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.


Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


royal influence leader forecasting rich 1994 PSI ABS changing face of sydney social enquiry sydneysiders educated society trends housing trends property debate the changing face of mccrindle in the media wages ferry change royal baby train offenders Gen X christianity McCrindle Speakers the australian dream know the times Northern Territory menai omnibus participants mover and shaker focus groups local communities salary click System's Architect royal family royal Love consumer NSW Tuesday Trends safe pyrmont litter cost of living award Netflix forum housing office opening Population Clock outsourcing February 16 children thought leadership social issues Australian Families tips sunburnt country communication car vegetarian learn house futurist google for education HSC contiki survey design divorce Australian demographics sports suburbs mortgage list growth economy Assistant Store Manager easter baby boomers personal growth marrickville Caregiver EFF demographic trends internship household sun cars office space christmas fresh australian communities trends report Duchess of Cambridge income christian aged care stay home define earnings the hills 1968 social researchers school satisfaction customer collaborative study daily telegraph church rise of local conference presentation retirement insights huffington post research data going out Australian Communities Trends workforce researcher crows nest speakers year 7 quote moderators guide 1980 Christmas lunch product land of the middle class culture poker master skills mateship baby name predictions plans identity commute deloitte gen z high school optimistic networking business index school faux-ciliser brands unaffordable teachers mccrindle research 2016 census results Crime Rates award winner Christmas presents infographic wall wealth and income social trends financial dreams housing affordability socialites supply and demand census fail teacher investing IT Specialists group visualisation Mark McCrindle proactive equip selfie Do It Yourself challenge infographic social commentator ACT Generation X educhat trends office summer responsive REIV National Conference twentyseventeen father's day housing growth video Res Vis entrepreneurs of today sydney hills sydneycity society Queensland paying to work Sydney 40 million marriage trends of 2017 prince george sustainable resilience baby names report anzac national wealth brand demographer increasing densification Christchurch Financial Planning Week earn Northern Beaches Christian School training rent Australian Home media release communications toys Research Executive crime poor post rationalism entrepreneur suburban living property price volunteers food townhouses Generation Y ease of travel travelling population milestone optus my business awards Northern Beaches WA education sector states sydney metro analysis tertiary education housing market Australian Trends 2016 baby name trends woolworths social impact Australian Dream meals trends analyst future friendship education future Valentine’s Day Australian Census young people relevant Queensland: QLD new york times men DIY environmental scanning leadership market research nfp millenials Australians students social research research services shifts financial future publication experience qualitative research generations sector wide study 2016 census mccrindle tea buildings logan media activity community leadership workshop aussie culture census 2016 megatrends tattoos monarchy workshop local australians staying home more motivate university winter work mates ideas aged care puzzle rule keeper home emerging generations overcast urban living index relational hobart eliane miles new office politics tv medicine growing population online JOMO area consumerism annual income gender DESTEL census results shopping insight focus group ACF story national crime rates employment apartment economic report shopper's pick youth unemployment dare to dream travel news Scouts results snapshot government public speaking social researcher 10 years World Water Day data financial wolloomooloo education Geoff Brailey cloudy days public speaker balance divorce rate interactive cooking brisbane tuesday kate middleton winter blues transport jobs energy religion financial fears Australian Bureau of Statistics weekly earnings research pack thrive sydney speaker family Christmas season conference speaker pharmacy marketing lifestyle cost hello fresh South Australia Western Australia village data analyst Melbourne data visualisation neutral bay Word Up Tasmania millennials priorities public holiday professional development learning jobs of the future investor shbc baby boom work-life Real Estate Institute of Victoria tableau bondi women gen alpha mobile not-for-profit typical australian hills shire event program wellbeing mining boom princess charlotte house price Real Estate Financial Planning Association of Australia cancelling event forecast schools Wodonga slideshare bus in depth interviews newspaper ageing population work 24,000,000 daily commute community engagement resource personalities suburb fears grandparents charity google households generation happiness friends australian communities forum entrepreneurial not for profit group session affordability families employers learner social media Deaths the hills shire Aussies finance census Wagga Wagga sunny days TDE 2012 brand experience high density water CBD bureau 2017 staying in ashley fell manly New South Wales global workplace culture Merry Christmas 23 million authenticity panel cold non profit Channel Seven sydney event business hornsby world cancelling plans New Zeland future proof environment cartodb high density living culturally diverse Tuesday Trend ACF 2016 earning population ashley mckenzie REIV Conference owning a home cancel plans communicate affordable VIC seasons Adelaide in the media SA rain state ultimo Kirsten Brewer eliane etiquette social life lalor park global generations Australia Day 2017 The Daily Edition child care future of education mentor marriages emerging trends pharmacies mccrindle generation Z innovation community event research presentation ipswich language cultural diversity online shopping goal year 12 parenting rising house prices schools students urban living Wellington Canberra teaching engagement low density teach couple engage vegemite financial independence home ownership geomapping renting Gen Y "know the times" 2013 NT sentiments GPO perth healthy future rental stress australia trends of 2016 waverton urban taskforce education research teleworking Australia Day blaxland media commentary professional services university degree organisational culture house price rise budget demographic English average aussie population growth dream house prices baby statistics Aussie domestic collaboration 24 million education future report social shifts darwin celebration facts stats spend social lives visual investment 2014 keynote Australian communities workplace career debt storytelling parents survey conference potts point future proofing population map residents goals sector social analysis NEETs school students builders conferences demographic transformations clothing communities sector wide baby name optus city internships weather events Social Trend staff millionth criminal youth generation alpha FPA FOMO acf15 wedding 2015 Territory organisations innovative hopes Kiwi mythbusting real Bathburst graphs future-proof emerging technologies The ABC of XYZ case study small business New Zealand ageing gold coast socialising presentations wealth distribution property market faux-cilise future of work media #censusfail repayments capital city careers follow professional commuters Northern beaches Event TAS Australian schools meetings names Financial Planning Association 2020 australian social research easy rider January 26th renter of the future social norwest victoria coffee wealth generational trends national private wealth social commentary cash Engineering Manager moreton bay life alpha curiosity greatness mythbusters Education Future Forum 1975 professional speaker social change Charlotte SMSF Channel 7 Hornsby Shire Council Royals young australians trend home owner student narcissism middle class mother's day tea wage keynote speaker global financial crisis Births dreaming internet baby names technology learning styles trend tuesday faux-cilising the average aussie recap wealth and income distribution Sydney keynote speaker capital cities research visualisation entertainment urban intern digital baby names australia report demographics holiday world youth day dessert unemployment ethnography living Myth high density apartments long weekend holidays