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The suburbs where each generation dominates and why

Australia is on the cusp of a significant demographic shift.

Baby Boomers – born 1946-1965 – who have previously been our largest generation and a driving force in shaping Australia’s economy and society, are reaching retirement age.

The latest ABS figures show that 670,000 people intend to retire in the next 5 years, with 220,000 in the next 2 years.

Meanwhile, Millennials – born 1981-1995 – are due to soon overtake Baby Boomers to be Australia’s largest generation.

These are two key shifts in our demographic landscape and they spell big changes ahead for the formation of, and distribution within, our suburbs.

You see, as older generations age and new ones emerge, governments, businesses, and societies at large must adapt to changing needs and preferences.

From healthcare and education to workforce dynamics and retirement planning, each aspect of our lives is intricately linked to the age structure of our populations.

This is particularly interesting to look at from a property perspective as it helps to plan residential and commercial development to suit the generation most predominant in the area.

It also gives an insight into what amenities will be in the area – suburbs with a high density of children, for example, will be skewed towards child-friendly amenities and outdoor spaces to meet that demographic’s preferences.

In The Australian, Hari Hara Priya Kannan, a data scientist at The Demographics Group used ABS data to drill down into the suburbs that each generation dominates – and how their demographic landscape is changing.

Gen-Alpha: The babies

Optimistic Children

Age bracket: Born after 2018

Population size: Around 1.5 million (6% of the population)

Suburbs with the highest concentration: Strathnarin (Canberra), Tarneit-North (Melbourne) and Cobblebank (Strathtulloh)

Generation Alpha is the first generation to have their entire upbringing in the 21st century and are mostly lovely to be the children of Millennials, therefore following their settlement patterns.

Its population is most dense in Strathnarin in Canberra (14%) of its population, followed by Melbourne’s Tarneit-North and Cobblebank – Strathtulloh, where Gen Alphas make up 13% of the population.

Notably, all these suburbs are situated in the urban fringes, underscoring the prevailing trend among Millennials and their families as this generation lives with their parents.

Gen-Z: The students

A Young Girl Of Generation Z Listens To Music And Fapphas

Age bracket: Born 2000-2017

Population size: 6.4 million (around 1 in 4 people)

Suburbs with the highest concentration: Acton (Canberra), Duntroon (Canberra), St Lucia (Brisbane) and Clayton North – Notting Hill (Melbourne)

This generation is characterised by its education and career pursuits, heightened awareness of mental health issues, and a strong sense of environmental responsibility.

Gen-Z also experienced a boom in its population, growing by around 304,000 between 2017-2022, most notably in Canberra (14%), Queensland (6%) and Melbourne (5%).

Canberra’s Acton and Duntroon now have the highest proportion of resident Gen Z population at 89% and 72% respectively, likely due to the Defence Academies in the area.

This is followed by Brisbane’s St Lucia at 47% and Melbourne’s Clayton (North) – Notting Hill at 46%.

Hari Hara Priya Kannan explains that while this generation basically lives with their parents at present, demographic trends suggest we will experience a rising demand for purpose-built student accommodations in university precincts, as both the urban fringes and city centres appear to attract an increasing number of students.

Gen-Y or Millennials: The first-home buyers


Age bracket: Born 1982-1999

Population size: 5.6 million (22% of the population)

Suburbs with the highest concentration: Clyde North (Melbourne), Tarneit, Cobblebank – Strathtulloh (Melbourne), Rockbank (Melbourne), Box Hill – Nelson (Sydney), Marsden Park – Shanes Park (Sydney), and Schofields East (Sydney)

Gen-Y, also referred to as Millennials also experienced a population boom in 2017-2022 by around 242,000, particularly in Tasmania and Canberra, and are fast becoming the demographic with the largest population.

Millennials have played a pivotal role in driving population growth towards urban fringes in recent years, mainly due to this age group reaching the stage in their life where they are having and/or growing their family.

It’s this shift towards parenthood that has seen Millennials move from inner-city apartments to larger family homes on the urban fringes.

Melbourne’s Clyde North, Tarneit, Cobblebank – Strathtulloh, Rockbank, and Sydney’s Box Hill – Nelson, Marsden Park – Shanes Park, and Schofields East have experienced remarkable growth, with the Millennial cohort increasing by at least 200% in these areas.

Hari Hara Priya Kannan suggests we should expect to see the development of adequate infrastructure to support these suburbs and their population growth.

Improved transport links and facilities will be crucial for the success of these areas.

Gen-X: The upgraders

Age bracket: Born 1964-1981

Population size: 6.5 million (25% of the population)

Suburbs with the highest concentration: Iluka – Burns Beach (Perth), Fig Tree Pocket (Brisbane), Port Melbourne (Melbourne)

Growth of the Gen-X population was smaller 58,000 in the 5 years to 2022, and mostly located in Tasmania and Queensland due to the attractiveness of a better work-life balance and alternative culture.


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