ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication presents information relating to Queensland’s baby boomers. It provides a demographic, social and economic analysis of this group over time at a state and regional level. Bringing together a wide range of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data as well as data from other sources, the publication is divided into ten chapters:
With a timespan of 20 years, persons born at opposite ends of the baby boomers generation will have significantly different experiences, and in terms of life cycle, may be more closely related to other generations than the baby boomer generation. For the purposes of this publication, analysis of the baby boomer generation has been split into 'older baby boomers', those born from 1946 to 1955 inclusive, and 'younger baby boomers', those born from 1956 to 1965 inclusive. An age reference is provided in Table 1.3.
- Baby Boomers in Queensland
- Cultural diversity
- Families and care
- Education and training
- Community life
- Income and wealth
Where possible, this publication compares baby boomers with other age groups.
Data in this publication come from a wide range of sources and therefore may relate to different reference periods. The ages used to represent the baby boomer group vary depending on the availability of data.
Data are not always available on the exact baby boomer age group. In these cases, the closest age group available is used to approximate the baby boomer group.
A list of references appears at the end of each chapter and a glossary of terms appears at the end of the publication. Readers interested in more detailed information should consult the relevant source publication.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
This publication analyses a range of issues relating to Queensland's baby boomers using both ABS and non-ABS data. A brief synopsis of each chapter is provided below.
Since the early 1960s, baby boomers have been a significant group in Queensland's population. They are expected to continue having a substantial impact on the composition of the state's population in the future, giving rise to new challenges for government, business and community services.
Chapter 2 examines the impact of the baby boomers on the profile and distribution of the Queensland population, in the past, present and future. It examines the 2001 profile of baby boomers in the state's population and the cohort's geographical distribution throughout the state. This chapter compares Indigenous baby boomers with non-Indigenous baby boomers. Interstate and intrastate migration patterns are also examined.
Baby boomers are tracked from 1961 to 2001, showing the increase in the number of baby boomers since 1961 and comparing them as a proportion of the population at specific points in time. Population projections to 2051 demonstrate how baby boomers will continue to impact on Queensland's population as they age. Population age by sex profiles graphically show the progression through the population distribution of the baby boomers from their early years in 1961 to 2001 and their projected profiles to 2051.
Overseas migration has had a major effect on Queensland's population size and composition from its earliest settlement. In 1901, 35% of Queenslanders were born overseas, predominantly in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe. By 2001, 17% of Queensland's population were born overseas, while 23% of total baby boomers were born overseas.
Chapter 3 examines the characteristics of overseas-born baby boomers. Characteristics examined include country of origin, age profile, year of arrival in Australia, languages spoken and proficiency in English. Overseas-born baby boomers are compared with their Australian-born counterparts in terms of household tenure, income and education. This chapter also looks at other aspects of cultural diversity for all baby boomers, including ancestry and religious affiliation.
Families and care
Families are the basic unit of home life for most people and provide supportive relationships, companionship and assistance and support, especially as people grow older. In 2003, over half (52%) of the 1.068 million families in Queensland were baby boomer families. The majority of the baby boomer families were couples with children (57%), while 30% were couples without children and 13% were lone-parent families. The proportions of baby boomer families as couples without children and lone-person households are expected to rise. These changes will affect the demand for family and community resources and will be important considerations in policy and program development.
Chapter 4 examines the living arrangements of baby boomers. It looks at the proportion of baby boomers that live in various types of family and non-family households and presents projections of their living arrangements in 2026. The chapter also looks at the registered and social marital status of baby boomers, and the role of carers of people who are frail, aged or have a disability.
People live in different types of houses according to their age and circumstances. In 2001, 87% of Queensland baby boomers were living in separate houses. Housing is an important issue for baby boomers as they are likely to make decisions over the next two decades about their retirement, based on factors such as their current housing arrangements and housing costs.
Chapter 5 examines the type of dwellings baby boomers live in, tenure type, dwelling size and condition, home value and equity, and propensity to move. It also compares the housing characteristics of baby boomers with other age groups and examines regional differences in baby boomers' housing.
Education and training
Education and training are recognised as giving people the skills and knowledge for entry into and advancement through the workforce. Baby boomers had greater access to formal education than preceding generations. In 2001, 40% of baby boomers held non-school education qualifications.
Chapter 6 examines the level of school and non-school education attained by Queensland baby boomers and compares these with other age groups. The education achievements of the baby boomer cohort are tracked from 1981 to 2001 to assess their contribution over time. Other characteristics examined include fields of study and future study intentions. This chapter also examines training undertaken by baby boomers, including numbers and areas of training, perceived effectiveness of training and barriers to study and training.
An individual's health status is determined by a complex interaction of social, economic, environmental, behavioural and genetic factors. The life expectancy of Queenslanders is among the highest in the world and this together with declining fertility rates has led to an ageing of the population. As the baby boomer cohort begins to move into the older age groups, there will be a greater number and proportion of the population living into old age with a range of support needs. Governments have a key role to play in ensuring the health system responds to the changes and challenges of the future. However, individual responsibility for adopting healthy behaviours is also essential if many preventable and chronic illnesses are to be avoided.
Chapter 7 examines baby boomers' health status (self-assessed and reported) and discusses a range of health risk factors that have been associated with preventable and chronic illnesses. These include cigarette smoking, consumption of alcohol at levels considered at risk for health, limited physical activity, poor nutrition and being overweight. This chapter also examines health related actions, health care costs and the coverage rates of private health insurance.
The level of a person's interaction with their community is an indicator of their social wellbeing. The average baby boomer spent nearly four hours a day on recreation and leisure in 1997. A large proportion of baby boomers also visited cinemas, libraries, botanic gardens and other venues. In 2000, 38% of baby boomers were involved in voluntary work through an organisation or group. The way baby boomers are involved in community life is expected to change as they grow older and retire.
Chapter 8 examines how baby boomers use their time, their involvement in voluntary work, and their level of family and community support. The chapter looks at what they do for recreation and leisure, what types of cultural venues they attend and how much they spend on recreation. It also looks at baby boomers' perceptions of crime in the community, whether they have been a victim of crime themselves, the availability of transport and how they travel to work, and the extent to which they use computers and the Internet.
Income and wealth
The amount of income earned largely influences the standard of living of individuals and households. Wealth and income are closely related as income not spent on current consumption allows the accumulation of wealth. Income levels vary across a person's life cycle and may be affected by a range of events and circumstances, e.g. illness, participation in the labour force and family situation. The amount of wealth, in particular superannuation, together with the capacity to access government benefits will be a major factor influencing the retirement decisions of baby boomers and their wellbeing in retirement.
Chapter 9 examines the level and distribution of income and wealth of Queensland's baby boomers and compares them with that of other age groups. This chapter also examines retirement intentions of baby boomers as well as looking at the amount of superannuation held by baby boomers who are yet to retire from the workforce.
The changing age structure of the population will have implications for the growth of the Queensland economy in the decades ahead. The future pace of economic growth depends on the rate at which the workforce grows and on the growth of output per worker. Almost half of Queensland's labour force are baby boomers. The older baby boomers are already approaching or have reached retirement age. As more baby boomers retire from the labour force, one of the challenges for government and business will be to maintain a viable labour market.
Chapter 10 examines the baby boomer cohort and its place in the Queensland labour force. The labour force characteristics of the baby boomers including their type of employment and working patterns are discussed. A section on job mobility analyses the length of time baby boomers have worked in their main job and the extent that employment factors influenced their moving house. An examination of the occupations and industries in which baby boomers are employed concludes the chapter.