Census 2011 – the impact of the twenty-somethings boom in Western Australia
At .id we like 25-29 year olds – not because that’s how old we are – but because they are possibly the most challenging age cohort to define demographically. Much as the media would have us believe, they don’t conform to a “Gen-Y” stereotype. They are incredibly diverse in terms of their living and employment arrangements, marital status and other demographic characteristics. One of our previous Census blogs showed that 25-29 year olds were one of the fastest growing age cohorts in the last intercensal period, recording nationwide growth of 18.6%. However, in Western Australia this age group grew by 34.6% over the last five years – almost twice the national average! These sorts of figures certainly warrant closer investigation – hence a closer look at 25-29 year olds in Western Australia.
How many are there?
In 2011, there were almost 168,000 persons aged 25-29 year olds usually resident in Western Australia. This comprised 7.5% of the population, compared to the Australian figure of 7.0%. 25-29 year olds are at a peak age for forming households but they do so for a variety of reasons – ranging from seeking rental accommodation in the inner city to first home buyers (with and without young children) on the urban fringe. They also have very high rates of personsal/houshold mobility and thus the way they move around has some influence on population growth and change.
Where do they live?
The map below (click for a larger version) shows the distribution of 25-29 year olds in Western Australia by SA2. In terms of their spatial distribution, 25-29 year olds have two distinctive characteristics. In Perth, they are concentrated in the central and inner suburbs, as well as parts of the outer north and south. In regional WA, they are concentrated in northern and inland parts of the State. There are a number of demographic processes at play here. The mining boom is certainly influential in explaining the high proportions across the north of the State, but so too is the higher proportion of Indigenous persons. The SA2 of East Pilbara had the highest proportion of 25-29 year olds in regional WA (16.8%), followed by Ashburton (12.9%).
Many of the demographic processes associated with the mining boom are yet to be fully understood. However it is known that mining workers are highly mobile and often work on a “fly in fly out” basis, which makes it difficult to capture these people on a measure of usual residence. Nevertheless, the actual number of 25-29 year olds in the north of the State, as measured by the Census usual residence count, has increased signficantly since 2006. For example, in the Shire of East Pilbara (which is different to the SA2), the number of 25-29 year olds almost trebled between 2006 and 2011, and there is a clear imbalance between males and females.
In Perth, the mining boom and the Indigenous population also play a role, but the spatial pattern of 25-29 year olds resembles that of other major Australian cities. For example, much of inner Perth recorded high proportions of the population in this age group. The highest was Perth City (20.0%) – in other words 1 in 5 people are aged 25-29 years – followed by Maylands (15.2%) and Victoria Park-Lathlain-Burswood (14.3%). Young adults and couples seeking rental accommodation near their place of employment, or the airport (for transient mining workers) are the key reasons for these high proportions. Interestingly, the SA2 of Scarborough in Perth’s middle ring of northern suburbs recorded a high proportion of 25-29 year olds (14.5%), as did neighbouring Innaloo-Doubleview (11.2%). This is likely to be influenced by the coastal location, lifestyle opportunities and abundance of rental accommodation.
First home buyers seeking more affordable accommodation are the main influence on the high proportion of 25-29 year olds in parts of the urban fringe. This was more apparent in southern Perth – the SA2 of Forrestdale – Harrisdale – Piara Waters recorded the highest proportion (13.1%), followed by Success-Hammond Park (11.2%). On the north side, Clarkson (10.4%), located in the City of Wanneroo, recorded the highest proportion of 25-29 year olds. All these areas have greenfield developments which have grown significantly in the last five years.
Do you live in Western Australia? Have you noticed these types of changes in your local area? What demographic changes have you observed as a result of the mining boom? Drop us a line – we love hearing your stories!
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