Related coverage: Bendigo sees population expand
The Bendigo area’s population is on track to swell by nearly a third over the next 15 years, according to a new report.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Victoria in Future report compiles projections of the population should current demographic, economic and social trends continue.
According to the report, the City of Greater Bendigo’s population can expect to grow from 110,446 in 2016 to 144,632 in 2031, an increase of more than 30 per cent.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show this will be the continuation of a trend, with the population rising from 93,269 in 2005 to 108,500 at June last year.
Greater Bendigo, Ballarat and Greater Geelong combined are expected to be responsible for half of all regional growth to 2031.
But the municipality likely to see the most dramatic increase in central Victoria is Mitchell Shire, which is forecast to more than double its population from about 40,000 in 2016 to more than 81,500 in 2031.
This will make it the fastest-growing area and the municipality with the second-largest growth in regional Victoria, behind Greater Geelong.
Macedon Ranges can also expect to experience significant growth, its population jumping by 25 per cent over the 15 years, while Mount Alexander’s population is anticipated to grow by nearly 15 per cent to 21,000 in 2031.
Hepburn is forecast to grow by 11 per cent, Campaspe by 5 per cent and Central Goldfields by 4 per cent.
DELWP said the main driver of growth in regional Victoria will be migration from Melbourne, with an ageing population and rising deaths reducing natural increase.
But not all municipalities in central Victoria are expected to experience expansion.
Buloke Shire is forecast to decline by 16 per cent by 2031 and a 7.6 per cent decrease is expected in Loddon Shire in that period.
DELWP said areas with younger populations and high numbers of births tended to grow faster than those with older populations.
Buloke and Loddon shires both have relatively high proportions of residents aged over 65, at 24.8 per cent and 24.3 per cent respectively in 2011.
This is in contrast to Mitchell Shire, where older people made up just 11.6 per cent of the population.
The report says Victoria will remain the fastest-growing state in the country and will surpass 10 million people by 2051.
The regional population is expected to swell from 1.4 million this year to 2.1 million, while Melbourne’s will grow from 4.6 million to eight million.
The majority of the growth will be due to migration to the state, with about 40 per cent the result of natural increase.
About 2.6 million people from overseas and 130,000 people from interstate are anticipated to make Victoria home in the next 35 years.