Demography and Population

The Transition to Rural and Remote Practice Toolkit is currently under review and content may be out of date. The toolkit will be updated following the review.

Approximately a third (31.5%) of the Australian population live in remote or rural areas of the country. Of these, about 45% live in regional cities, large towns and surrounding agricultural areas, about 45% live in small country towns and their surrounding agricultural areas, and about 10% live in remote and very remote areas. 

The population profile and demography of remote and rural areas varies from that in metropolitan or urban centres. While it varies between communities, remote and rural areas generally have slower population growth than metropolitan and urban centres, with some areas experiencing population declines. Rural communities tend to have more children but fewer young adults. Remote areas tend to have even more children, but fewer older people.  

In terms of education and employment, people living in remote and rural areas generally have lower levels of education. Employment opportunities are often limited within remote and rural communities, and household incomes also tend to be lower than in metropolitan or urban areas. 

The type of diversity within remote and rural areas also varies from that of metropolitan and urban centres. Over two thirds of Australia’s Indigenous population reside in remote and rural areas. Additionally, immigration to remote and rural communities tends to be lower than in metropolitan and urban centres. 

Access to resources is lower for people living in remote and rural areas, and tends to decrease with remoteness. The affordability and availability of commodities such as food and petrol is often significantly lower, again decreasing with remoteness. Remote areas in particular are less likely to have access to basic food items, including fresh fruit and vegetable.  

Demography, Population & You

Think about the population within the community you work with: 

  • Who lives in the community? What age or cultural background are the majority of the residents?
  • How accessible is education, employment, food and housing? 
  • How does this affect the way health services are delivered?

Useful References