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Bass Coast ShirePopulation forecast

Impact of COVID-19 on population growth

COVID-19 is a significant health crisis which has resulted in major social and economic disruption across the world. In Australia, the closure of borders (both external and internal) will have impacts on the size and distribution of future population growth. At a local level, the impacts on population growth and demographics outcomes will be felt differently.

.id developed population forecasts for Bass Coast Shire in November 2017. These forecasts do not consider potential impacts to assumptions stemming from COVID-19. They do, however, provide a baseline by which to understand where the population may have been without this external shock.

In order to further understand how COVID-19 may impact population growth within Bass Coast Shire, we have developed a COVID-19 impact assessment. This assessment is based upon our understanding of typologies (i.e. the characteristics, roles and functions of communities). It demonstrates how these influences may play out across a range of variables, at a localised level. These include:

  • Migration - who will move into an area as well as who is leaving the area.
  • Natural increase - impacts on the forecast numbers of births or deaths.
  • Economic resilience - availability of jobs.
  • Resident vulnerability - unmet social and economic needs.
  • Local amenity - factors that make an area a more enjoyable place to live.
The assessment draws on data from across our .id tools:,, and (including the COVID-19 economic forecasts developed and recently updated by NIEIR). We will continue to refine and update this impact assessment as more information becomes available.

Characteristics of peri-urban areas

Bass Coast Shire is one of 29 local government areas in regional Australia that can be classified as a peri-urban area.

Peri-urban areas can be difficult to classify, however typical characteristics include:

  • are beyond the metropolitan fringe, at the interface between city and country;
  • are within a commuting distance of the larger metropolitan city, and have high share of residents working outside the area;
  • a significant economic and social relationship with the larger metropolitan city;
  • population growth is affected by growth in the larger metropolitan city;
  • increasing resident diversity, including ‘sea and tree changers’, parents and homebuilders, and empty-nesters and retirees;
  • a mix of urban and rural land uses including farming, fishing, forestry, mining and tourism;
  • a number of spaces (sometimes contested) which are in transition. (i.e. rural land fragmentation);
  • offer unique ambiance and lifestyle;
  • attract new residents from surrounding areas, as well as from metropolitan cities; and
  • provide affordable housing compared to metropolitan cities

Potential impacts on peri-urban areas

Based on our understanding of the characteristics of peri-urban areas, we consider the following to be likely impacts on population growth. These insights are not necessarily specific to the Bass Coast Shire, but reflect challenges and opportunities for this type of place.

Overseas migration

    Low short-term impact from the net overseas migration shock as a very low share of overseas migrants move directly to peri-urban areas*.

    Low longer-term impact from the net overseas migration shock as a relatively low share of peri-urban residents are born overseas compared to metropolitan cities. Typically, overseas migration as a contribution towards total migration is lower in peri-urban areas compared to metropolitan cities.

    Negligible impact on future international student residents. While the impact on the number of new international students will be severe nationally, COVID-19 will have a negligible impact in peri-urban areas which do not contain universities or attract international students.

Internal migration

    Interstate migration will be affected considerably in the short-term, due to border closures and economic uncertainty. Areas which typically experience net out-migration to other States will retain more residents, while cities which typically experience net in-migration will not gain as many new residents.

    Intrastate migration Typically, peri-urban areas attract new residents from other areas within the State, particularly from metropolitan capital cities. Levels of net in-migration could increase under COVID-19, particularly for peri-urban areas in closer proximity, with strong transport linkages and relatively short commuting times to metropolitan capital cities.

Natural increase

    Births are likely to be fewer in the short-term as fertility typically declines in times of economic uncertainty. Peri-urban areas with high levels of fertility and forecast births, will be impacted more severely than other areas.

    Deaths caused by COVID-19 are currently at very low levels. This is due to low overall case numbers, however, the number of deaths could increase if case numbers increased in areas with vulnerable, elderly residents. Generally, peri-urban areas have relatively higher shares of residents aged over 70 years and therefore a higher mortality exposure compared to other areas.

Economic resilience

    Relatively less decline in employed residents means that peri-urban areas may retain (even attract) more residents. Peri-urban areas generally have large numbers of residents working in higher order service jobs in larger cities. Areas with strong employment links to larger cities have relatively lower employment self containment and are more resilient to employed resident change.

    A relatively low number of jobs (mostly in primary and secondary industries means) means peri-urban areas will experience less overall job loss, compared to other areas with more jobs in tertiary industries (retail trade, accommodation and food services).

Resident vulnerability

    COVID-19 will increase the likelihood of housing relocation among households who are already vulnerable due to factors such as, unemployment or insecure work, low income, and rental or mortgage stress.

    Moving house could affect household formation in several ways including: younger residents moving back home with their parents, elderly residents moving in with their children (as dependants), formation of group households and other larger households to share housing costs. This could also mean that peri-urban areas may experience some inflow of previous residents (young and vulnerable adults) who may move back to the family home for financial support.

Local amenity

    Availability of lifestyle opportunities including access to open space and natural environment. A large number and diversity of lifestyle opportunities can draw residents to peri-urban areas.

