Talkin’ ‘bout our generations

Have you noticed how some suburbs or regions seem to be overly filled with retirees, families or hip young urban professionals? Well, you’re not ‘seeing things’; a new report released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that different generations do congregate in specific areas around the country.

The report shows that Australia's regional centres — particularly those along the coast — have more Baby Boomers than anywhere else, Generations X & Y can mainly be found in capital cities, while many of the iGeneration live around major educational institutions.

ABS spokesperson Denise Carlton says that while the majority of Baby Boomers (63 per cent) lived in capital cities in 2014, the areas with the highest proportions of that generation were located around urban centres along the coast or in regional Australia, in so-called sea change or tree change areas.

Topping the list was the Benalla Region in north-eastern Victoria, with the highest proportion of Baby Boomers (40 per cent) of any area in Australia.

"High proportions of Baby Boomers were also found in several areas close to the coast, including Bega/Eden Hinterland and Eurobodalla Hinterland on NSW's south coast, Magnetic Island off the Queensland coast and Bruny Island/Kettering in south-east Tasmania, all at 38 per cent", Carlton says.

The report also highlighted that regional distribution of the different generations tends to reflect their stage in the life cycle. The areas with the highest proportions of Generation X & Y were Darlinghurst in inner Sydney and East Pilbara in Western Australia’s mining area (both over 51 per cent).

Being in the middle stages of their working lives, Generations X & Y were mostly found in capital city areas, such as Surry Hills and Erskineville/Alexandria (both 51 per cent) in Sydney, Collingwood and Elwood (both 47 per cent) in Melbourne, Fortitude Valley (48 per cent) in Brisbane and Crace (48 per cent) in Canberra.

Higher-than-average proportions of iGeneration were found in the inner and central parts of our capital cities, and in areas near tertiary education institutions.

The Canberra suburb of Acton, where the Australian National University is based, had the highest proportion of the iGeneration in Australia (76 per cent). Other popular areas included Carlton and Parkville near the University of Melbourne and St Lucia, home of the University of Queensland.

The ABS report, Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2014 presents regional population numbers as at 30 June 2014, and shows how the distribution of different age groups varies across Australia.

For the purposes of the study, Baby Boomers were aged between 48 and 67, Generation X & Y between 28 to 47 years and iGeneration between 8 to 27 years in 2014.