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. 


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.


Fast Facts on Marriages in Australia

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Claire Madden shares insights and quick facts about marriage in Australia, based on our 2015 Marriage and Weddings Report.

  • Whilst the marriage rate has been slowly declining over the decades, as our population grows, there are still more weddings now than there were a decade ago. We hit the peak number of weddings in 2012 with over 123,000 weddings that year.
  • The average female is getting married at 28.3 today and males at 29.9, this has been pushed back by about 5 years over the last 3 decades.

  • The total number of divorces has been declining - there are fewer now than any time in the last 20 years, as both the divorce rate and divorce numbers have been declining. 10 years ago the divorce rate was 2.7 per 1,000 people, one year ago it was 2.2. and it is now 2.1 per 1,000 people.
  • Whilst 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce, they are lasting longer than 2 decades ago. In 1993, the average length of marriages that ended in divorce was 10.7 years, today they are lasting 12.1 years on average.

  • There are on average 326 weddings across Australia per day. This swings between over 2,000 weddings on a popular Saturday to just 37 weddings on Christmas Day!
  • 77% of Australian couples cohabitate before getting married.

  • Most popular times to get married during the year are Spring and Autumn, in the months of November and March.
  • The least popular months are June and July each of which only hosts 5% of yearly marriages.
  • Popular wedding dates are on the increase, with 923 marriages held on Australia Day.

Australians and Love in the 21st Century

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Australians and Love in the 21st Century | McCrindle ResearchWith Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we at McCrindle Research were curious about how Australians experience love and relationships. In 2012, Google searches for the term “love” skyrocketed on the week of Valentine’s Day (Google Trends). This year, we expect results will be no different.

Download and read the full summary here.

Aussies on the Love Index

While some might argue that marriage in the traditional sense is no longer “in,” recently released statistics by the ABS (cat 3310.0) prove this to be untrue down under. The rate of Australians tying the knot each year is significantly more than those doing marrying in parts of North America and Europe. In 2011, 5.4 marriages per 1,000 people took place in Australia whereas only 4.4 took place in Canada, 4.3 in the UK and only 3.7 in France, the birthplace of the ‘language of love.’

Diversity of Love in Australia

As an effect of Australia’s rich and increasing multiculturalism, we are seeing an increase in the number of marriages between individuals born in different countries – from 29.0% in 1991 to 31.6% in 2011. Even greater is the increase of marriages between individuals both born in the same overseas country – from just 7.9% in 1991 to 12.6% in 2011. Australia is certainly the birthplace of love for a number of migrants initially drawn here for work opportunities, temperate climate conditions, and our laid-back Aussie spirit.

Valentine’s Day: The Time for Love?

Valentine’s Day is indeed a day of love, with an increase in both weddings and the beginning of new relationships taking place on February 14th. Whilst the day of love landed on a Monday in 2011, a weekday normally low on the total wedding count, the number of couples who tied the knot on February 14th 2011 was similar to the total number of weddings normally occurring on a Sunday at the same time of the year.

For those looking for new love leading up to Valentine’s Day, rest assured. According to Facebook Data, there are 49% more new relationships formed than break-ups taking place on February 14th, and 22% more new relationships than break-ups on February 15th. In fact, the odds are in love’s favour this month – seasonally, February is the month in which more relationships start than at any other time of the year.

Love and Lyrics

When individuals enter a new romantic relationship, there is often a song that accompanies. Around Valentine’s Day last year, the top two love songs played when entering a relationship were “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” by Jason Derulo and “Love on Top” by Beyoncé (Facebook Data). What will this year’s top love songs be? Judging by recent iTunes Charts, we might predict that “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers or “Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth might be the sounds that play from our smartphones.

Download and read the full summary here.

Mark McCrindle explains Australia Street [VIDEO]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If the seven billion people on planet Earth was shrunk to live in a single suburb, and the 23 million people in Australia lived on a single street, then what would Australia Street look like? Mark McCrindle in the following video breaks down some of the demographic and statistical data we presented in Australia Street.

Download the full infographic here. Watch the Australia Street animation below. Enjoy!

10/11/12: Super Wedding Saturday!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Weddings marriage| McCrindle Research Super Saturday for weddings as 10/11/12 drives couples down the aisle. With Spring the most popular season to tie the knot and auspicious dates highly sought after, wedding venues in Australia are bracing for a Super Saturday as 10 November 2012 (10/11/12) promises to be the most popular day of the year to say “I do!” Although the following day, 11/11/12 (and Remembrance Day at that) provides another great date not to forget.

Here McCrindle Research lists the FIVE BIG REASONS we’ll see a deluge of confetti tomorrow:

Big date

It’s clear that 10/11/12 is a special date indeed; with its rare sequence of numbers… it’s perfect for the forgetful groom to remember his anniversary for years to come!

Auspicious dates are highly sought after when it comes to weddings, with the 10/10/10 the most popular wedding date in 2010 and the 11/11/11 booming last year. Tomorrow ‘s date is also a rarity, with just one more opportunity for a sequential date this century (11/12/13 - although this date is a Wednesday)! And if you miss this date, you'll have to wait 90 more years for your next consecutive date opportunity on the 1st February 2103 (01/02/03).

Big time

It’s not only the date that will be popular, but potentially the time! If a couple marries at 12:34:56:7:89 (they’d need a VERY precise clock), they’ll be sure to have a fabulous line up of numbers…1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12!. Or alternatively, if you're up for an early wedding 07:08:09 on 10/11/12 will provide a nice sequence. Although a 9am wedding will do the trick (9am on 10/11/12). 

Big day

Saturday is still the most popular day of the week for Australian couples to wed. However, While Saturday is the most popular day to get married on by far, Fridays and Sundays are gaining momentum, perhaps as couples fight for the best venues and prices in an industry that turns over 4.3 billion a year (IBIS World 2011).

Big month

November is one of the top three months to marry in Australia, with 1 in 10 weddings taking place during this month (10.6%).

Big season

Spring is the season to step forth into matrimony with over 1 in 3 (34%) of weddings taking place in September, October or November.

It is likely the wedding industry is seeing a migration away from summer and towards spring, as higher venue prices, competition for venues and increased flexibility in taking leave from work influence couples as they choose a date. Similar to the travel industry, shoulder seasons have replaced summer as a more desirable option when it comes to tying the knot.

When you add all these BIG reasons together, it’s clear tomorrow will be a date to remember. Certainly more than one white wedding will be spotted around town.

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