Ageing Well in Place – An Australian and New Zealand Perspective

Ageing Well in Place – An Australian and New Zealand Perspective

The populations of Australia and New Zealand, like many countries around the world, are ageing.

The proportion of individuals aged 65 and over has increased to historical highs.  This increase reflects the result of decreasing fertility, coupled with increased life expectancy and the inability of net immigration to offset population generational imbalances. Interestingly, increases in the proportions aged 85 and over are particularly pronounced.

Although the ageing cohorts are spread across all Australian and New Zealand regions, the concentration of our older residents is not equally distributed. Heavy concentrations exist in many metropolitan regions, but many non-metropolitan areas are also finding growing concentrations of older households, including in many regions that are susceptible to significant weather events such as floods and bushfires.

This change in the population profile and the emerging concentrations of older residents across different regions presents several challenges. Firstly, for (ageing) households, the ability to self-fund retirement is becoming increasingly important; with recent increases in the cost of living making this more difficult. This is particularly relevant to those with precarious incomes (for example, cultural and creative workers), self-employed and those in occupations that are physically demanding (such as construction workers and labourers).

The uneven concentration of older households brings additional opportunities and challenges. Older cohorts provide enormous benefits to the regions in which they live – tacit knowledge and volunteer work are just two examples – but there are also resourcing requirements to ensure their well-being.

The need to be financially self-sufficient, as well as the overwhelming desire of many to live independently in their own homes influences and changes the structure of our economies. For example, it influences housing, business and employment opportunities as well as the resourcing of changing education/training programs to cater for changes in consumer preferences. The structure of our economies is already changing and will continue to do so for some time.

For governments and local authorities, increases in ageing cohorts put significant strain on resources.   In consultation with Heartland, RMIT Academics have briefly reviewed these challenges observing that:

  • Cost of living pressures emphasise the need to preplan noting that retirees can find it more difficult to source additional sources of income during periods of rapid price increases. 
  • Funding retirement by downsizing to release home equity may not be possible for many ageing households.  This suggests other options may need to be explored.
  • Intrinsic and nuanced individual characteristics significantly determine the extent to which households age well in place.  This includes connection to place, location, cultural identity as well as familial relationships.


A full report is available to read or download here

22 February 2024



Professor Ashton de Silva, Dr Sarah Sinclair, Associate Professor Stuart Thomas, Dr Sveta Angelopoulos
School of Economics, Finance and Marketing - College of Business and Law

22 February 2024


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.