Retirement Migration of the Baby Boomers in Australia: Beach, Bush or Busted?

Nikola Sander (2010). Retirement Migration of the Baby Boomers in Australia: Beach, Bush or Busted? PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning & Env Management, The University of Queensland.

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Author Nikola Sander
Thesis Title Retirement Migration of the Baby Boomers in Australia: Beach, Bush or Busted?
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning & Env Management
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor Martin Bell
Dr Temesgen Kifle
Total pages 287
Total colour pages 52
Total black and white pages 235
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary Over recent decades, Australia has experienced an unprecedented rate of population ageing due to increasing longevity and declining fertility. The proportion of the population in the older age groups is set to increase dramatically as the large cohorts of the baby boom, those born between 1946 and 1976, move into their retirement years. As we now face a tidal wave of some three million Australian boomers retiring over the next 20 years, it is important to understand how this distinctive cohort will shape Australia’s future. One key aspect which is the focus of attention here is the future spatial mobility of the boomer generation, particularly their migration in retirement. This thesis identifies three key issues which will shape the intensity, patterns and characteristics of retirement migration in Australia: the distinctive behaviour of the baby boomer cohorts; the changing nature of the retirement transition; and the destination choices of retirees. Compared to today’s generation of retirees, the baby boomer generation is characterised by a higher level of education and affluence, a larger share of dual-earner families and a greater dependence on superannuation as retirement income. Moreover, there has been a historic reversal in the trend towards early retirement since 2000. The effective retirement age is likely to increase even further in response to public policy and financial necessity. Most studies assume that retirement occurs instantaneously at age 65 and that migration takes place soon after retirement, but in practice, there is no hard evidence to support this assumption. Whether the baby boomers take early retirement or whether they continue to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 will have important consequences for their migration behaviour. The timing of retirement and the distinctive behaviour of the boomers are interrelated with their destination choices. In other countries, research findings are indicative of shifts in the spatial structure of retirement migration. In the absence of conclusive research, it is unclear whether such shifts have occurred in Australia over the last three decades. Against this background, the overall goal of this thesis is to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of retirement migration and the likely future trajectory of retirement migration as Australia’s baby boomers enter their retirement years. The thesis has four specific aims: 1. To determine the spatial structure of retirement migration in Australia and how it has changed over the last 30 years. 2. To establish the relationship between retirement and migration in the life-course. 3. To establish how cohort size has shaped the migration behaviour of the Australian baby boom generation as it has moved through the life-course. 4. To determine the likely future retirement migration trajectory of the baby boom cohort. To address these aims, an array of state-of-the-art analytical methods drawn from several disciplines is applied to cross-sectional and longitudinal datasets. The thesis uses a battery of spatial indicators, event history models, age-period-cohort analysis, spatial interaction models and multi-regional cohort component projections methods to better understand the spatial structure of retirement migration, the relative timing of migration and retirement, and the distinctive behaviour of the baby boomers. The use of a sophisticated research design is facilitated by the availability of novel data sources on migration: the Australian Internal Migration (AIM) database and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Data from the AIM database are used to determine the spatial structure of retirement migration in Australia and how it has changed over the last 30 years. The results show a tendency toward a greater dispersal of flows, which can be explained by societal change, the attractiveness of natural amenities and the changing demographic composition of the population. This expansion of retirement destinations means that the dominance of the coastal resorts in northern NSW and Queensland declined to the benefit of coastal destinations in southern NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. These shifts in the spatial structure of retirement migration can partly be ascribed to fundamental changes in the timing of retirement over the last 30 years. Contrary to conventional assumptions, retirement is a gradual and protracted process of transition that is spread across a 30-year age range. The results from the event history analysis show that the propensity to move is highest in the year of retirement and decreases as age at retirement increases. The propensity to move in the year of retirement varies with household composition, health status and the husband’s age at retirement. The APC analysis show that the baby boomer cohorts had a 45 per cent higher risk of moving than the pre-baby boomers, but the post-baby boomers had even higher movement propensities. The finding shows that the migration behaviour of the Australian baby boomers is markedly different from those observed in the US. Migration intensities were slightly depressed for the 1961-66 cohort, but the relationship between mobility and birth cohort size is clearly positive. Given the distinctiveness of the baby boomers and the striking fiscal and social consequences of their retirement, understanding of the boomers’ future trajectory is crucial. Building upon the results of aims 1, 2, and 3, the thesis uses alternative scenarios that consider shifts in destination choices and changes in retirement age to highlight ways in which retirement migration may change between 2006 and 2036.
Keyword internal migration
Baby boomers
Spatial Structure
Spatial Modelling
event history analysis
Additional Notes colour pages in portrait: 4, 61, 73, 74, 81, 83, 86, 88, 89, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 99, 104, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 112, 113, 115, 116, 120, 132, 133, 135, 136, 138, 154, 158, 159, 160, 164, 165, 174, 175, 177, 179, 193, 194, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 215, 216, 226 colour pages in landscape: 216 black and white pages in landscape: 237, 239, 240

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Created: Mon, 31 Jan 2011, 20:21:01 EST by Ms Nikola Sander on behalf of Library - Information Access Service