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Gold Coast-Tweed area had highest city population growth

THE Gold Coast-Tweed region has leapfrogged Newcastle to become Australia's sixth largest metropolitan area.

A report released this week, State of Australian Cities 2012, showed the Gold Coast-Tweed area had the highest population growth of Australia's 18 major cities over the past decade.

Gold Coast-Tweed's population grew by 2.8% in the 10 years to 2011, almost twice the national average of 1.5%, from 438,136 people in 2001 to 576,747 last year.

It is now home to 2.6% of all Australians.And it appears it is young people who are attracted to the area's golden beaches and perfect weather.

The report showed the Gold Coast was the only major city between 1996 and 2011 to experience a decline in the proportion of its population aged 65 and over, from 17.5% to 15.7%.

In fact, the Gold and Sunshine coasts were the only major cities not to experience a decline in the proportion of young adults in their populations.

But the area's reputation as a first-choice holiday destination for Australians appears to be waning.

The number of domestic visitor nights was down noticeably in the year to March, from 16.4 million in 2008 to 13.7 million this year.

"As one of Australia's beach holiday destinations popular with domestic tourists, it (Gold Coast-Tweed) is increasingly competing with international short-haul destinations, such as Thailand, Fiji and Bali," the report reads.

Gold Coast was one of only two major city airports to experience a decrease in international passenger movements, with Cairns being the other.

But there was a slight increase in international visitor nights, up 200,000 since 2008 to 8.2 million.

The report noted average temperatures on the Gold Coast's had trended gradually upwards between 1952 and 2011, with a marked downward trend in annual rainfall in the same period.

Between 2000 and 2008 the Gold Coast labour force participation rate jumped more than 2% but has since declined slightly to 65.8%, which is still higher than the 65.1% national average.

Interestingly the Gold Coast had the highest labour force participation rate of the major cities for people aged 65 and over.

State of Australian Cities 2012 is the third in a series of annual reports commissioned by the Federal Government.

It used current data, including results from the Census, to track how cities are evolving and to help with urban policy development.

Topics:  gold coast, population growth, tweed



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