3235.0 - Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2014 Quality Declaration 
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TALKIN' 'BOUT OUR GENERATIONS: Where are Australia's Baby Boomers, Generation X & Y and iGeneration?

Dividing the population into generations, and examining the different social and economic experiences they have, can help us understand the changes that have occurred and continue to occur in Australian society. As generations age and move through different stages of the life cycle they impact upon our economy, demography and geography.

Using the most recent estimated resident population data for different regions around the country, this article explores the current geographical distribution of three 20-year age cohorts, which roughly align with three generations: people born between 1946 and 1966 (the Baby Boomers); people born between 1966 and 1986 (Generation X & Y); and people born between 1986 and 2006 (the iGeneration).

In defining these generations, a number of factors have been taken into account. These include birth rates, significant world events and shared life experiences. Each generation covers a 20-year age group to allow more meaningful comparisons across generations. It should be noted that there is no widespread agreement about the names and definitions of these generations. Furthermore, the names adopted in this article have been used by other commentators to refer to slightly different groups.


THE SIZE OF THE GENERATIONS(a)

Cohort
Age in 2014
Population
('000)
% of total population
(%)

Baby Boomer (born 1946-1966)
48-67 years
5,574
23.7
Generation X & Y (born 1966-1986)
28-47 years
6,584
28.0
iGeneration (born 1986-2006)
8-27 years
6,163
26.2

(a) as at 30 June 2014

In this article, the geographical distribution of each cohort at the Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) was measured by the number of people in each age group at 30 June 2014 as a proportion of the total population of that SA2. SA2s are based on officially gazetted suburbs and localities, and aim to represent communities that interact together socially and economically. In some instances, the effects of one generation moving into a SA2 may be magnified by the movement of a different generation out of that SA2, thereby influencing the relative demographic mix of that area.


BABY BOOMERS

Australia's Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1966 during the post-war economic boom. It was a period characterised by high rates of marriage and fertility, high levels of immigration, rising rates of female participation in both tertiary education and the workforce, and the genesis of the two-income household as the norm. The first wave of Baby Boomers, who are now aged between 48 and 67 years, are nearing or reaching retirement age, and their location choices will influence where appropriate social and support services will be needed.

While the majority (63%) of Baby Boomers lived in Australia's capital cities in 2014, the areas with the highest proportions of 48 to 67 year olds were mainly located around larger urban centres in regional Australia or along the coast. The ten areas with the highest proportions of Baby Boomers were all were located outside of Australia's capital cities. Topping the list was Benalla Region, in north-eastern Victoria. Nestled between the regional centres of Shepparton and Wangaratta, Benalla Region had the highest proportion (40%) of Baby Boomers of any area in Australia.


SA2s WITH HIGHEST PROPORTION OF BABY BOOMERS (PERSONS AGED 48 TO 67 YEARS)(a), 2014

Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA)
% aged 48 to 67 years

Benalla RegionRest of Victoria
39.5
Bega-Eden HinterlandRest of New South Wales
38.8
Eurobodalla HinterlandRest of New South Wales
38.7
Castlemaine RegionRest of Victoria
38.5
Magnetic IslandRest of Queensland
37.8
Bruny Island - KetteringRest of Tasmania
37.7
Maryborough Region - SouthRest of Queensland
37.7
Kempsey RegionRest of New South Wales
37.7
ToodyayRest of Western Australia
37.6
OtwayRest of Victoria
37.5

(a) Excludes SA2s with a population of less than 1,000 at June 2014.
In New South Wales, the areas with the highest proportions of 48 to 67 year olds in 2014 were located along the coast surrounding regional centres. These included Bega-Eden Hinterland, Eurobodalla Hinterland (both 39%) and Ulladulla Region (37%) on the state's south coast, Kempsey Region (38%), Taree Region (37%) and Port Macquarie Region (36%) on the mid-north coast, and Murwillumbah Region (37%) and Lismore Region (36%) near the Queensland/NSW border.

