Check out market updates

Population 2016 – winner or loser? 

Late next week the latest edition of Australian Demographic Statistics will be released.  It will give us a state/territory breakdown and update the state of play regarding overseas and interstate migration movements.  It is the last ABS release of the year.

Michael Matisuk has provided us with the Queensland Population estimates for 2016.  For example, based on recent years, Brisbane City Council should hold 1,193,000 residents within the next couple of years.  The official projections suggest a lower population count of 1,176,000.  That’s 17,000 fewer people.  This is equivalent to about two new suburbs.  Interestingly, Brisbane’s population growth has often been underestimated, as new residents will utilise (share) existing accommodation to be closer to work, for example, rather than moving into an area only when new accommodation is being provided for them.

In contrast, Ipswich’s population was projected to be 222,000 by 2016, but based on current trends it will struggle to hit 200,000 within the next two years.  This difference, again, is the equivalence of two or three new suburbs.

In short, not enough infrastructure is being planned for Brisbane City, whilst Ipswich is probably getting more than its fair share.  Fighting words, indeed!


Winners & losers

Those Queensland localities where the population outlook has overstated the likely level of growth include:

  • Ipswich (23,000 less than expected)
  • Gold Coast (9,000 less)
  • Moreton Bay (8,000 less)
  • Sunshine Coast (5,000 less)
  • Bundaberg (4,000 less)
  • Redland (4,000 less)

Those areas which are doing better than forecast include:

  • Brisbane City (17,000 more than expected)
  • Logan (4,000 more)
  • Toowoomba (4,000 more)

The other Queensland areas are trending in line with population forecasts.

Let’s not be too harsh here; the demo gods are often getting things right… well within a plus or minus 5 per cent range, which is pretty good going.  Government resources and infrastructure, in the main, should be well allocated as a result of this demographic foresight.


A common theme amongst the underperformers is the dwindling of Queensland net interstate migration, plus the shrinking sea change shift.

Ipswich holds promise, but it is a chicken and egg situation – the move west is resisted until there is enough pull there to attract more residents.  What’s happening in and around Springfield, plus the relaxation of the planning/housing code across Ipswich (i.e. allowing multiple smaller homes on single sites), could see a reversal of their population fortunes in the years to come.

Logan is attracting more population growth than projected because of the local council, and especially Logan City Council Mayor, Cr Pam Parker’s proactive attitude towards the provision of real affordable housing.  Cr Parker is also a member of the Future Housing Task Force.

Toowoomba has had, for a long time, much more potential than the locals have given the place credit for.  Outsiders clearly see it.

And yet, despite being the most decentralised state/territory in Australia – our map also shows that – the vast majority of Queensland’s population is concentrated in its south east corner of the state.

End note

In conclusion, population forecasts aren’t always right.  Social, economic, political and even cultural shifts have a significant bearing on demographic outcomes.  It’s a moving target.  We will try to keep you informed.