State of the Environment Report title
2 0 0 4

2004 Report



Snowy River

Population

Indicator description

Results for this indicator are also available for  

What the results tell us for Snowy River

The Snowy River Shire population continues to grow in number and age. In August of Census year 2001 there were 7,207 residents in the shire, while at 30 June 2004 the estimated residential population had grown to 7,322. Since the end of the previous reporting period (30 June 2000), the numbers in the shire are estimated to have increased by 14%.

Along with many other jurisdictions in Australia, Snowy River Shire Council has to consider the impacts of an ageing population—for its economy, its infrastructure and lifestyle.

Council notes changes in family types, particularly the decreasing number of households made up of couples with children, compared with increases in the proportion of households comprising a sole-parent with children, childless couples and single occupants.

Increasing population and increasing number of households means more land for residential purposes with potential further impacts on ecological communities.

Population growing in number and age

The population in Snowy River Shire was 7,207 at the 2001 Census (Table 1). It has more than doubled in the 20 years to 2001. The change represents an 8% annual average rate of growth for that period, which is consistently higher than for the Australian Capital Region as a whole (2%). Figure 1 illustrates the consistent growth between Census years from 1981 to 2001, followed by annual estimated residential population at 30 June for 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Table 1 also shows that since the last Census the population has continued to increase. With boundary redistribution that occurred in the Region in February 2004 it is difficult to compare the previous reporting period with this period across all shires. However, Snowy River Shire has one of the highest growth rates in the Region since the previous State of the Environment report. Actual percentage growth since the 2000 State of the Environment Report (based on preliminary estimated resident population for 2000 to 2004) is 14%.

Table 1. Population growth in Snowy River Shire, Census years 1981 to 2001 and estimates for 2002 to 2004
19811986199119962001200220032004Actual Change
1981–2001
2,8593,1465,5546,2727,2077,3317,3277,322+4348 (+152%)

* See About the data for Australian Bureau of Statistics comments on years 2002–04; Source: NIEIR Your Place (2003) and Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 3218.0

Figure 1. Population growth, Snowy River Shire, 1981 to 2004

Graph showing the increase in population from 1981 to 2004

Source: NIEIR Your Place (2003) and Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 3218.0

The growth in population needs to be seen in the context of the age group where most growth is occurring. Between 1981 and 2001, the number of people over 60 years of age increased and at 2001 was nearly 10% of the population (Table 2). Correspondingly, the under-15 age group also increased in number but reduced in proportion over the 20 year period, but increased slightly again since 1991. Percentage changes are illustrated in Figure 2.

On the whole the average age of the population in the shire is increasing—in 1996 it was 34.5; in 2001 it was 36.7. It is estimated the average age will increase to 40.5 by 2011 and 44.4 in 2021 (NIEIR 2003a).

The Snowy River Shire group aged 55 years and over comprised 15% of the population in 1996 and 20% in 2001. It is projected to be 37% by 2021. By comparison, the less than 25 age group is projected to decrease from 36% in 1996 to 27% in 2021 and the 25–54 age group from 49% in 1996 to 36% in 2021 (NIEIR 2003b).

What might be the implications of the above trends? A continuing reduction in population, particularly of young people who do not return to the local workforce or are not replaced, is likely to have implications for productivity. The proportion in the 'productive' group of 15–59 has declined since 1991, though is still above 70% of the total population. While the growing group of retirees will have generally lower incomes and spend less than will (typically young) singles and families, many over the retirement age will continue to make a substantial contribution to the socio-economic buoyancy of the community for some years. For example, some 66.3% of Snowy River males aged 55 to 64 years and 50.4% of females were still in the workforce in 2001 (NIEIR 2003a). This compares with 56.1% males and 35.8% females in these age groups employed Australia-wide.

Some factors that influence productivity across the shire will include educational opportunities and apprenticeship/training opportunities, local job availability, skills needs versus availability and retention or attraction of people who will contribute to the shire.

The implications for council management for the future will be addressed in more detail in council's Social Plan.

Table 2. Population by age, Snowy River Shire, Census years 1981 to 2001
Age19811986199119962001
Persons%Persons%Persons%Persons%Persons%
<15 years7242566621.21,02618.51,26020.11,38819.3
15–59 years1,90766.72,22970.94,14074.54,51872.05,11671.0
60+ years2288.02518.03887.04947.97039.8
Total 2,8591003,1461005,5541006,2721007,207100

Adapted from NIEIR (2003) Your Place, Population Profile for Snowy River

Figure 2. Age-group percentages, Snowy River Shire, Census years 1981 to 2001

Graph showing changes in the relative size of the various age-groups since around the mid-1990s 1981 to 2004

Source: NIEIR 2003, Your Place, Population Profile for Snowy River

Ethnicity and diversity

Gender

The population of Snowy River Shire is made up of 54.3% males and 45.7% females (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003). This is compared with the male/female split for all of Australia on Census night (7 August 2001) of 49.3% males and 50.7% females.

