Census analysis reveals enormous increase in the number of older Queenslanders living in private rentals

The number of people older than 55 living in private rentals in Queensland increased by 71% over the past decade, according to new analysis of the 2021 Census released today.

The analysis, commissioned by Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG), was undertaken by researchers at Swinburne University of Technology, Western Sydney University and Curtin University.In 2021 there was 172,000 people over 55 living in private rentals in Queensland, an increase from 101,000 in 2011. That also represents a significant increase in the proportion of people older than 55 in Queensland’s private rental market. In 2021 13.1% Queenslanders over 55 were living in a private rental, up from 10.7% in 2011.

That’s higher than the national figure – 10.6% of people in Australia over 55 living in private rentals.

Over half of these older renters – almost 100,000 people – are on low incomes.

HAAG Executive Officer Fiona York says it speaks to the size of the challenge facing Queensland as its population continues to age and the housing crisis shows no signs of abating.
“Every one of those 100,000 Queenslanders on low incomes who are having to compete in the private rental market are placed at increased risk of homelessness as a result,” she says.
“We commend the Queensland Government for recognising the needs of older women and funding the delivery of the Housing Older Women Support Service by Footprints Community, and investing in social housing more broadly.

“This data shows why it’s important the government continues to invest to increase the supply of social, public and community housing, and makes it available to the older people who need it.”
For older people living in regional Queensland the problem is even more pronounced. More than 30% of people over 55 living in a private rental in regional Queensland were on very low incomes – less than $40,000 per year.

Older women on low incomes are at increased risk. These women are overrepresented in the private rental market compared to men, making up 55.7% of over 55s on very low incomes living in private rentals.

“Our retirement system is built on the idea that people own their own home when they retire. For a growing number of Queenslanders, that’s no longer the reality,” York says.
 “It must continue to invest in social housing and work to strengthen tenancy protections for older renters if we are to prevent a wave of people in Queensland from experiencing homelessness as they grow older.”