Almost half of all Queenslanders live in Brisbane, but these areas outside the capital are on the rise.
With the infamous #CensusFail in the rearview mirror, and with a respectable 95.1 per cent of Australians ultimately responding to the poll, the 2016 Census results have been released.
While almost half of all Queensland residents are living in Greater Brisbane (an increase of 9.9 per cent since the last Census in 2011), the state’s most rapid population growth is happening outside the capital.
In fact, North Lakes is the fastest growing region in Queensland. Located 26 kilometres north of Brisbane’s CBD, this suburb of the Moreton Bay Region recorded an impressive 39 per cent population increase, up from 52,000 people in 2011 to 72,000 people in 2016.
A number of major new developments have opened in North Lakes since the last Census, including Westfield North Lakes, an IKEA superstore, and Queensland’s first Costco. The suburb, which is increasingly popular with young families, is also home to numerous state and private primary and senior schools and colleges, as well as a variety of child care and early learning centres.
Ormeau-Oxenford, located between Brisbane and the picturesque Gold Coast, was the second fastest-growing region, with a 28.7 per cent increase, up from 94,000 people in 2011 to 121,000 people in 2016.
The sand and surf of Queensland’s coastal regions are proving to be an irresistible lure for many residents, with similarly high growth rates recorded in Buderim (19.1 per cent), Surfers Paradise (15.6 per cent), and Caloundra (15.6 per cent).
The Gold Coast Local Government Area also recorded a sizable 12.4 per cent increase in its population.
Overall, Queensland’s population has grown by 8.6 per cent since the last Census. The population now stands at 4,703,193 usual residents.
New South Wales remains the nation’s most populous state, with 7,480,228 usual residents, ahead of Victoria in second place (5,926,624 usual residents) and Queensland in third.
But it was the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) that recorded the largest population growth of any state, adding 40,000 new residents for an increase of 11 per cent.
Greater Sydney is still Australia’s largest population centre, with 4,823,991 people, but it barely took out the title — Greater Melbourne is closing in fast with 4,485,211 people, an increase of around 1,859 people every week since 2011.
The majority of migrants are settling in Sydney and Melbourne, although Queensland is particularly attractive to one particular migrant group. One in three New Zealanders (35 per cent) who arrived in Australia since 2011 chose to make Queensland home, making the Sunshine State the most popular destination for Kiwis.
More than a quarter of all Australian residents (26 per cent) are now born overseas, and for the first time in the nation’s history, the majority of those people born overseas are from Asia, not Europe.
Despite a report by the Prime Minister’s special advisor on cyber security last year that stated the Census would need a 96.5 per cent response rate to be “fit-for-purpose”, as opposed to the 95.1 per cent response rate we actually got, Australian statistician David W Kalisch insists the 2016 data is of a high quality.
“The Independent Assurance Panel I established to provide extra assurance and transparency of Census data quality concluded that the 2016 Census data can be used with confidence,” Mr Kalisch said.
“The 2016 Census had a response rate of 95.1 per cent and a net undercount of 1.0 per cent. This is a quality result, comparable to both previous Australian Censuses and Censuses in other countries, such as New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
“Furthermore, 63 per cent of people completed the Census online, embracing the digital-first approach and contributing to faster data processing and data quality improvements.
“2016 Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia, which will be used to inform critical policy, planning and service delivery decisions for our communities over the coming years.”