A collection of small towns nestled between the big cities across Australia have been put to the test to discover the best in each state — with some surprising results.
Demographer Bernard Salt looked at criteria like prosperity, skills, diversity and wellness in 752 relatively small towns to see which ones came out on top.
According to the collated data, Kiama was named the top town in NSW; Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory; Tamborine Mountain in Queensland; Mount Barker in South Australia; Dunsborough in Western Australia; Bright in Victoria; and Legana in Hobart.
The data is based on the averages of the four million Australians living in these towns at the time of the 2021 Census.
“In some respects these data-filtering models, or dashboards as they are known in the demographics world, are just the starting point to better understanding who we are as a nation,” Mr Salt, founder of The Demographics Group, writes in The Australian.
Kiama, which has a population of 14,761 — an increase of nine per cent in five years — was chosen because it exceeds the group average in income, skills, entrepreneurship, wellness and in domestic housework.
Here’s a breakdown of how the top towns were rated:
• Earn more than $1282 per a week household median income.
• Less than 5.1 per cent unemployment.
• More than 15 per cent attained university education.
• More than 36 per cent with technical (trade) skill.
• More than 12 per cent workforce owner/manager.
• No less than 14 per cent born overseas.
• At least 17 per cent volunteer.
• At least 14 per cent provide unpaid care e.g., for example to a relative.
• More than 59 per cent have no long-term health condition.
• More than 6.5 hours per a week in unpaid domestic housework.
“In the modern era, say the 2020s and beyond, I think that small-town Australia, as well as big-city Australia, needs skills, training, entrepreneurial energy and a measure of diversity to deliver opportunity to residents,” Mr Salt said.
The collated Census data is based on townspeople living in urban centres ranging between 1000 and 50,000 residents.
“What this exercise shows is that across the continent Australians want more or less the same thing when it comes to living in a small town: proximity to a capital or major regional city; a tree-change or a sea-change environment; or, better still, all three criteria jammed within a single location offering views and amenity,” Mr Salt said.
TOP TOWNS IN EVERY STATE:
Northern Territory: Nhulunbuy
Queensland: Tamborine Mountain
South Australia: Mount Barker
Western Australia: Dunsborough