Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

McCrindle Research and have just released the results from their joint study into retirement village living, which gained completed surveys from more than 10,000 retirees nationally. It is Australia’s largest study ever conducted into retirement living and one of the largest paper surveys completed in Australia in 2011.

This research provides a comprehensive analysis of Australia’s over 65 population. The industry meeting the needs of Australia’s retirees is set for massive growth as while there are currently 3 million in this age group, by mid-century, it will have tripled to almost 9 million.

The results collected brought exceptionally good news for village operators, with 3 in 5 (60%) residents very to extremely satisfied with their village meeting their expectations. The industry is likely to see continued growth with 7 in 10 (72%) residents very likely to recommend their own village to a friend, whilst 8 in 10 (82%) would recommend a friend to move into a village in general, rather than stay at home. 84% would move to the same village again, with an additional 7% electing to move to a different village.

Retirement villages also act as a social hub for this growing cohort. A significant 2 in 5 village residents (40%) stated their social lives had improved to some extent since making the move, with 1 in 6 (16%) saying that their social lives had improved significantly. This was compared to 11% who said that it had declined. 85% of village residents have visitors at least once a month.

Top 8 reasons for downsizing to a retirement village*:

1. Downsize while it was still easy / possible (40%)
2. Need for a home specifically designed for ageing (34%)
3. Home was too big to manage (34%)
4. Partner’s declining health (32%)
5. Freedom from house responsibilities / lifestyle (29%)
6. Proximity to medical services (23%)
7. Your health (22%)
8. Loss of spouse (20%)

*Based on responses indicating that these were extremely / very influential factors

Seven of these Top 8 reasons for moving into a village community were physical health related – only one was a lifestyle factor.

Co-author of the report, Mark McCrindle, commented that “While today’s retirees are seeking a lifestyle quite different to previous generations of the same age, when it comes to downsizing to a village, health and personal security were key to the decision. 93% of village residents believed it was important to have aged care in the development, 94% valued the emergency call button in the unit and 7 out of the Top 8 reasons for choosing village living were health related. Additionally, we’re seeing a fading of the 10km rule of thumb (the belief that most village residents moved from within 10km of their home), with this research showing that 60% moved further than 10km and 30% relocated from more than 50km away”.

Builders: From Population Pyramid to Mushroom Cloud

Australia’s population is significantly ageing. Whilst the ageing of our population began as a result of the post-war baby boomers experiencing significant longevity, the ageing trend is continuing. By the turn of the mid-century, almost a quarter of all Australians will be 65 or older, highlighting a significant shift towards what will be a much more elderly Australia. At this time, everyone born in the ‘echo boom’ of the early 1980s will be entering retirement.

1971: 8.3% of the population aged over 65.
2011: 13.6% of the population aged over 65
2051: 22% of the population aged over 65

Research Methodologies

The McCrindle Baynes Villages Census report was conducted between August and October 2011. Over 18,000 copies of the 57 question paper census was distributed nationally, as well as an online link made available for residents. With 10,626 completed surveys collected across 181 villages (including rental villages) managed by 7 village operators across all states (except NT), this census made up approximately 7% of the total village resident population, making it the largest villages census conducted in Australia and indeed one of the largest globally. A series of 6 qualitative focus groups were also conducted with over-65s in Sydney, Central Coast NSW and Perth.

This research was funded by 7 of the largest village operators in Australia and supported by the Retirement Villages Association.

Completed surveys Percentage


  • NSW, 2462, 23%
  • VIC, 2011, 19%
  • SA, 349, 3%
  • QLD, 3343, 31%
  • ACT, 144, 1%
  • WA, 2274, 21%
  • TAS, 142, 1%
Total 10725 100%
  • Male, 4107, 39%
  • Female, 6519, 61%
Total 10626 100%


For further research data, analysis or information, please contact Francesca Dalton on 02 8824 3422, or at [email protected]

Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research is available for comment on the research conducted. For an interview, please contact Mark on 0411 5000 90.
Christopher Baynes, director of who commissioned the research is available for comment or analysis on 0416 281 899.

Contact Profile

McCrindle Research

McCrindle Research is well resourced to conduct world class research and to communicate these insights in innovative ways.

We have our own national panel and online research site We also have purpose built, dedicated qualitative research facilities in Sydney:

McCrindle Research is a full service values based ethics driven research agency. We pride ourselves on being independant, ethical,scientific,pure and finding based.
Francesca Dalton
P: 02 8824 3422
M: 0401253579


Retirement Baby Boomers Census



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