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Population growth and turnover data for all LGAs is available in the datacube on the downloads tab. All of the maps contained in this article are also available on the downloads tab in pdf format.
This updates previous analysis of data released in Perspectives on Regional Australia: Population Growth and Turnover in Local Government Areas (LGAs), 2001 to 2006 (cat. no. 1380.0.55.007).
REGIONAL VARIATIONS IN POPULATION GROWTH, 2006 TO 2011
The average annual population growth rate in Australia, based on Census counts of usual residents, was 1.6% between 2006 and 2011. Among the 461 Local Government Areas (LGAs) with a Census population count of more than 1500 in 2006, average annual population growth varied between an increase of 12.8% in East Pilbara (S) in Western Australia and a decrease of 3.9% in Robe (DC), in south-eastern South Australia. Map 1 shows the regional variation in the average annual population growth rates in Australia between 2006 and 2011.
MAP 1. AVERAGE ANNUAL POPULATION GROWTH - Local Government Areas, 2006 to 2011
The LGAs with the ten highest and lowest average annual population growth rates are presented in Table 1. Seven of the ten areas with the highest growth rates were in Western Australia. These include the remote northern LGAs of East Pilbara (S), Ashburton (S) and Roebourne (S), all LGAs with mining activity, as well as the capital city LGA of Perth (C), and Serpentine-Jarrahdale (S) and Wanneroo (C) in the Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA) of Perth. The remaining three of the ten areas with the highest population growth rates were in the GCCSA of Melbourne in Victoria. All of the ten LGAs with the lowest average annual population growth rates were in regional or remote areas.
TABLE 1. AVERAGE ANNUAL POPULATION GROWTH RATES - Top Ten and Bottom Ten LGAs, 2006 to 2011 (a)
(b) See Appendix 2: Data and methodological limitations for details of how this is calculated.
Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011
Note: This table is based on place of usual residence. Cells in this table have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data.
REGIONAL VARIATIONS IN POPULATION TURNOVER, 2006 TO 2011
Population turnover rates measure the movement of people into and out of a region. Population turnover rates may indicate change in the composition of a region's population, which can have an effect on the region's economy, housing market and demand for services. Additional analysis is needed to determine whether turnover is associated with compositional change in a region. For example, a university town may have high turnover as a result of students coming and going, but if the student populations have similar characteristics over time, the composition of the region's population will not change. On the other hand, an area which has undergone significant urban renewal might have high turnover and compositional change in the population, as the new residents who are attracted to the area may have different age and income profiles than the former residents. The Census Community Profiles for 2006 and 2011 (available on the Census page of the ABS website) provide useful information for assessing population composition, economic and other changes in regions.
For each LGA, the population turnover rate shows how many, out of every thousand people, moved into and / or left the LGA between 2006 and 2011. The median population turnover rate of all LGAs in Australia was 441.9 arrivals (people who moved in) and departures (people who left) per thousand people. Map 2 and Table 2 show population turnover rates for LGAs between 2006 and 2011, based on Census data. Map 2 shows some areas of high population turnover in Western Australia and Queensland, and some areas of low population turnover in New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Further information, including the arrivals, departures and turnover rate for each LGA, is available in the datacube on the downloads tab.
MAP 2. POPULATION TURNOVER RATES - Local Government Areas, 2006 to 2011
Table 2 presents, for LGAs with more than 1500 residents in 2006, the LGAs with the highest and lowest population turnover rates. Table 2 also provides the breakdown of arrivals - the number of people who moved in to the LGA - and departures - the number of people who moved out of the LGA between 2006 and 2011. This is important because the implications of population turnover are different depending on whether the turnover is a result of people moving in, people moving out, or both. This information is provided for all LGAs in the datacube which accompanies this article.
The LGAs of Perth (C), together with East Pilbara (S), Ashburton (M), Roebourne (S) and Port Hedland (T) in the Pilbara mining region of Western Australia, and Roxby Downs (M), a mining area in northern South Australia, make up the top six LGAs in terms of population turnover rates.
POPULATION GROWTH AND TURNOVER, 2006 TO 2011
Analysing population growth rates and population turnover rates together is useful because it can provide additional insight into the dynamics of a region's population and the needs of the community living there. For example, this analysis can help to explain why the demographic characteristics and demand for services in a region are changing even if the population count is relatively stable.
Between 2006 and 2011, the median average annual population growth rate for LGAs was 0.9%, and the median population turnover rate was 441.9 arrivals and departures per thousand people. However, the LGAs that experienced high population growth between 2006 and 2011 did not necessarily have high population turnover in that same period. For example, Ballarat (C) had a relatively high average annual population growth rate of 1.9% between 2006 and 2011, but a low population turnover rate of 348.6 per thousand.
