After years of social isolation, enforced work-from-home, a return to a slower pace of life and the great reprioritisation, 2022 brought a welcome change of life beyond lockdown.
In 2022 people returned to the workplace – and in many cases it was only for a few days a week (with 62% saying a hybrid of work from home and the workplace was their ideal). Although the working landscape was characterised by staff shortages and the Great Resignation, leaders did well to grapple with these challenges, lead in these new environments and engage the next generation of employees.
In 2022, the world’s population ticked over eight billion people. In Australia, we opened our borders again and welcomed 212,300 people to the nation in the first half of 2022, with 58,100 having been through natural increases and 154,200 through net overseas migration.
Although NSW and VIC have welcomed 67% of Australia’s growth through overseas migration, QLD has been growing strongly through interstate migration. Queensland has grown by 19,600 through net interstate migration in the first half of 2022 as people leave the southern states for a more affordable and liveable lifestyle up north.
The Census results were released this year too and showed that we’re more culturally diverse than ever (with 27.7% of us born overseas and 48% have at least one parent born overseas). It also showed a changing of the guard generationally, with Millennials (the parents of Generation Alpha) overtaking Baby Boomers as Australia’s largest generation.
In the 2022 baby names report, we uncovered that, for the first time since 2015, Australia has a new top baby girl name in the name Isla, which dethroned Charlotte from her long-standing number one baby girl name title. The other most popular baby girl names include Olivia, Amelia and Ava. For the boys names, Oliver maintained his spot at number one, followed by Noah, Jack, Henry and William.
In true Aussie fashion, we also saw the trend of shortening names and adding an ‘ie’ on the end, like in the names Rose to Rosie, Savannah to Sadie, Amelia to Millie, Isabella to Billie, Charlotte to Charlie, Elizabeth to Ellie and William to Billy. Other popular names that end in an ie or i included Evie, Sophie, Frankie, Ellie, Elsie, Billie, Mackenzie, Sadie, Bonnie, Remi, Millie, Charlie, Hallie, Maggie, Heidi and Rosie for girls names and Charlie, Archie, Levi, Kai, Eli, Ari, Bodhi and Ali for boys. Boys names ending in o also became popular, including Leo (6th), Arlo (30th), Hugo (31st), Theo (73rd) and Leonardo (93rd).
The most searched terms on Google reveal what we have been most curious about. The top overall Google searches centred on the themes of sport, global events and global personalities that have had a big impact. Even though the top search terms were a mix of national and international events and public figures, none of these beat out the game Wordle, which came out on top as the most Googled term in 2022 among Australians.
The Oxford Word of the Year reflects the year’s ‘ethos, mood or preoccupations’. In 2022, for the first time, the public voted on the word of the year, and chose ‘goblin mode’. While the meaning is not immediately obvious, it describes “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”
While in 2020 there were a number of words chosen and the 2021 word of the year was ‘vax’, the word of the year for 2022 being ‘goblin mode’ shows the impacts of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns are still being felt, as people embrace the ability to, in a cathartic way, stay home and relax in the most comfortable way possible. Pre-pandemic many of us experienced FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Then during the pandemic it was HOGO (Hassle Of Going Out). And now, in post-pandemic times, it’s Goblin Mode.
Other honourable mentions that should also be noted include Merriam-Webster’s word of the year which was deemed to be gaslighting (the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage), and the Collins word of the year which was permacrisis (a term that describes an extended period of instability and insecurity).
Social media apps are the most popular apps in the world, with TikTok continuing its dominance as the most downloaded app. This was followed by other Meta owned apps like Instagram and Facebook, as well as Whatsapp. Generation Z aren’t just using TikTok for entertainment, but to learn new skills. More than two in five (42%) of 16-24 year olds said they turn to TikTok on a daily basis to teach themselves new skills. This was above parents (39%) and came only after teachers (50%) and websites (48%).
The most liked photo of 2022 was a photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo of himself and Lionel Messi playing chess. While this photo amassed over an incredible 41 million likes, it is still less than the most liked Instagram photo of all time – a photo of an egg which amassed over 55 million likes (posted in 2017).
Each year, Time magazine awards a person of the year to, according to the magazine, someone “who affected the news or our lives the most, for better or worse”. In 2021, TIME’s person of the year was Elon Musk. In 2022, Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine has taken the title. TIME magazine’s editor said the decision was “the most clear cut in memory.” He went on to say that in a world defined by its divisiveness, Mr Zelensky had not only inspired people in Ukraine, but his courage inspired people all over the world. And it’s not just Mr Zelensky, but the people of Ukraine, including many who fought behind the scenes and who captured the spirit of Ukraine, who have been named TIME’s person of the year.
Pantone has described the colour of 2022 – Very Peri – as a colour “whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity. In these transformative times, Pantone says that Very Peri is a symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition from intense periods of isolation to the merging of the physical and digital lives. With trends in gaming, the expanding popularity of the metaverse and rising artistic community in the digital space PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri illustrates the fusion of modern life and how colour trends in the digital world are being manifested in the physical world and vice versa.”
Article supplied with thanks to McCrindle.
About the Author: McCrindle are a team of researchers and communications specialists who discover insights, and tell the story of Australians – what we do, and who we are.