Townsville leads growth in the North. Cassowary Coast goes backwards

The ABS has released regional population estimates (as of end June 2013) this morning which show Townsville as the stand-out growth winner in the North.
Total population in Australia was estimated at 23.1 million, an increase of 407,000 (+1.8%) over the year to June 2013. QLD enjoyed the third fastest growth amongst the states. Population growth in the Sunshine State was +1.9% to take the population to 4.66 million (+88,600 people over the year). WA (+3.3%) and NT (+2.1%) were in first and second position.
In the North Townsville saw an extra 4,692 people to take the area’s total to 189,238 (+2.5% y/y), Cairns grew by 1.9% (or 3,220 people) to 168,618 while the Cassowary Coast saw a small decline (64 people or 0.2%) to 28, 694. (Weipa actually beat Townsville in terms of growth rate (+3.8%) but this only took the area’s population to 3,795)
The fastest growing area in the State was Gladstone which saw population jump by 4.1% over the year to 63,955.
For those keen to get Cairns above Townsville on some measure, then population growth over the previous decade might do the trick. Since June 2003 Cairns has grown by 28.9%, Townsville by 27.9% and the Cassowary Coast has fallen by 2.5%.
The impacts of 2 major Tropical Cyclones in 5 years (TC Larry in Mar 2006 and TC Yasi in Feb 2011) can be clearly seen in the population data for the Cassowary Coast. June 2006 saw a 1.8% drop in numbers, and then June 2011 another 0.3% decline. Population recovery in the inter-cyclone years has been slow and patchy and the current weakened economic environment in the region has no doubt contributed to this most recent fall.

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