    Access to affordable quality accommodation means that peri-urban areas will attract new residents from metropolitan capital cities, which have comparatively more expensive housing.

    A range of land uses including farming, fishing, forestry, and tourism, means that peri-urban areas are also attractive to new residents seeking new (and sometimes speculative) ventures including, farm stays, retreats, boutique farms etc.

*Blue Mountains City Council, City of Kalamunda and Central Coast are exemptions, which typically attract larger numbers of overseas migrants.

Bass Coast Shire


Migration is one of the most important components of population change. Net migration explains who will move into an area as well as who is leaving the area. It is therefore an excellent way of understanding housing markets and how the role and function of an area may be affected by COVID-19. Changes to migration may disproportionately affect industries such as the education sector due to their reliance on overseas migration.

DescriptionBass Coast ShireGreater MelbournePotential impact
Overseas migration
Share of residents born overseas14.4%33.8%Some negative impact
Overseas migration share of total net migration (2011 to 2016)13.7%95.7%Some negative impact
Interstate migration
Interstate migration share of total net migration (2011 to 2016)-8.4%9.7%Some positive impact
Intrastate migration
Intrastate migration share of total net migration (2011 to 2016)94.7%-5.4%Positive impact
International student impacts
Residents attending university1.3%6.4%Negligible impact
Residents attending TAFE1.3%1.8%Negligible impact

Natural increase

The size of the population increases through births and decline through deaths. The number of forecast births is an indication of the exposure the community has to changes to the fertility rate. The share of residents aged 70+ years provides an indication of the exposure the community has to changes to the mortality rate due to COVID-19.

Natural increase
DescriptionBass Coast ShireGreater MelbournePotential impact
Natural increase
Natural increase share of forecast population growth (2020 to 2024)0.1%65.6%Some negative impact
Share of residents aged 70+ years (2020)19.3%9.8%Exposed

Economic vulnerability

Economic vulnerability is an indicator of the degree to which COVID-19 may negatively impact the employment prospects of local residents. Communities with high gross regional product decline and/or high levels of local jobs declining are more likely to experience lower levels of population growth. Additionally, economies with scale and diversification may be more likely to retain, and/or attract residents relative to other areas.

Economic vulnerability
DescriptionBass Coast ShireGreater MelbournePotential impact
Economic output
Gross regional product change-8.3%-13.3%Some negative impact
Local job impacts
Local job change-6.5%-8.9%Some negative impact
Local job change (including JobKeeper recipients)-15.3%-14.7%Negative impact
Employed resident impacts
Employed resident change-10.8%-8.9%Negative impact
Employed resident change (including JobKeeper recipients)-13.6%-14.8%Some negative impact
Share of residents who work in LGA70.4%--

Note: Impacts refer to September Quarter 2020 compared to September Quarter 2019

Source: National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) Version 2.0 (September 2020). ©2020 Compiled and presented in by .id (informed decisions).

Resident vulnerability

This indicator identifies communities with a high proportion of residents who have unmet social and economic needs (housing, income, education etc.) Due to COVID-19, these communities, particularly those with a younger, more mobile population, are expected to experience a greater change in how or where residents live (i.e. younger residents moving back home with their parents, formation of group households to share costs or leaving the area in search of employment opportunities elsewhere).

Resident vulnerability
DescriptionBass Coast ShireGreater MelbournePotential impact
Socioeconomic vulnerability
SEIFA Rank (Disadvantage)9671,020Negative impact
Disengaged youth of 15-24 year olds13.0%7.5%Negative impact
Share of low income households27.9%16.7%Negative impact
Housing vulnerability
Share of households under housing stress12.9%11.7%Some negative impact
Mortgage vulnerability
Share of households owned with mortgage26.3%34.3%Some exposure
Share of households under mortgage stress14.7%11.2%Negative impact
Rental vulnerability
Share of households privately rented20.9%25.8%Some exposure
Share of households under rental stress37.7%27.4%Negative impact
Residential mobility
Share population of 18-39 year olds18.6%33.6%Some exposure

Local amenity

Local amenity considers the amenity a region provides its residents, with a particular focus on access to affordable housing and access to lifestyle opportunities. It is an indicator of the livability of an area, in the context of COVID-19.

Local amenity
DescriptionBass Coast ShireGreater MelbournePotential impact
Housing Affordability
Housing Median Value$464,000$812,000Positive impact
Unit Median Value$335,000$552,000Positive impact

Data updates

This page shows the latest version of how COVID-19 may impact population growth for Bass Coast Shire. As new information becomes available (e.g. data revisions, additional data sets of relevance) updates will be applied.

Recent updates include:

  • 7 October 2020: Update to include National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) Version 2.1 (September 2020). NIEIR has estimated the potential impacts of coronavirus on economic activity, employment and sectors at the LGA level. Model outputs above are based on information available before September 24.
  • 25 September 2020: Update to include National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) Version 2.0 (September 2020).

Given the dynamic nature of COVID-19, revisions will be made to our population forecasts once sufficient data is available.


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