The Australian Dream

Housing Experiences of Older Australians

January 2017
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    26th January 2017
  • ISBN 9781486301454
  • Language English
  • Pages 288 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9.5"

Australia is experiencing a significant demographic shift – the proportion of the population that is aged 65 years and older has increased substantially and is continuing to do so. With this shift comes particular housing challenges for older people. The Australian Dream examines the impacts of housing tenure on older Australians who are solely or primarily dependent on the Age Pension for their income. Drawing on 125 in-depth interviews, it compares the life circumstances of older social housing tenants, private renters and homeowners – their capacity to pay for their accommodation, how this cost impacts on their ability to lead a decent life, maintain social ties and pursue leisure activities, and how their housing situation affects their health and well being.

The book considers some key questions: Are older homeowners who are solely dependent on the single Age Pension managing financially? Are they able to maintain their homes and engage in social activity? How are older private renters who have to pay market rents faring in comparison with older homeowners and social housing tenants? What are the implications of subsidized rents and legally guaranteed security of tenure for older social housing tenants?

This pioneering research starkly and powerfully reveals the fundamental role that affordable, adequate and secure housing plays in creating a foundation for a decent life for older Australians.

"This is an outstanding research-based analysis of the changing housing circumstances of older Australians."

Emeritus Professor Chris Paris, University of Ulster

"Alan Morris' thoughtful and meticulous study not only provides valuable insights about the housing problems faced by many older Australians but a trenchant critique of contemporary policy-making."

Professor Keith Jacobs, University of Tasmania

About the author
1. Housing tenure and an ageing society
2. The growing divide: housing policy and older Australians
3. "You cannot live on that … It’s a joke": housing tenure and the capacity to pay for accommodation
4. "You go past the shops and you look and you can’t buy": the cost of accommodation and the ability to lead a decent life
on the Age Pension
5. "Exceedingly miserable and bloody cold": accommodation and housing tenure
6. "My social life is down the drain": housing tenure, social ties and leisure
7. "I really have thought this can’t go on": housing tenure and health
8. "I won’t be here that long because they are waiting for the right price": landlord–tenant relations
9. The increasing residualization of social housing and its implications for older tenants
10. Conclusions: where to from here?
Appendix A: methodology employed in the study
Appendix B: profile of interviewees

Alan Morris

Alan Morris is a research professor in The Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney. His main areas of research have been in housing policy, housing tenure and older households and social policy.