Victoria’s population reached 5.26 million by the time the latest Census was taken in  August 2016. With an average growth rate of 2.1% per annum over 2011-16, Victoria became home to an additional 573,000 residents. To put this into perspective, this equates to an extra 115,000 new residents each year which is more than the capacity of the MCG and around three-quarters the size of either Ballarat or Bendigo.

Given the range of planning and transport infrastructure initiatives aimed at consolidating Melbourne’s growth and encouraging regional development, it is interesting to identify where population growth has been occurring across the state.

The figure below, which shows the distribution of population growth at a Statistical Area 3 level, highlights the increasing role of inner Melbourne in accommodating population growth. Melbourne City, Stonnington – West and Yarra increased their combined share of growth from 5.7% over 2006-2011 to 11.1% over 2011-2016. Population growth continues to be concentrated in Melbourne’s residential growth areas which accounted for around 40% of Victoria’s population growth.

While Bendigo, Ballarat and the Latrobe Valley lost some share of population growth, this was partly offset by Geelong and other regional locations increasing their share. Overall regional Victoria’s share of population growth declined slightly from 16% to 15.3%.

This pattern of population growth reflects a range of factors including households’ housing preferences, housing affordability and an expanding range of housing types. The release of  2016 Census data now offers the opportunity for detailed analysis to better understand the likely future influence of these factors upon local population growth.