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Explained: How council calculates the city’s current population

Recently Ipswich City Council announced the population of the city had ticked over 215,000
How did council arrive at this number?

Developed in 2005, and refined since, the Ipswich Population Modeller (IPM) calculates population growth based on first time orders for wheelie bins.

The population modeller was developed by council because of the need for more up to date data. New Census data every five years was not frequent enough to keep up with the fast pace of development across the city.

Since 2005 the population modeller has consistently top scored when checked for accuracy against the Census.

Acting City Planner Brett Davey said council needed data that was current to assist with future planning and to track growth.

“After each Census we are able to re-calibrate the occupancy ratios across the city rather than rely on one citywide figure,” he said.

“Census data shows lower than average occupancy ratios in older suburbs and townships.

“Higher than average occupancy ratios occur in rural and large lot residential areas, newer estates up to 20 years after development and some public housing areas.

“For example, in the new suburbs the average household has between three and 3.3 people, while older suburbs such as North Ipswich the average is 2.4 people.”

As of 30 September 2018 the IPM estimated the Ipswich population was 215,391 which is an increase of 2,858 people since 30 June 2018.

“The equivalent growth rate is 5.38 per cent and an average annual growth rate of 3.68 per cent over five years,” Mr Davey said.

“This sustainable growth pattern is reflected in the number of development applications lodged in the September quarter exceeding 400.

“Council’s planning officers are experiencing one of busiest periods for applications in recent years.”

The Ipswich Population Modeller won a Planning Institute of Australia Queensland Division award for Excellence in Planning Practice and Administration in November 2008.


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