You grow up in the outer suburbs, you move to the city, you make a tree change and then you retire to the seaside.
According to figures released this week, Victorians move from the youngest areas (Melton) in to the area with the highest ratios of 20- and 30-somethings — Melbourne. In their mid-30s and 40s they move out to become regional breeders. They retire in, say, Queenscliff, which dominates the top three age groups.
It’s a well-known story of Victorian life, but only one of the statistical quirks captured in the annual National Regional Profile. It’s a set of figures that gives a glimpse of “the Lucky Country” you won’t find in tourist brochures.
Worst man drought
Since women don’t tend to cluster in the same way men do, the gender disparity weighted towards women is less stark. Nonetheless, if the men of Wiluna or Junee are looking to improve their odds of meeting a woman, they might consider Peppermint Grove, Perth, where there are only 82.7 men to every 100 women.
Peppermint Grove is also Australia’s most advantaged local government area, according to the latest ABS index. The average wage in this waterfront location is nearly $93,600, nearly twice the national average ($52,000).
Where kids are king
Children rule in the Indigenous community of Doomadgee, in Queensland. Here, children under 15 make up more than one in three residents, compared with one in five nationally.
Queensland is also home to Australia’s youngest local government areas, Cherbourg in the state’s south-east and Yarrabah in the north-east, both with a median age of just 22.5, nearly 15 years younger than the national median of 37.3.
Where old is gold
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the seaside resort town of Victor Harbor, South Australia, is Australia’s oldest local government area, with a median age of 56.9. More than one in three residents (36.5 per cent) are older than 65.
Halls Creek, in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia’s north-east, has the country’s highest death rate. At 16.4 deaths per 1000, the people of this roadhouse town (eight in 10 of whom are Indigenous) die at three times the rate of other Australians. It is the state’s most disadvantaged local government area. But there are stirrings of change. Domestic violence and assault offences have halved and alcohol-related emergency department presentations have dropped by nearly 65 per cent since alcohol restrictions were introduced in 2009.
On the other side of WA, about 2500 kilometres from Halls Creek, lies the country’s most fertile local government area. Mukinbudin’s birth rate is quadruple the national average (7.7 births per woman).
If there’s one thing Sydney offers that no other Australian region does, it’s that sense of being close to your neighbours. Nine of the 10 most densely populated local government areas in Australia are in greater Sydney, with the Waverley local government area, home to Bondi Beach, ranked No. 1 with a population density of 7650 people to a square kilometre. Nationally, Australia has three people for every square kilometre.
Tourism brochures might tell you the Gold Coast is famous for fun, but this mecca of surf and sun also claims the dubious honour of the highest number of bankruptcies.
High unemployment, plummeting property values and tough lending conditions have all played a role in sending businesses and residents bust, according to Insolvency Guardian managing partner Jarrod Sierocki.
“People are mortgaged to the hilt,” he says, and property values have dropped by more than 40 per cent in the past five years.
“As a result, they can’t keep up with their repayments, businesses are failing, employees are losing their jobs and, unfortunately, they’re stuck ... because they can’t sell their properties.”