The South Burnett experienced its second consecutive year of population growth in 2021 after suffering declines in five of the six years between 2014 and 2019 (Data: ABS)

March 30, 2022

The South Burnett’s population grew by 0.9 per cent in 2021, according to the latest estimates from demographics analysis company ID (Informed Decisions).

On Wednesday, ID reported the region’s population rose from 32,633 to 32,920 during 2021, an increase of 287 people.

This is only the third population increase since 2013, and follows a 0.35 per cent increase in 2020 (114 people).

Most neighbouring regions – with the exception of Gympie and Somerset – recorded lower population growth percentages in the same reporting period.

ID estimated that Gympie’s population grew by 1.5 per cent to 53,725 in 2020, while Somerset’s population rose by 1 per cent to 26,552.

Against this, Toowoomba’s population grew by 0.5 per cent to 171,135; the North Burnett by 0.4 per cent to 10,702; while the population of Western Downs shrank by 15 people to 34,560.

ID stressed its population projections were based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest Regional Population Growth report.

This annual population update for Australia’s Local Government Areas will be superseded by 2021 Census data, which is due to be released from late July.

Population growth – or decline – is important because of the effects it has on regional economies.

Declining populations mean Councils have a shrinking base of ratepayers, so the impact of rate rises on individual households steadily gets stronger.

Declining populations also mean local businesses have fewer customers to sell to, which limits their ability to create jobs and can fuel further population decline as younger residents leave to find employment elsewhere.

Declining populations can also affect home values, with fewer buyers and longer sale times forcing down prices and making it harder to secure finance.

And since many State and Federal government services are funded based on population, a declining population can lead to cutbacks in government funding and fewer services.

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