Barooga’s population has skyrocketed by more than 20 per cent in the past four years, according to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The statistics, released last Tuesday, show that in the 2016 census, Barooga’s population was 1817, up 21.37 per cent from 1497 in 2011, and the average age remained steady at 44.
In the wider Berrigan Shire, the population was 8462, an increase of 4.9 per cent from 2011 and continuing growth from 2006.
‘‘These census figures support the council’s position, based on its own planning data and anecdotal evidence, that Berrigan Shire continues to grow,’’ Berrigan Shire Mayor Matt Hannan said.
‘‘Despite the impact of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on our communities, Berrigan Shire has demonstrated remarkable resilience.
‘‘The lifestyle and opportunities available in our shire continues to attract and retain residents and businesses alike.’’
The new data also shows there were 849 dwellings in Barooga, a 23.94 per cent increase from 2011.
Fifty-three per cent of Barooga’s population is married, 30.5 per cent said their ancestry was Australian, 29.5 per cent said English, 10.9 per cent Irish, 8.1 per cent Scottish and 2.6 per cent Italian.
Australia was the country of birth for 81.8 per cent of people in Barooga, and 73 per cent said both their parents were also born in the country.
The number of Barooga residents who identified as religious had dropped, from 31 per cent Catholic, 22 per cent Anglican, 17 per cent no religion and 13.5 per cent Uniting in 2011, compared to 28 per cent Catholic, 24.4 per cent no religion, 19.3 per cent Anglican and 8.2 per cent Uniting, in 2016.
A couple without children in Barooga make up 47 per cent of the family population, 39.6 per cent are a couple with two children. The median weekly income is $1079.
Across the Murray River in Cobram, however, the town posted just 1.5 per cent population growth, rising from 6245 people in 2011 to 6348 in 2016.
In the Moira Shire the wider population growth was higher, increasing 3.5 per cent from 28124 in 2011 to 29112 in 2016.
The average age in Cobram rose from 42 to 46, while in Moira Shire it rose from 44 to 47.
In Cobram, 49.8 per cent of people aged 15 and over were married, 51.4 per cent in the wider shire.
Cobram residents said their ancestry was English (28 per cent), Australian (27 per cent), Irish (8.6 per cent) and Scottish (6.5 per cent).
Australia was the top response for people’s country of birth (76 per cent), while 2.7 per cent were born in Italy, 2.3 per cent in England, 1.7 per cent in New Zealand and 1.6 per cent in Iraq.
Sixty-two per cent said both of their parents were born in Australia, while 20 per cent said both their parents were born overseas, mainly in Italy, England and New Zealand.
The number of people who identified as religious also dropped in Cobram, from Catholic (36 per cent), Anglican (17 per cent) no religion (15.8 per cent), Uniting (9.4 per cent) and Islam (4.1 per cent) in 2011; to 32.7 per cent Catholic, 22.2 per cent no religion, 14.7 per cent Anglican and eight per cent Uniting.
Italian, Arabic and Punjabi were the main languages other than English spoken at home.
Moira Shire Mayor Gary Cleveland said council welcomed the data which showed continued growth across the shire.
‘‘As far as we’re concerned, it’s great to see that the population is continuing to grow, by 3.5 per cent in census,’’ Cr Cleveland said.
‘‘It gives us a great indication of where we are as a shire and how many people we have, which means we can plan for the future, and use the data in things like the council plan.’’
Cr Cleveland said economic modelling had shown Moira Shire population had grown by 185 people each year between 2005 and 2015.
‘‘I think it’s great, the population growth helps us attract businesses and industry to the shire,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s already happened with Booths in Strathmerton and other developments, they’re looking for locations that are growing, and they want to be located between big centres, to have their depots and storage, as well as places for their drivers.’’