Population of coastal towns likely to swell in coming years

COASTAL sea change towns like Ballina, Lennox Head and Byron Bay are likely to see "historically high" levels of population growth over the coming years.

At the annual Australian Coastal Councils Conference at Ballina RSL yesterday, Australian Bureau of Statistics head of demography Denise Carlton spoke about population trends and projections for coastal towns in Australia.

"Australia has seen historically high levels of population growth and in the sea change councils we're seeing higher growth than for other regions," she said.

"The capital cities actually grow at a faster rate, but in terms of regional Australia, we're seeing some very strong growth in sea change regions."

Since 2001, Ms Carlton said there had been an additional 882,000 people across 120 coastal sea-change towns, equalling an impressive 21% population growth.

Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Head of demography at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Denise Carlton. Patrick Gorbunovs

"If we see the same sorts of population trend happening as we're seeing currently, in 13 years time there will be another 860,000 people.

"A lot of that's being driven by net overseas immigration, but for sea-change councils, you're also in many cases seeing net gains through internal migration, so people moving to these areas."

This population growth will be even greater for those aged 65 and over, with projections expecting the older demographic to more than double by 2026.

By understanding these growth trends, Ms Carlton said councils would be able to maximise their investment in planning and infrastructure to best serve the community into the future.

Population projections


2014: 41,318,

2026: 43,642

Byron Bay:

2014: 31,697,

2026: 34,227


2014: 9802,

2026: 10,867


2014: 45,619,

2026: 50,654


2014: 11,742,

2026: 12,987