By 2030, there will be more than a quarter of a million people calling the Northern Rivers home.
By 2030, there will be more than a quarter of a million people calling the Northern Rivers home. Jay Cronan

Northern Rivers will have a population of 275,000 by 2030

BY 2030, there will be more than a quarter of a million people calling the Northern Rivers home.

In the last 12 years from 2006, the Northern Rivers population has increased by 11 per cent - or an additional 25,252 people. But this growth has been more concentrated in some areas than others, leaving them almost unrecognisable.

An audit of Northern Rivers' demographics, exclusively compiled by Bernard Salt for The Northern Star, shows the region is on track for a 9 per cent growth in its population by 2030.

Since 2006, the fastest growing portion in the Northern Rivers for population growth was Tweed, followed by Byron, then Ballina.

The Tweed region jumped from 81,531 people to 96,108 in just over a decade.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the data revealed Lismore and Kyogle's population decreased from 2017-18 by 112 people (1.2 per cent) and Lismore lost 82 residents (0.2 per cent).

In the 12 years since 2006, 621 people have left Kyogle.

With a population of half a million (251,002 in 2018), the region as a whole is growing at almost 1 per cent a year (0.9 per cent from 2017-18) with a projected population of 274,550 by 2030.

The region is growing slower than the Australian average of 1.6 per cent a year. Australia is expected to grow by 20 per cent by 2030, and the local region by 9 per cent in that time.

Demographer and analyst, Bernard Salt said the numbers reveal the Northern Rivers was steady.

"The rate of growth in the future will be pretty much exactly the same as the rate of growth in the past," Mr Salt said.

"Household formation - the demand for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, shops, buildings, schools is on a trajectory that is steady as she goes."

But, there are a couple of communities that are going backwards.

"The issue in Kyogle is holding on to population. Over the last 12 months Kyogle has lost about 112 people, or 1 per cent of its population," Mr Salt said.

"It has dropped about 620 people over the last 12 years but it's expected to have a very modest turnaround going forward."

Statistics reveal an increase of 37 people moving to Kyogle by 2030 while the greatest growth in this region over the next 12 years is 12-13,000 people into Tweed, and 3500 into Byron.

Mr Salt said the population pouring into the Byron Shire could be attributed to density and modest redevelopments.

"There is still population pouring into Byron Bay. There's no shortage of people wanting to get into Byron."

Ballina is also expected to grow by 2500 people by 2030.

Lismore is expected to add about 3300 in the next 12 years, but at the moment is currently losing population and in the last 12 years it's barely added 500.

"Lismore has struggled over the last decade - plumbers, electricians, carpenters that had to go out to the regions to get business but the projections are showing there must be new estates, or new density, new developments," Mr Salt said.

Population change for significant urban areas - Gold Coast/ Tweed Heads, Lismore and Ballina between 2011 and 2016 grew by 10 per cent.

Mr Salt said Tweed Heads, Lismore and Ballina were growing "not exponentially" but steadily.

Lismore has had a 0 per cent growth during this time, Tweed at 16 per cent and Ballina at 6 per cent.



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BoM has recorded a southerly change in wind direction

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