According to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard which came into effect from July 2011 onwards, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has divided NSW into 28 Statistical Areas Level 4. Fifteen of these areas fall within Sydney and the Central Coast, and these will be the subject of a separate paper. This paper is concerned with the remaining 13 areas that fall outside Sydney, namely:
- Capital Region
- Central West
- Coffs Harbour - Grafton
- Far West and Orana
- Hunter Valley (excluding Newcastle)
- Mid North Coast
- New England and North West
- Newcastle and Lake Macquarie
- Richmond - Tweed
- Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven
Based on Census data as compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a profile is provided in this paper for each of the above areas. In each case, the first section is comprised of a profile based on the results from the 2011 Census and so reveals the current situation, whilst the second time series section compares results from the 2001, 2006 and 2011 Census data and is useful for gaining an understanding of some of the changes experienced in an area over the last decade. Some of these trends are particular to the specific area. However, there are some common changes that have occurred over the last decade in the majority of the regions, including:
- The proportion of people aged 65 and over has increased. Usually there has been a corresponding decrease in those aged 15 years and under.
- The percentage of the population in each area identifying as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander tends to be greater in 2011 than in 2001.
- The proportion of people with trade and tertiary qualifications has grown.
- Unemployment is down. The share of the labour force working part - time is up.
- The number of people identifying as being of Christian religion has fallen whilst the number of people stating they are of no religion has increased.
- The proportion of dwellings that are fully owned has decreased. At the same time, the percentage of dwellings that are owned with a mortgage has risen.
- Private school attendance has grown.
- There was a change in the dominant industries of employment for a number of areas, notably a fall in the prominence of industries such as manufacturing and agriculture, forestry and fishing, whilst for many areas health care and social assistance employed ever greater numbers . For example, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing was the top industry of employment for the Central West in 2001 (14.1%) but by 2011 it had fallen to third place (9.8%). In the same area, manufacturing also fell from being the second main employer (11.3%) to the fifth largest industry of employment in 2011 (8.3%). At the same time, Health Care and Social Assistance rose from being the fourth largest industry of employment in 2001 (9.3% of employees) to the top industry in 2011 (11.8%).