POPULATION AGED 48 TO 67 YEARS (BABY BOOMERS), Statistical Areas Level 2, New South Wales - 30 June 2014

Diagram: POPULATION AGED 48 TO 67 YEARS (BABY BOOMERS), Statistical Areas Level 2, New South Wales - 30 June 2014


In Victoria, areas with high proportions of 48 to 67 year olds in 2014 included Castlemaine Region (38%), Maryborough Region (35%) and Loddon (34%) which all surround the city of Bendigo, Otway (37%) on the state's south-west coast, and Longford - Loch Sport, Yarram and Bruthen - Omeo (all 35%) in the Latrobe - Gippsland region.

POPULATION AGED 48 TO 67 YEARS (BABY BOOMERS), Statistical Areas Level 2, Victoria - 30 June 2014

Diagram: POPULATION AGED 48 TO 67 YEARS (BABY BOOMERS), Statistical Areas Level 2, Victoria - 30 June 2014

In Queensland, the highest proportions of 48 to 67 year olds in 2014 were found in Magnetic Island and Maryborough Region - South (both 38%), followed by Caloundra Hinterland (37%) and Maroochy Hinterland (36%) on the Sunshine Coast.

In other states and territories, higher than average proportions of Baby Boomers were in the following areas:
  • in South Australia: the southern Adelaide suburb of Clarendon, Mannum on the Murray River, and Yorke Peninsula - South (all 36%);
  • in Western Australia: the areas east of Perth, especially Toodyay (38%) and York - Beverley (34%), and those coastal areas around Bunbury, including Pemberton (35%) and Augusta (33%);
  • in Tasmania: Bruny Island - Kettering (38%), Triabunna - Bicheno and Forestier - Tasman (both 37%), all on the south-east coast; and
  • in the Australian Capital Territory: the southern suburb of Fadden (36%).



GENERATION X & Y

Born between 1966 and 1986, Generation X & Y were the first generation to experience increased rates of parental separation and divorce, and despite the introduction of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) in 1989, are the most highly educated generation to date. Aged between 28 and 47 years in 2014, Generation X & Y are generally in the middle stages of their working lives.

In 2014, over 70% of people aged 28 to 47 years lived in Australia's capital cities. The highest proportions of Generation X & Y were in the inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst in Sydney and the Western Australian mining area of East Pilbara (both 51%).

SA2s WITH HIGHEST PROPORTION OF GENERATION X & Y (PERSONS AGED 28 TO 47 YEARS)(a), 2014

Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA)
% aged 28 to 47 years

DarlinghurstGreater Sydney
51.1
East PilbaraRest of Western Australia
51.1
Surry HillsGreater Sydney
50.9
Erskineville - AlexandriaGreater Sydney
50.7
CraceAustralian Capital Territory
48.2
AshburtonRest of Western Australia
48.2
Fortitude ValleyGreater Brisbane
47.5
CollingwoodGreater Melbourne
47.3
ElwoodGreater Melbourne
47.1
Bondi Beach - North BondiGreater Sydney
47.0

(a) Excludes SA2s with a population of less than 1,000 at June 2014.
Four of the ten areas with the highest proportions of 28 to 47 year olds in 2014 were located in Greater Sydney, mainly in inner-city areas in close proximity to the Central Business District (CBD). These included Surry Hills and Erskineville - Alexandrina (both 51%). Other areas with high proportions of Generation X and Y included Bondi Beach - North Bondi (47%) in the inner-east, Homebush Bay - Silverwater (46%) in the inner-west, and Crows Nest - Waverton and St Leonards - Naremburn (both 44%) in northern Sydney.

POPULATION AGED 28 TO 47 YEARS (GENERATION X & Y), Statistical Areas Level 2, Greater Sydney - 30 June 2014

Diagram: POPULATION AGED 28 TO 47 YEARS (GENERATION X & Y), Statistical Areas Level 2, Greater Sydney - 30 June 2014


In Victoria, the highest proportions of 28 to 47 year olds in 2014 were in the inner-city areas of Collingwood, Elwood (both 47%), St Kilda, St Kilda East, Abbotsford (all 45%), and the rapidly growing suburbs of Truganina (44%) and Point Cook (43%) west of the Melbourne CBD.

