BENDIGO ranks among the top 12 regional Australian hotspots attracting millennials, a report has found.
Almost 5200 people between the ages of 20 - 35 moved to the local government area from 2011 - 2016.
Regional Australia Institute's The Big Movers report studied the flow of people to and from regional areas.
The 85-page report confirmed regional Australia attracted more people than it lost to capital cities in the five years to 2016.
It delved especially into the movements of millennials.
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Greater Bendigo was up there with Ballarat and Geelong in the top 12 local government areas in Australia for millennials in the five years to 2016.
Ballarat and Geelong were in the top 10. Bendigo ranked 12th, with 5190 millennials moving into the area.
Queensland's Gold Coast was at the top of the leader board, followed by Newcastle in New South Wales, then Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
City of Greater Bendigo regional sustainable development manager Trevor Budge said the report's release was timely, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting some of the benefits of living regionally.
His contacts in the real estate and land development industry had indicated they had been receiving more inquiries than they had in a long time.
"There's a lot of talk going on at the moment that this is happening because of the pandemic," Mr Budge said.
But he said the report confirmed interest in living regionally, particularly in Bendigo, had been growing for quite a while.
"The next 12 months is going to really be the test to see whether all this is sustained and potentially whether it's accelerated," Mr Budge said.
Next year is a census year.
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Mr Budge said the Regional Australia Institute report's findings largely confirmed what the city had been seeing and hearing, as well as some of the wider analysis into the decisions people were making about where they wanted to live.
Victoria's five biggest regional local government areas, in terms of new residents, were Golden Plains, Mitchell, the Surf Coast, Bass Coast, and Wodonga.
The Big Movers report showed growth into a number of the areas on the periphery of Melbourne, particularly along transport corridors into regional areas.
"But we're also seeing sustained long-term growth in big regional cities like Ballarat and Bendigo," Mr Budge said.
The City of Greater Bendigo aspires to become the world's most liveable community.
Mr Budge said Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates indicated Bendigo was seeing a net increase of about 2000 people a year.
The Plan Greater Bendigo strategy, released in 2018, anticipated 200,000 people would call the local government area home by about 2050.