AUSTRALIA'S flight to the regions has bumped up Bendigo's population by 1400 residents in the past year.
Major cities emptied out considerably during 2021, with Melbourne alone losing 60,500 people who packed up and looked for greener pastures elsewhere.
ABS Director of Demography Beidar Cho said the population of regional Australia grew by 70,900 people during 2020-21.
"This is the first time since 1981 that Australia's regional population grew more than the capital cities, due to changing migration patterns during the pandemic," he said.
Regional Victoria gained 15,700 people, but the state overall was well down.
Regional population unit demographer Andrew Howe said the highest growth areas in Greater Bendigo were in the White Hills/ Ascot region.
"Victoria as a state saw its population go down overall by 45,000 people but Greater Bendigo gained 1400," he said.
"The fastest growing areas in Bendigo were the White Hills/ Ascot areas which increased by 500 residents. After that, Strathfieldsaye increased by 400 and California/ Eaglehawk went up by 200."
"Our national borders were shut during this time and there's hardly any new residents coming in from overseas so the impact has come from our population moving around within Australia and Bendigo and other regions have gained.
Mr Howe said Bendigo's inner city area declined by 200 residents in the past 12 months, reflecting the state wide move away from CBD life in favour of more open areas.
"Greater Melbourne has been really interesting," he said.
"Where it has declined by just over 60,000 people in the past year because up until two years ago Melbourne was Australia's fastest growing capital."
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