3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 1991 to 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/07/2002   
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July 25, 2002
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Latest official Wagga Wagga population estimates (based on 2001 Census)

Estimated Resident Population (ERP) figures for the City of Wagga Wagga and Australia's other Local Government Areas (LGAs) were released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS estimates that the resident population of Wagga Wagga was 56,700 on 30 June 2001.

The figures, based on results of the 2001 Census, showed a small increase of 600 in the population of Wagga Wagga in the five years to 30 June 2001. This represents an average annual increase of 0.2% compared with 1.3% for the whole of New South Wales, 0.5% for the whole of the Murrumbidgee Statistical Division (including Wagga Wagga) and 0.4% for the neighbouring Murray Statistical Division.

"It appears that most of the growth in Wagga Wagga occurred between 1996 and 1999 and the population declined slightly in the last two years," said Patrick Corr, ABS Director of Demographic Statistics. "Wagga Wagga had a smaller increase and slower rate of growth than the nearby cities of Griffith, Albury and Greater Shepparton."

Selected areas
ERP at
30 June 1996
ERP at
30 June 2001
Change 1996-2001
Average annual
growth rate 1996-2001

Wagga Wagga (C)
Griffith (C)
Albury (C)
Greater Shepparton (C)
Total Murrumbidgee Stat. Division
Total Murray Stat. Division
Total New South Wales

All numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred.
(C) City.

"ABS population estimates represent the usual resident population of an area," said Mr Corr. "They are prepared using Census counts on a place of usual residence basis taking into account the exclusion of overseas visitors counted in the Census, the inclusion of Australian residents temporarily overseas on Census night, and an estimate for net undercount in the Census, a small but inevitable reality of conducting a National Census. The ERPs are also backdated to the 30 June 2001 from the 7 August Census date using estimates of births, deaths and migration."

As a major regional centre, Wagga Wagga had many visitors on Census night; 211 overseas visitors, and 2,364 visitors from other parts of Australia were counted in Wagga Wagga. Wagga Wagga residents were also counted in other parts of Australia.

Following criticism last year that the ABS population estimates did not take into consideration recruits at the Army base and university students in Wagga, the ABS examined the 2001 Census results closely in preparing the latest resident population estimates.

The 2001 Census results have revealed that while the occupants of staff quarters at the Army and RAAF bases were counted in the Census, only 22% of those counted at the Army base and 80% of those at the RAAF base regarded Wagga Wagga as their place of usual residence on Census night.

"The data confirm that trainees and other visitors staying in Wagga for a short period of time answered correctly by providing their address of usual residence on their Census form", said Mr Corr.

There were 2,373 full-time university students counted in Wagga Wagga on Census night, but only 2,026 (85%) stated that Wagga Wagga was their place of usual residence. About 100 full-time university students who stated they were usual residents of Wagga Wagga were counted in other parts of Australia on Census night.

In addition to being used by Commonwealth and State governments for determining the distribution of funds, ABS resident population estimates are used to determine the number of seats for each State and Territory in the House of Representatives. Proportional representation in the House of Representatives based on population is a hallmark of the Australian Constitution and electoral system since federation. For official population purposes, each person is accounted for once in Australia, and that is at their place of usual residence, the place where each person has lived or intends to live for six months or more from the reference date.

Mr Corr advised that the estimates released today were preliminary and subject to revision as there had been a delay in the receipt of data from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to determine the number of residents temporarily overseas on Census night. Final estimates for 30 June 2001 would be released in 2003 and would form an important basis for the preparation of estimates for the next five years. Additional detailed results from the 2001 Census on people who have moved will be released later this year.

Further details may be found in the publication Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 1991 to 2001 (cat. no. 3218.0).