Wollongong City Council, Population and Household Forecasts .id websiteWollongong City website

The data in this site was last reviewed and updated on Thursday, 11 March 2010.

Welcome to the Wollongong City Council Population Forecasts

The Wollongong City population and household forecasts are designed to inform community groups, Council, investors, business, students and the general public. To achieve this, forecast.id® is formatted to present the data in simple, clear tables and charts with concise factual commentary.

Forecasts are available for each year from 2006 to 2031.

Brief statistics Wollongong City
Forecast population 2010: 201,200
Forecast population 2031: 247,292
Change between 2010 and 2031: 46,092
Average annual percentage change
between 2010 and 2031 (21 years):
0.99% per annum
Total percentage change
between 2010 and 2031 (21 years):

About Wollongong City

Wollongong City is located in the Illawarra Region of New South Wales, about 80 kilometres south of Sydney. Wollongong City is one of the most diverse local government areas in Australia, with a major Central Business District, substantial industrial and port functions, as well as large areas for residential use. The north and west of the City are more rural in nature, noticeably along the Illawarra Escarpment. Urban development stretches in a linear fashion away from central Wollongong along the coastal plain, between the Escarpment in the west and the Tasman Sea in the east. The City encompasses a total land area of 714 square kilometres, including bushland, dams, cliffs and beaches.

Wollongong is thought to be named from an Aboriginal word meaning “the sound of the sea”. The original inhabitants of the Wollongong area were the Dharawal Aboriginal people. European settlement dates from 1816, when the first land grants were made. Land was used mainly for grazing, timber-cutting and agriculture, and later dairy farming. Gradual settlement took place in the 1820s and 1830s, with the township of Wollongong laid out in 1834. Coal mining was established in the late 1840s, with ten mines along the Illawarra escarpment by the 1880s. Villages grew up around the coal mines. Growth took place in the 1880s, spurred by the construction of the Sydney to Wollongong railway line and industrial growth. Steel manufacturing was established in 1926 at Port Kembla.

The most significant development occurred in the post-war years, aided by immigration and industrial expansion. The population grew rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s, rising from about 91,000 in 1954 to 165,000 in 1976. Growth slowed during the 1980s and 1990s, although population increased to over 194,500 by 2006. A significant share of the recent growth has been from greenfield development in Horsley, Figtree, Balgownie-Tarrawanna-Fernhill, Cordeaux Heights-Mount Kembla- Kembla Heights, Woonona-Russell Vale, and more recently, medium and high density dwellings in central Wollongong. Population growth is expected to continue, particularly from the West Dapto land release, an area extending from Kembla Grange to Yallah and Marshall Mount, including Horsley and adjacent to the Dapto Town Centre.

The primary housing market role that the City has played in recent decades has been to provide housing for people from overseas and from areas along the South Coast, many of whom are students and young people, as well as upgrade opportunities for second and third home buyers in the foothills areas and along the northern coastal strip. By contrast, the City has tended to lose young couples and families to Shellharbour and to Queensland. The housing market role of Wollongong City is expected to continue in the future, although the large new greenfield opportunities in the West Dapto area and comparatively less supply in Shellharbour City means the loss of young couples and families is likely to slow.

With the varied development phases, the overall size of the municipality and the different housing types, areas within Wollongong City have developed different roles within the housing market. The areas around the City and Wollongong University such as Wollongong, West Wollongong, North Wollongong, Gwyneville, Fairy Meadow and East Corrimal tend to attract young adults in their late teens and early twenties, attracted to the services and facilities of the CBD or seeking proximity to the University. Northern Coastal areas and foothill areas tend to attract young or established families. Areas such as Horsley have been developed for residential purposes in more recent years and are attractive to couples and families seeking new housing opportunities. There are a number of areas in Wollongong City that attract retirees or older persons due to the high percentage of housing stock as retirement villages or aged care. These areas include Corrimal, Dapto-Penrose-Brownsville, Farmborough Heights, Kanahooka, Towradgi, Unanderra-Kembla Heights and Windang-Primbee. This variety of function and role of the small areas in Wollongong City means that population outcomes differ significantly across the Local Government Area.

There are also significant differences in the supply of residential property within the City which will also have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures over the next five to twenty years. Large new 'greenfield' opportunities have been identified in the West Dapto Study Area (Horsley, Rural Balance, Unanderra-Kembla Grange and Dapto-Penrose-Brownsville small areas). There is also likely to be a continuation in the development of higher density dwelling types in and around the Wollongong CBD. There are likely to be other greenfield, infill and residential redevelopment opportunities throughout the City, albeit lower than the major growth areas identified above.