloise Wellings came back from her first trip to Uganda after meeting Julius Achon and navigated the minefields of the not-for-profit sector. Caitlin worked in a volunteer capacity for three years until becoming the first paid full-time staff member in 2015.

James Ward

James is a Director of NBRSARCHITECTURE and a member of the Executive Leadership Team. James' strength is in understanding complex situations and developing management strategies to guide the development of improved outcomes that can change the way people think and live. With a strong background in senior executive management and strategic planning in both for-profit; fast moving consumer goods and the not-for-profit industry sectors, James has been involved with many varied commercial situations.

Ashley Fell

Ashley Fell is a social researcher and Team Leader of Communications at McCrindle. As a trends analyst she understands how organisations can communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage and motivate them. From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms, content creation and event management, Ashley is well positioned to advise how to achieve cut through in these message-saturated times. Her expertise is in training leaders and teams on how to communicate across generational barriers.

Bryce Davies

Bryce has been a Salvation Army Officer for 22 years. For 9 years he worked in The Salvation Army Bridge program focusingon Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation in both Adelaide and Brisbane. In recent years Bryce has headed up an inner city drop in space in Fortitude valley in Brisbane that has evolved into a dynamic and functional community with a broad and effective raft of services. Bryce is now based in Sydney heading up a new project called “Communities of Hope” Assisting Salvation Army leaders develop welcoming and authentic community life.


Purchase your early bird ticket today.

McCrindle Research: Celebrating 10 Years, 2006 to 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It was late August 2006, John Howard was Prime Minister, George W Bush was the US President, the Football World Cup had just wrapped up in Germany, Facebook had just been launched to the public, and McCrindle Research began operations in a newly opened area of Norwest Business Park in Sydney.

It was just a decade ago, but what a decade of change it has been. There was no iPhone, no tablet computers, Twitter was only just being developed, YouTube was just a year old and words like “apps”, “Wi-Fi” , “memes” and “selfies” meant nothing. In the year we began our research, “hashtag” was the rarely used character on the keyboard, “the cloud” was what could be seen in the sky, things “going viral” was an issue for public health and “tablets” were medications.

When we ran our first demographic analysis soon after we began, the 2006 Census had only just been held, and we were relying on the 2001 data which was based on the Australian population of 18.9 million compared to the 24.2 million of today.

McCrindle Research began with Mark McCrindle and a simple vision to “conduct world class research and communicate the insights in innovative ways”. Since those first days the research approach has grown from pen and paper surveys and focus groups to include online surveys, on-device surveys, data analytics, demographic and economic modelling and geomapping. True to the vision of engaging, visual output, the first person McCrindle Research employed was a designer, Mark Beard, who did an amazing job in the early months of developing a digital presence, and deploying research reports in visual forms and designing the data even before the genre of infographics existed.

Since then McCrindle has grown to be well regarded as one of the best research-based communications agencies and data designers in Australia with our research findings more likely to be presented via an event, interactive webpage, corporate keynote, infographic wall, pop-up banner, animated data video, visual report or media launch rather than just a written report.

It was in that first year that we designed “Australia’s Population Map” which has now been updated and reprinted dozens of times with hundreds of thousands in print. We love analysing numbers so here are some relating to our digital presence: we’ve had more than a third of a million YouTube views in addition to our Slideshare, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook presence, and almost a million blog and website visits. We analyse big data and create big data of our own with hundreds of research projects completed, involving thousands of focus group participants and hundreds of thousands of survey completions. 

So it has been a busy decade for us and a transformative one for our world. As we look at the decade ahead, one thing is sure: the speed of change will only increase, and we will continue to analyse the trends and effectively communicate the strategic implications to help organisations and leaders know the times.

find out more About McCrindle Research Services

Growing number of Australians moving to New Zealand

Monday, August 15, 2016

They are calling it a slice of heaven on a budget, with a growing number of Australian families packing their bags for a better life in New Zealand.

For the first time in about a quarter of a century, we have more Australians headed to New Zealand than New Zealanders heading to Australia. We aren't talking about people as retirees or as young people, but in those middle years, those family years and those key employment years, they are the ones making the move across the Tasman and heading to New Zealand.

Most of them are ending up in the Kiwi Capitol, Wellington, where you get much more bang for your buck compared to the much more expensive Auckland.

IT Specialists are in hot demand in New Zealand, and dominate the highest paying jobs. A System’s Architect have a median salary of $125,000 per year. Although an Engineering Manager isn’t all that far behind at $105,000 per year. The lowest paying jobs see Caregivers average $32,000 per year, while an Assistant Store Manager brings in $35,000 per year.

Australians are making the move because of jobs, affordable housing and a better quality of life. For a country that for so long has been tagged as Australia’s little cousin, it appears New Zealand is all grown up.

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