Over the past decade the Gold Coast has grown by 122,000 people, about two thirds were attracted to the city, the balance were born here. Today 546,000 people call the Gold Coast home and over 12 million people visit annually.
If the city maintains its current decade long growth trends, it will double in population mid-century. This will mean an additional 204,000 new overseas migrants, 102,000 new interstate migrants and 158,000 people born in Gold Coast hospitals.
The city is reaching a threshold where natural increase is underpinning more of its growth. In 2013, 34 per cent of population growth came from net natural increase (births minus deaths). This represents a shift from only 18 per cent in 2007.
These migration patterns are impacting the demographic mix of our suburbs with different suburbs of the Gold Coast attractive to different demographics.
The top settlement suburb for interstate migrants is Upper Coomera with almost three out of every five settling there, followed by Coomera and Pimpama.
Overseas migrants prefer Southport with almost one in ten settling in this suburb, followed by Nerang and Pimpama. Across the Gold Coast, demographic characteristics differ between suburbs.
The household formation for Southport has seen some interesting shifts over the past 20 years. Families with children have fallen from 26 per cent of households in 1991 to 15 per cent in 2011 and lone person households have increased to 30 percent.
Burleigh Heads comprises a mix of household structures that are changing over time: couples without children have shifted from 24 per cent of households in 1991 to 26 per cent in 2011; couples with children have remained relatively steady at 15 per cent; one parent families have increased from 6 per cent in 1991 to 10 per cent in 2011; and lone person households have increased from 21 per cent in 1991 to 29 per cent in 2011.
These trends show, relatively, that Southport has shifted to include a younger demographic, more student focus, while Burleigh has maintained a traditional family focus.
Changes in the characteristics of our suburbs are important for businesses to monitor. Local businesses such as real estate agents, accountants, financial planners and retailers are all affected by shifts in demographic.
For the real estate sector, understanding the settlement patterns across the city provides an insight on the potential demographics of buyers and investors. Settlement patterns across the city highlight where agents need to focus their service delivery, whether that is tailored more towards interstate buyers or abroad.
For retailers and finance providers, monitoring the characteristics of their catchment is crucial in understanding if their product or service offer fits the market.
Demography is an important issue that business and industry need to understand. It is important to realise that a suburb is more than just its population count; it also represents an ever changing and evolving demographic. To better monitor these trends, need and demographic based assessments are useful tools.