POPULATION AGED 28 TO 47 YEARS (GENERATION X & Y), Statistical Areas Level 2, Greater Melbourne - 30 June 2014

Diagram: POPULATION AGED 28 TO 47 YEARS (GENERATION X & Y), Statistical Areas Level 2, Greater Melbourne - 30 June 2014


In Queensland, four of the five areas with the highest proportions of 28 to 47 year olds in 2014 were inner-city suburbs of Brisbane. Fortitude Valley (48%), immediately north-east of the CBD, had the highest proportion of Generation X & Y in the state, followed by Newstead - Bowen Hills (45%), Spring Hill (43%) and New Farm (41%). Outside of Brisbane, the area with the highest proportion of 28 to 47 year olds was Moranbah (37%), a mining town near Mackay.

In South Australia, the highest proportion of Generation X & Y was in Roxby Downs (40%), a mining town in the northern outback, while in the Northern Territory the recently developed suburb of Palmerston - South (41%) had the highest proportion. In the Australian Capital Territory, areas with high proportions of people aged 28 to 47 years included the newer northern suburbs of Crace (48%), Bonner and Franklin (both 44%), and Phillip (44%) in the south.


THE iGENERATION

Born between 1986 and 2006, the iGeneration (Internet Generation) have spent their formative years in a period which saw the birth and rise of the internet and social media. Aged between 8 and 27 in 2014, a large proportion of the iGeneration are students attending secondary school, university, TAFE college or other educational institutions.

In 2014, the highest proportions of iGens could be found in the inner and central parts of our capital cities, and in areas associated with tertiary institutions. The area with the highest proportion of iGens in Australia was Acton, where the Australian National University (ANU) is based. Around 76% of residents in Acton were aged between 8 and 27 years, most being students living at ANU.


SA2s WITH HIGHEST PROPORTION OF THE iGENERATION (PERSONS AGED 8 TO 27 YEARS)(a), 2014

Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA)
% aged 8 to 27 years

ActonAustralian Capital Territory
75.9
CivicAustralian Capital Territory
58.2
St LuciaGreater Brisbane
56.9
CarltonGreater Melbourne
55.4
ParkvilleGreater Melbourne
55.0
MelbourneGreater Melbourne
51.7
BruceAustralian Capital Territory
48.8
DouglasRest of Queensland
47.6
CampbellAustralian Capital Territory
45.7
ClaytonGreater Melbourne
45.4

(a) Excludes SA2s with a population of less than 1,000 at June 2014.
In New South Wales, the areas with the highest proportions of 8 to 27 year olds in 2014 were Kensington - Kingsford, home to the University of New South Wales, and Wagga Wagga - North, which contains a campus of Charles Sturt University (both 43%). Other areas to have high proportions of the iGeneration included Shortland - Jesmond (42%), where the University of Newcastle is based, Sydney - Haymarket - The Rocks (36%), and Armidale, the location of the University of New England (35%).

In Victoria, the areas with the highest proportions of 8 to 27 year olds in 2014 were Carlton, Parkville (both 55%) and inner-city Melbourne (52%), which are all near the University of Melbourne, Clayton (45%), which has a campus of Monash University, and Kingsbury (41%). the location of La Trobe University.


POPULATION AGED 8 TO 27 YEARS (iGENERATION), Statistical Areas Level 2, Greater Melbourne - 30 June 2014

Diagram: POPULATION AGED 8 TO 27 YEARS (iGENERATION), Statistical Areas Level 2, Greater Melbourne - 30 June 2014


In Queensland, St Lucia (57%) had the highest proportion of 8 to 27 year olds in 2014. This area includes the University of Queensland. It was followed by Douglas (48%) in Townsville, which contains James Cook University

In Western Australia, the highest proportion of iGens was in Bentley - Wilson - St James (38%), which includes Curtin University. Nedlands - Dalkeith - Crawley hosts the University of Western Australia, and also had more than one-third of its population (35%) aged between 8 and 27 years in 2014.




SOURCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 A Picture of the Nation: the Statistician's Report on the 2006 Census, 2006 (ABS cat. no. 2070.0)

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009 Age Matters, May 2009 (ABS cat. no. 4914.0.55.001)

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014 Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2014 (ABS cat. no. 3105.0.65.001)