It’s been a royal fortnight for Australians, with many celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Monday is a public holiday across most states of Australia to mark the Queen’s Birthday.
However, Australia as we know it today is radically different to how it looked when Queen Elizabeth II was first crowned. The speed of change socially, demographically and technologically continues to accelerate. This demographic snapshot maps out three of the biggest demographic shifts that we have seen over the past 60 years.
Letters from the mother land: our ageing population
One of the Queen’s most famous duties is to write a letter of congratulations to Commonwealth residents when they hit their centenary. When she was first crowned this task was not too demanding with just 40 Australians turning 100 in 1952. Flash forwards 60 years and this number has increased 50 fold, with 2000 Australians turning 100 in 2012 alone. In fact, in the first 30 years of her reign Australia had 4,830 becoming centenarians, while the last 30 years has seen 37,717 achieving their century.
Growth in this part of her job description is of course linked to our ageing population. In 1952 Australia had 30,506 citizens over 85, while 60 years on this number is 14 times more at 415,331!
Australia’s population has increased by 261% since 1952, making us more than two and a half times bigger than we used to be. This is dramatic growth compared to the Queen’s own backyard, with the UK having only seen a 24% increase over the same period of time (from 50.2 million to 62.2 million).
More young people...but comparatively less
With our ageing population, many people have the misconception that there are fewer young people in Australia today, when in fact there are more than ever in our history. In the peak of the baby boom, when the Queen was first crowned, there were 2.94 million people under the age of 20, while today there 5.75 million babies, children and teenagers in Australia.
Yet this increase in birth numbers hasn’t kept pace with total population growth. In 1952, those under 20 made up 34% of the population, while today they make up just 25%. With these 1950’s baby boomers now approaching retirement the challenge is on to attract, recruit and retain Gen Y and Z staff who are now meeting the demands of a population that is 14 million people larger.
Shifting gender profiles...or the man drought!
While there is discussion today about a man drought, in 1952 there was far from a drought with 114,803 more males than females in Australia! Today this has shifted to 99,604 more women than men. The “man drought” is mostly related to longevity, with the older demographics experiencing the real disparity. The Builder generation (66+) is 55% comprised of females, moving to 61% of females in the over 80 demographic.
However this “man drought” has little effect on relationship formation because during the key years of this lifestage (the 20-39 year old age bracket where 92% of first marriages and 80% of all marriages occur) there are currently 3.3 million males aged 20-39, compared to 3.2 million females, showing a slight feminine advantage!
SOURCE: ABS Data and McCrindle Research 2012.
For further analysis: For more information or to organise an interview with demographer and social analyst Mark McCrindle, please contact Francesca Dalton on 02 8824 3422 or email [email protected]
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Francesca DaltonP: 02 8824 3422