svg rectangle color
Town of Port HedlandPopulation forecast

Town of Port Hedland

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 Town of Port Hedland in May 2018. 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 Town of Port Hedland, 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 coastal typology

Town of Port Hedland is one of 52 local government areas in Australia that can be classified as a coastal area.

Typical characteristics of coastal areas include:

  • regional areas where the majority of the population resides along the coast;
  • contain regional cities (population under 50,000) that provide services and employment for communities in surrounding rural areas;
  • contain townships and smaller coastal settlements with very low population densities;
  • can be dependent on single (or a few select) industries such as tourism, heavy industry & port facilities, agriculture & fishing etc. for employment;
  • generally older age profile, often due to out-migration of younger residents;
  • high level of natural amenity including beaches and national parks;
  • generally affordable housing compared to major regional cities and capital cities;
  • a large proportion of separate dwellings and high levels of homeownership;
  • can offer unique ambiance and lifestyle, with some areas attractive to new residents seeking; a lifestyle change, including ‘empty nesters’ and retirees; and
  • generally lower levels of cultural diversity, with a low share of residents born overseas.

Potential impacts on coastal areas

Based on our understanding of the characteristics of coastal areas, we consider the following to be likely impacts on population growth. These insights are not necessarily specific to the Town of Port Hedland, but reflect challenges and opportunities for this type of place.

Overseas migration

    Low short-term impact from the net overseas migration shock as typically a low share of overseas migrants move directly to coastal regions. Some coastal areas with tourist based economies dependent upon temporary workers may experience a drop in short-term visa holders.

    Low longer-term impact as a low proportion of migrants move to coastal areas, compared to metropolitan or major regional cities.

    Generally a low 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 coastal areas which do not contain universities or attract international students*.

Internal migration

    Interstate migration will be affected in the short-term, due to border closures and economic uncertainty, coastal 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, coastal areas attract new residents from other areas within the State. This means for some coastal areas, levels of net in-migration may increase, particularly for coastal communities which are in proximity to major regional cities or capital cities.

Natural increase

    Births are likely to be fewer in the short-term as fertility typically declines in times of economic uncertainty. Coastal communities with relatively high levels of fertility and forecast births and as a result, may be more impacted.

    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. Coastal areas which attract a high number of retirees (and therefore have relatively higher shares of residents aged over 70 years) have a higher mortality exposure when compared with other areas.

Economic resilience

    Areas with a high share participation and jobs in primary and secondary industries (including heavy industry, port facilities or fishing) may be more resilient to job loss due to COVID-19 domestic impacts currently being more focused around service industries (accommodation and food, tourism etc.) However, in the longer term they may be more exposed to international economic shocks.

    On the flip side, areas with a high share of participation and jobs in tourism (retail trade, accommodation and food services etc) may be more severely impacted by job loss due to COVID-19.

    Areas that generally have a higher share of retirees will have lower labour force participation therefore less overall resident exposure to any local job impacts.

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 coastal communities may experience some in-flow of previous residents (young and vulnerable adults) who may move back to the family home for financial support, care and/or the increasing ability to work from home.

Local amenity

    Availability of lifestyle opportunities including access to open space and natural environment. A large number and diversity of lifestyle opportunities can attract residents to coastal areas.

    Access to affordable quality accommodation means that coastal areas could attract new residents from major regional cities and capital cities, which have comparatively more expensive housing.

*Some areas such as Warrnambool which contain university campuses with international students may experience a small negative impact.

Town of Port Hedland


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.

DescriptionTown of Port HedlandRegional WAPotential impact
Overseas migration
Share of residents born overseas20.4%18Some negative impact
Overseas migration share of total net migration (2011 to 2016)-48.4%148.3%Positive impact
Interstate migration
Interstate migration share of total net migration (2011 to 2016)1.0%-2.5%Negligible impact
Intrastate migration
Intrastate migration share of total net migration (2011 to 2016)147.4%-45.9%Positive impact
International student impacts
Residents attending university1.6%1.4%Negligible impact
Residents attending TAFE2.0%1.6%Some negative 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
DescriptionTown of Port HedlandRegional WAPotential impact
Natural increase
Natural increase share of forecast population growth (2020 to 2024)226.9%61.3%Negative impact
Share of residents aged 70+ years (2020)2.1%10.1%Low exposure

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
DescriptionTown of Port HedlandRegional WAPotential impact
Economic output
Gross regional product change1.7%1.7%Some positive impact
Local job impacts
Local job change-4.9%-5.5%Some negative impact
Local job change (including JobKeeper recipients)-5.9%-6.3%Some negative impact
Employed resident impacts
Employed resident change-10.5%-5.4%Negative impact
Employed resident change (including JobKeeper recipients)-10.5%-6.3%Some negative impact
Share of residents who work in LGA91.8%--

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 the population experts.

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
DescriptionTown of Port HedlandRegional WAPotential impact
Socioeconomic vulnerability
SEIFA Rank (Disadvantage)1,019975Some positive impact
Disengaged youth of 15-24 year olds14.1%14.9%Some negative impact
Share of low income households8.2%18.2%Negligible impact
Housing vulnerability
Share of households under housing stress3.9%8.5%Negligible impact
Mortgage vulnerability
Share of households owned with mortgage8.0%27.0%Low exposure
Share of households under mortgage stress4.6%9.4%Negligible impact
Rental vulnerability
Share of households privately rented52.8%23.9%Exposed
Share of households under rental stress5.3%19.0%Negligible impact
Residential mobility
Share population of 18-39 year olds39.6%27.2%Exposed

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
DescriptionTown of Port HedlandRegional WAPotential impact
Housing Affordability
Housing Median Value$251,000$332,000Positive impact
Unit Median Value$165,000$249,000Positive impact

Data updates

This page shows the latest version of how COVID-19 may impact population growth for Town of Port Hedland. 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.


.id has taken all due care in the preparation of this data. While .id endeavours to provide reliable information and believes the material is accurate it will not be liable for any claim by any party acting on such information. .id accepts no liability with respect to the correctness, accuracy, currency, completeness, relevance or otherwise of this data. Please view our privacy policy, terms of use and legal notices.

DISCLAIMER: While all due care has been taken to ensure that the content of this website is accurate and current, there may be errors or omissions in it and no legal responsibility is accepted for the information and opinions in this website.

Please view our Privacy Policy, Terms of use and Legal notices. Stats NZ Data and the copyright in the Stats NZ Data remains the property of the Statistics New Zealand.

The copyright in the way .id has modified, transformed or reconfigured the Stats NZ Data as published on this website remains the property of .id. Stats NZ Data can be accessed on the Statistics New Zealand website at Unless otherwise specified, content that Stats NZ produce is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. For further information see