The Unremarkable Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is the six largest city in Australia and the largest regional city. It is located between Brisbane to the north and the N.S.W. to the south, with beaches to the east and extensive national parks to the west. It is also the fastest growing region in Australia.

 

Often when we think about the Gold Coast and its people, we think in clichés.

We might think of it as an expensive retirement village dominated by over 55’s, playing golf, a bit of fishing or swimming, and a regular night out at the local club.

Or we might think of it as a playground for the young and the restless. On any given Friday night, the under 35 set will be out partying until the wee small hours. On any given Saturday morning, these same people will be out at their local beach or gym, running, swimming, sweating, or sipping on their turmeric latte at their local café,

So it would be natural to think of the population of the Gold Coast is dominated by over 55’s, with a significant population in the age range 18-35.

But what are the facts?

Well, somewhat surprisingly, the population of the Gold Coast, across almost every significant measure –age profiles, work, income and cost of housing, and households – is almost identical with Queensland and Australian percentages for these measures.

  • The age profile of the Gold Coast did not vary by more than 1% from Queensland and Australian figures. (See Gold Coast Age Profile)
  • Almost all occupation and industry employment groups varied by no more than 1% from State and National percentages. The exceptions were trade workers, but professional workers and people employed in the construction industry and the food and accommodation industry. (See Gold Coast Employment)
  • In terms of income, 53% of individual income for the city was in the range $0-$40,000, while 47% of household income was in the range $0-$78,000. Both of these figures were almost identical with State and National percentages. (See Gold Coast Income)
  • In terms of housing, there were less fully owned premises and more rented premises on the Gold Coast when compared to State and National figures. The percentage of housing under mortgage varied by only 1% from State and National figures. (See Gold Coast Cost of Housing)
  • In terms of cost of mortgage repayments, the median weekly mortgage repayment for the Gold Coast in 2016 was $443, which was slightly higher than the State and National average. (See Gold Coast Cost of Housing)
  • The median weekly rent in 2016 was $395 which was slightly higher than the State and National average. (See Gold Coast Cost of Housing)
  • The three most common household types on the Gold Coast in 2016 were couples with children, couples without children, and lone person households which were all close to State and National averages. (See Gold Coast Households)
  • The most common number of bedrooms per dwelling was three, followed by four and two. These figures were all close to State and National averages. (See Gold Coast Households)
  • The most common number of people per dwelling was two (36%), followed by one (23%), three (17%), and four (15%). All these figures were close to State and National averages. (See Gold Coast Households)
  • In 2016, 55% of the Gold Coast lived in separate houses as the main dwelling structure. This was almost 20% under the State and National figures. 24% of Gold Coast dwelling structures were medium density and 19% were high density structures. Both of these figures were well above State (16% and 8%) and National (18% and 9%) percentages. (See Gold Coast Households)

 

It is remarkable that, despite the appearance of the Gold Coast being a unique city in terms of its population, it conforms to State and National averages on almost every population measure except for one – dwelling type. Not unsurprisingly, when we look at the iconic images of the coastal skyline, the Gold Coast has a higher propensity for medium and high density living when compared to either Queensland or Australia. But on every other measure – age profile, occupation and industry of employment, income and cost of housing, and household types – it is a rather typical and unremarkable Australian city. It seems then that the most remarkable thing about the Gold Coast is how unremarkable it actually is.

 

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