Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions

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Where are the fastest growing areas of Queensland

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released fascinating statistics relating to the hows and whys of population growth across Australia and Queensland.

Brisbane is back among Australia's fastest-growing cities, according to latest data.  Brisbane's population grew by 48,000 people in 2016-17 to reach 2.4 million - a 2 per cent increase since June 2016 - equal to Sydney and second only to Melbourne (2.7 per cent).  This was the fastest growth rate recorded for Brisbane since 2012-13.

The latest population estimates were the first to include data on the components driving population change in Australia's capital cities and regions – natural increase (births minus deaths), internal and overseas migration.  It is now possible to not only see how much population is changing in an area, but to understand why this change is occurring. In Brisbane, the contribution of each component to population growth was relatively even. Net overseas migration accounted for 38 per cent of population change in 2016-17, compared with 37 per cent from natural increase and 25 per cent from net internal migration.

Key findings for Australian States and Capital Cities include:

  • All states and territories experienced population growth between 2016 and 2017. Victoria had the largest growth in terms of absolute numbers (144,400 people), followed by New South Wales (121,800) and Queensland (79,600). The Northern Territory had the smallest growth (370).
  • Victoria also grew fastest (that is, it had the strongest growth rate), increasing by 2.3%, followed by the Australian Capital Territory (1.7%), New South Wales and Queensland (both 1.6%). The Northern Territory had the slowest growth (0.1%), followed by South Australia and Tasmania (both 0.6%), and Western Australia (0.8%).
  • Melbourne had the largest growth of all Greater Capital Cities (125,400), followed by Sydney (101,600) and Brisbane (48,000). This was the first time on record that Sydney had a population increase above 100,000 people. Together, these three cities accounted for over 70% of Australia's population growth in 2016-17.
  • Melbourne also had the fastest growth (2.7%), ahead of Brisbane and Sydney (both 2.0%).

The fastest and largest-growing area in Queensland in 2016-17 was Pimpama on the Gold Coast, which grew by 3,000 people (31 per cent). Net internal migration was the main driver of this growth, accounting for almost 90 per cent of population change in 2016-17. Other areas to experience large growth included Jimboomba on the southern outskirts of Brisbane, and North Lakes - Mango Hill in the Moreton Bay region, north of the city (both increasing by 2,100 people). Large growth also occurred in Coomera on the Gold Coast and Springfield Lakes, a suburb of Ipswich (both having a population increase of 1,400 people).

More specifically for Queensland:

  • Five of the ten SA2s with the largest population increases (in terms of absolute numbers) were located outside of Greater Brisbane, with three located on the Gold Coast.
  • The SA2 with the largest population increase in Queensland was Pimpama (3,000 people) on the Gold Coast, followed by Jimboomba on the southern outskirts of Greater Brisbane, and North Lakes - Mango Hill in the Moreton Bay region, north of Brisbane (both 2,100). Large growth also occurred in Coomera on the Gold Coast and Springfield Lakes, a suburb of Ipswich (both 1,400).
  • Pimpama was also the fastest-growing SA2 in Queensland (31%). This was followed by Ripley (15%), a suburb of Ipswich, and Newstead - Bowen Hills (10%), in inner Brisbane.

Population density varies greatly across Australia. Australia's population density at June 2017 was 3.2 people per square kilometre (sq km). Among the states and territories, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest population density, at 174 people per sq km, followed by Victoria (28), New South Wales (10), and Tasmania (7.7). The remaining states and territories all had population densities below the Australian figure, with the Northern Territory having the lowest at just 0.2 people per sq km. 

The most densely-populated SA2 in Australia in 2017 was inner-city Melbourne (19,500 people per sq km). The neighbouring SA2 of Carlton (12,100) also featured in Australia's top ten. In Brisbane, Kangaroo Point (6,800 people per sq km) and nearby New Farm (6,500) had the highest population densities.

At the other end of the scale, 205 SA2s in Australia had population densities of less than 1 person per sq km, the majority of which were in Queensland (46 SA2s), Western Australia (41) and New South Wales (37). The Northern Territory had the highest proportion of SA2s with less than 1 person per sq km, at 26%, followed by Western Australia (16%).

All statistics sourced from ABS Catalogue 3218.0

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