Australia’s largest and most comprehensive census of retirement village residents, the bi-annual McCrindle Baynes Village Census 2013, profiled over 5,200 retirement village residents nationally to identify the decision drivers that motivate nearly 20,000 senior Australians to make the life-changing move to a village each year.

Australia’s highest rated industry by customer rating: +25 score

Incorporated in the research, set to be released today, is a measure of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a methodology created by Bain & Company to rate the value perceived by customers of a product or service delivered by a corporation or industry.

The most recent study of 19 Australian industries by Bain & Company delivered scores ranging from -44 (gas utilities) to +24 (online retail), with only 3 industries scoring a positive rating.

The retirement village industry, according to the November nationwide research study, scored an Australian industry leading +25 utilising the Bain & Company research technique on the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend this village to a friend?”

This compares to the average Australian industry NPS which is -15.

In fact, 98% of these ‘village people’ report being “somewhat to extremely satisfied”, with their village.

Mary Wood from the Retirement Living Council says these results are a validation of the retirement village sector’s contribution to our society:

“This report confirms that for the vast majority of people who have moved into a retirement village, the reality is just as good or better than they expected: more independence, better health, greater social interaction, increased confidence and physical security.”

2,200 Villages: One in every community

Across Australia there are over 2,200 retirement villages, providing accommodation for over 170,000 seniors over the age of 55 and up to 100+ years of age.

The Net Promoter Score was consistent across the 236 villages surveyed irrespective of whether they were operated by not-for-profit operators such as Blue Care in Queensland or large private operators such as RetireAustralia.

The three top reasons new residents chose to leave their previous home (the Push Factors) were to downsize while they still could (84%), their home was becoming too big to manage (62%) and concern about their future health (60%).

The three top reasons they liked their new village home (the Pull Factors) were that they could stay independent (87%), they had a safe environment with emergency support (87%) and were able to access village facilities (87%).

Downageing retirees: Living longer, active later, enjoying life

Residents living in retirement villages are on average older than a decade ago, with 95% aged 65+. While legislation specifies you must be 55 or older to join a village, today the average age of entry is 76. Over half (54%) of village entrants over the past two years were aged 75 or older and 1 in 3 (32%) aged 80 or above.

Approximately 8% of Australians aged 75 or older live in retirement villages.

Yet while village residents are older chronologically, they are younger from a longevity perspective than a generation ago. The recently released ABS Measure of Australia’s Progress indicates that in the last 40 years, life expectancy has increased by 10 years.

The 76 year old of today has the same life expectancy and to some extent, vigour, as the 66 year old a generation ago, explaining the significant delay in age of residents first entering retirement village living.

Social demographer Mark McCrindle summarises the situation, “Today’s village residents are downagers – a generation that are younger than their years would suggest. They’re living longer, active later, using technology more and even working later in life than previous generations of retirees. More than 1 in 7 of the retirement village age group are still in paid employment and based on these trends we will see increasing numbers of retirement village residents who are not in fact retired!”

Don’t worry, be happy: Overall happiness and life satisfaction increases when joining a village

Christopher Baynes, publisher of the village directory website villages.com.au who commissioned the report, says, “The results are consistent with our 2011 McCrindle Baynes Census and the feedback we get from the traffic on our website. Over 11,000 people each week search with us for a retirement accommodation solution”.

“The NPS score is not a surprise. We talk to residents every day across Australia. The feedback we receive is residents love the sense of community and security that a village delivers.”

Of the 1,220 people surveyed who had joined a village in the last two years, 30% stated their overall ‘happiness and life satisfaction’ had ‘increased significantly’ and a further 29% stated it had ‘increased slightly’ since moving into the village – a total of 59%. Just 7% stated that ‘happiness and life satisfaction’ had ‘decreased.’

Christopher Baynes comments: “What other industry or sector or service can claim to actually increase the happiness and life satisfaction for customers who are 75 years or older, with both the health and financial challenges that most face? It’s a pretty good place to be”.

About this Study: The McCrindle Baynes Villages Census 2013 was a national paper and online survey made up of 46 questions and completed by 5,220 retirement village residents from 23 village operators, equally distributed between private operators and not-for-profit church and charity operators.

Click here download the executive summary of the McCrindle Baynes Villages Census 2013

For more information

If you found this article interesting, download our free McCrindle Insights Report for more information on the trends shaping the future of Australia.

For media commentary contact us on 02 8824 3422 or at info@mccrindle.com.au.