To examine LGAs from both a population growth and a population turnover perspective, LGAs can be grouped into one of the following four categories:
1. High growth and high turnover;
2. High growth and low turnover;
3. Low growth and high turnover;
4. Low growth and low turnover.
In this article, LGAs were considered to have high (or low) population growth if their average annual population growth rate was above (or below) the median growth rate for all LGAs. Similarly, LGAs were considered to have high (or low) population turnover if their population turnover rate was above (or below) the median turnover rate for all LGAs. Each of the four categories presents different issues, for example, for planners, policy makers and service providers. Some examples of these issues are provided in the following discussion.
Map 3 presents the results of classifying LGAs into these four categories.
MAP 3. POPULATION GROWTH AND POPULATION TURNOVER RATES - Local Government Areas, 2006 to 2011
LGAs with high population growth and low population turnover face challenges associated with new arrivals to the area, such as more people requiring services in the community. Fifteen percent of all LGAs fell into this category between 2006 and 2011, including the regional centres of Greater Bendigo (C), Ballarat (C), Greater Shepparton (C) and Warrnambool (C) in Victoria, Orange (C) and Tamworth Regional (A) in New South Wales, Toowoomba (R) and Bundaberg (C) in Queensland and Barossa (DC) and Murray Bridge (RC) in South Australia.
LGAs in and around capital cities that experienced high population growth and low population turnover over this period included Frankston (C) and Hume (C) in Melbourne, Blacktown (C), Liverpool (C) and Bankstown (C) in Sydney and Brisbane (C).
MAP 5. CATEGORY 2 LGAs: HIGH POPULATION GROWTH AND LOW POPULATION TURNOVER RATES, 2006 to 2011
LGAs with low population growth and high population turnover may face challenges due to the changing composition of their populations. For example, the new residents may have different needs than the previous residents, or the turnover may create additional work for service providers even if the level of services a community requires remains the same. As Map 6 shows, many rural and remote LGAs fell into this category between 2006 and 2011. There were also many established LGAs in capital cities in this category. In cities, population growth may be constrained by limited space for new housing developments and other reasons.
The states with the highest proportion of LGAs in this category were Western Australia and Queensland (40% and 19% respectively). In Western Australia, this category included the outer regional and remote LGAs such as Katanning (S), Carnarvon (S) and Northhampton (S), as well as many metropolitan LGAs such as Claremont (T), Mosman Park (T) and Cottesloe (T). In Queensland, LGAs in this category included the outer regional and remote LGAs of Cloncurry (S), Torres (S), Longreach (R) and Flinders (S).
The outer regional LGAs of Cobar (A), Bourke (A), Central Darling (A) and Bogan (A) in New South Wales all had low population growth and high population turnover over this period, as did several metropolitan Sydney LGAs including Ashfield (A), Waverley (A) and Woollahra (A). In South Australia, as well as the remote LGA of Coober Pedy (DC), several metropolitan Adelaide LGAs fell into this category, including Norwood Payneham St Peters (C), Prospect (C), Unley (C) and Walkerville (C). In Tasmania, the captial city LGA of Hobart (C) fell into this category.
MAP 6. CATEGORY 3 LGAs: LOW POPULATION GROWTH AND HIGH POPULATION TURNOVER RATES, 2006 to 2011
MAP 7. CATEGORY 4 LGAs: LOW POPULATION GROWTH AND LOW POPULATION TURNOVER RATES, 2006 to 2011
Population growth and turnover are of interest for planning, design and delivery of services and infrastructure in regions. This article examines growth and turnover, both separately and together, between 2006 and 2011.
LGAs were grouped into four categories based on population growth (high – low) and turnover (high – low). Categories 4 (low growth and low turnover) and 1 (high growth and high turnover) contained the most LGAs, with 35% and 31% of all LGAs in Australia, respectively. Category 3 (low growth and high turnover) contained 19% of LGAs and the remaining 15% were in category 2 (high growth and low turnover).
Using this categorisation, a number of regional differences can be observed. Many LGAs with high population growth and high turnover between 2006 and 2011 were in Western Australia and Queensland. Many of the category two LGAs, with high growth and low turnover, were larger regional centres. LGAs in category three, which have low growth and high turnover, were largely situated in rural and remote areas or in the established LGAs of larger cities. The majority of LGAs in Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia fell into category four, with low growth and low turnover. The results for all LGAs can be found in the datacube in the downloads tab.
This analysis is not without limitations. It uses data from the 2006 and 2011 Censuses of Population and Housing. It should be remembered that the Census is not the source of Australia's official estimates of population growth. The official statistics regarding Australia's population are known as the Estimated Resident Population and are based on the Census, but take into account the Census undercount in their estimation. Estimated Resident Populations for LGAs can be found in 'Regional Population Growth, Australia' (cat. no. 3218.0). The calculation of population turnover uses people's responses to the Census question about where they lived five years ago. However, it should be remembered that not all Australians respond to the Census, or complete this question. Therefore, the average annual population growth and population turnover rates in this article are best considered indicators of actual population growth and turnover. Further explanation of the data and methodological limitations can be found in Appendix 2.
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