Older and Bolder

Embracing change

One of the key drivers of the Wellington 2040 project has been to consider trends that are likely to play out in the future. The aim has not been to predict the future but instead consider where the combination of trends is likely to create tensions or changes that could plausibly impact on the city.

The research identified six mega trends including:

Older and bolder: demographic changes will require cities to adapt to new lifestyle demands.

Key themes:

  • An aging population creates increased demand on public services.
  • Increased demand on services impacts on ability to pay.
  • Potential tension with younger working generation.
  • Growing economic debate: delayed retirement or more immigration or both.

Underlying drivers:

  • Population that is healthier and living longer.
  • Boomer population (those born between 1946 and 1964) that is getting older with a shift in the dependency ratio (the number of people in the workforce compared to those not) from 5:1 to 3:1 by 2031 – although Wellington will still boast one of the youngest populations in Australasia.
  • Health service allocation may see people move to urban centres based on availability of health services.
  • Boomers likely to continue exerting social, political, economic influence (while younger generations will more likely vote with their feet).

Some emerging futures:

  • Like cities in many developed countries, Wellington’s population is currently projected to become older overall. The city’s median age will increase (from 33.1 to 37.2 years), but remain below the national median of 40.2 years.

Proportion of Total Population