Origins

In 2001 some 66% of Snowy River Shire residents reported as being non-Indigenous residents who were born in Australia (Table 3). The number of residents born overseas remains higher than for most other shires in the Region, a continuing legacy of the Snowy Mountains Scheme (which began in 1949 and was 25 years under construction).

The 47 people who identified as being of Indigenous origin in Snowy River Shire in the 2001 Census represented less than 1% of the total shire population. This is a substantially lower proportion than for Australia as a whole.

Table 3. Population origins in Snowy River Shire, 2001 Census
Origin2001 Census
Persons%
Indigenous persons470.6
Born in Australia5,10565.9
Born overseas (a)86011.1
Total7,742

(a) Does not include 1,715 'Inadequately described', 'At sea' and 'Not elsewhere classified'; Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 2001 Usual Residents Profile Catalogue No. 2003.0

Households and family type

Some 64% of residents over 15 years of age in 2001 were married (in either formal legal marriages or in de facto marriages). Approximately 79% lived in one-family households—46.4% were couples with children, 24% couples with no children and 7.9% were one-parent families (Table 4). The drop in the percentage of couples with children since 1991 and the increase in the percentage of households occupied by single-parent families with children may reflect a higher divorce rate or a change in attitudes to parenting—with couples either choosing to delay childbirth or not to have children altogether. The Social Plan should explore these patterns further and identify whether there are emerging social planning issues for the shire.

Council notes that increases in the lone person household statistics from 1991 may be due in part to a change in 1996 from how those statistics were recorded in 1991. Lone person and child-free household increases may also reflect the ageing of the community.

Table 4. Household type and family type in Snowy River Shire, Census years 1991, 1996 and 2001
Household type1991 Census (a)1996 Census2001 Census (b)
Persons%Persons%Persons%
One family household:
Couple family with children2,26250.82,40449.52,36446.4
Couple family without children92620.81,02421.11,22424.0
One parent family2395.43006.24027.9
Other family320.7340.7330.6
Total3,45977.73,76277.44,02378.9
Other households:
Multi-family household420.9310.6370.7
Lone person household44910.169914.468013.3
Group household49911.23687.63597.0
Total4,4491004,8601005,099100.0

For notes on (a) and (b) see About the data; Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 2001 Time Series Profile, Catalogue No. 2003.0

Population density

Population density in the Region

Download printable map (warning: 561 kB pdf)

As one might expect of a rural shire with few townships, Snowy River Shire is sparsely populated. The preliminary estimated (permanent) residential population at June 2004 was 7,322. Based on those landuses in the shire that are most likely to be populated (urban and agriculture), the calculated population density is around 0.02 persons per hectare (or one person for every 51.57 hectares). The average population density across all 17 NSW Local Government areas in the Region is one person for every 41.58 hectares. The calculation does not include the ACT.

About the data

Data for this indicator were sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, either directly, or as transcribed by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, Melbourne for its 2003 State of the Regions report. Being based on place of enumeration, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Time Series Profile, 2003, Catalogue No. 2003.0 is not useful for Snowy River Shire population data over time. (Census night falls in the middle of the ski season, when the shire's resident numbers swell to in excess of 18,000.).

Data for Table 1—Years 1981–2001 were taken from the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research 2003 State of the Regions report. Years 2002, 2003 and 2004 were taken from Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 3218.0. They are preliminary figures. As explained in the Extract from Explanatory Notes, Australian Bureau of Statistics—Catalogue No. 3218.0 'To meet the conflicting demands for accuracy and timeliness there are three estimates of sub-state/territory populations. Preliminary estimates are normally available eight months after the reference date (i.e. February), revised estimates a year later and final estimates after the following census.' Estimated population for 2002 in Table 1 has therefore been revised. For 2003 and 2004, available figures were still preliminary at the time of writing.

Data for Table 4—Household Type and Family Type Australian Bureau of Statistics, Time Series Profile (T17), Catalogue No. 2003.0, Commonwealth of Australia, 2003—(a) In 1996, 'Manufactured Home Estates' and 'Accommodation for the Retired or Aged (self-care)' have been excluded. These dwellings were Non-private dwellings in 1991; (b) In 2001, Serviced Apartments and persons living in Serviced Apartments have been included. These dwellings were Non-private dwellings in 1991 and 1996.

Population density is calculated by dividing the estimated residential population at 2004 into the size of the whole council area minus conservation lands and state forests because few, if any, people live in those areas of land use.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2004) Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 2002–03, Catalogue No. 3218.0—'Australian Capital Region, Estimated Residential Population—30 June', Commonwealth of Australia.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) Regional Population Growth, Australia and New Zealand, 2003–04, Catalogue No. 3218.0—'Australian Capital Region, Estimated Residential Population—30 June', Commonwealth of Australia.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Usual Residents Profile, Catalogue No. 2004.0, Commonwealth of Australia.

National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, (2003a) State of the Regions 2003—Your Place, Table: 'Aged characteristics', http://www.nieir.com.au.

National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (2003b) State of the Regions 2003—Your Place, Tables: 'Age Distribution', http://www.nieir.com.au.

NIEIR—see National Institute of Economic and Industry Research