In 1983 Perth overtook Adelaide as Australia’s fourth largest city, and it’s fair to say much has changed in the 37 years since. Australia’s population has exceeded even the most optimistic growth expectations, recently surpassing 25 million people – a staggering 33 years ahead of mid-growth forecasts.
Perth’s population growth has been powered by its economic engine. To illustrate the point, consider the now-divergent populations of Perth (2.09 million) and Adelaide (1.36 million) whose populations were once equal at 973,000 during 1983. In the past decade alone Perth has grown by nearly 350,000 people and is powering towards being a city of 2.5 million by 2030.
A city shaped by generational renewal
In addition to population growth, Perth – like all developing cities in Australia – is also undergoing a generational renewal. Half of Perth’s population today is comprised of the Gen X, Baby Boomer and Builder generations (born before 1966) while only one in four West Aussies (26%) belong to Generation Z (born 1995-2009) and Generation Alpha (born since 2010). However by 2030, these two emerging generations will comprise 42% of Perth’s population, and an even greater proportion of the workforce.
Today’s primary school students have grown up in a world that is more digitally integrated, culturally diverse, and globally-minded than ever before. The future of Perth, and indeed the future of our planet, will be shaped by these children of the Millennials (Gen Y). If we want to glimpse the future we need look no further than this emerging generation who have only known a world of wearable tech, online streaming, AI algorithms and highly personalised educational experiences.
In a future where today’s school leavers are projected to have 18 different jobs across six careers in their lifetime, the ability to upskill and adapt to the changing market is essential. The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of students entering primary school today will end up in jobs that don’t even exist yet.
An opportunity for the future
It’s in this context of technological and generational renewal that Perth is presented an opportunity. The Commonwealth Government projects the jobs most in demand in the coming years will be in healthcare, professional services, construction, and education and training.
Perth is well-positioned to take hold of these emerging opportunities with both hands, and its economic success will depend on its ability to provide the infrastructure and policy settings to enable businesses and workers alike the ability to train, upskill and reskill for this ever-evolving future.
We’re delighted to have recently launched a McCrindle office in Perth. As social researchers and demographers, we create a clearer picture of the trends that inform strategic thinking. For a snapshot of the demographic trends shaping the development of Perth now and into the future, download our free report The Future of Perth.