Gunnedah has had an update to its demographic resources with an informed decisions tool kit.

The company .id (Informed Decisions) provides demographic resources which allows for comparison of Census data until up to 1991.

The company has been working with Gunnedah Shire Council for more than six years.

The tool kit is open for the public to use featuring information gathered largely from the Census data with the community profile, social atlas, economic profile and housing monitor categories.

The information can be found on the .id website or it is linked on the Gunnedah Shire Council website.

The Gunnedah shire has been sectioned into three districts: Gunnedah North, Gunnedah South, and rural areas.

The 2021 Census was conducted during COVID and should be taken into consideration when reflecting on the demographics.

Glenn Capuano from .id was in Gunnedah to conduct a workshop for the .id tool kit. He has worked with the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years and has been in the demographics game for about 30 years.

“The main thing is every place has its own story and Gunnedah is going to have a slightly different story to every other town and every other suburb,” he said.

“The .id tool kit uses the Census data to really bring out those stories.

“Councils use the information in advocacy and applying for grants so getting more funding for the community, making strategic decisions about where to locate certain services based on where the different population types are in the community.

“Outside of council, people can make those types of decisions as well.

“It is also just about raising awareness about what is the story of Gunnedah … and each area within it. [Also] being aware of who lives in the area, if you are engaging with the population or if you are a business, who your market is.”

The 2021 Census compared to the 2016 Census revealed Gunnedah had a higher percentage of people under 18 and a lower percentage of people aged 60 or older in comparison to other regional towns in NSW.

Mr Capuano said the most interesting thing about Gunnedah was its younger age profile.

“[It is] surprising how young the population is here. You expect rural communities to be significantly older and it is really not here,” he said.

The median age is 37 which has dipped from 40 since the 2016 Census.

This could be caused by several factors.

The over 55-year-old population has had a number of people moving out of Gunnedah along with the baby bonus in the 2000s meant those children are now teenagers.

Gunnedah also has a strong natural increase which looks at the birth and death numbers in the shire.

The SEFIA Index (Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas) is an important asset for councils to understand where the disadvantaged areas are located.

This information can be vital leverage for funding allocations and advocacy.

A range of socio-economic disadvantage and advantage characteristics from the census are considered when calculating the score.

A higher score is a lower level of disadvantage while a lower score is a higher level of disadvantage.

The Gunnedah Shire was 967 on the disadvantage index in 2021 and in the lower third of regional NSW Local Government Areas.

Gunnedah South was 942.0 in the 26th percentile.

Gunnedah North was 890.6 in the 11th percentile.

Carroll and Curlewis were in an even higher level of disadvantage.

Despite this, Gunnedah has a higher income level than other regional areas.

Gunnedah is more affordable compared to most of the state when considering dwelling costs in the 12-month period leading up to December 2022.

It does not take into consideration inflation and assumes interest rate, loan period and deposit requirements.

About 31.6 per cent of low-income households could afford to purchase housing in Gunnedah while 73.9 per cent of moderate-income households could afford to purchase.

About 40 per cent of low-income households could afford to rent in Gunnedah.

Homelessness has also reduced when comparing the 2021 Census and the 2016 Census.

The Gunnedah Shire had ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’, ‘healthcare and social assistance’, and ‘education and training’ as the top three employment industries in 2021.

It revealed many residents travel to the Narrabri Shire for employment, making it the second largest employer of Gunnedah shire residents.

This could be due to the mining industry that employed 14.1 per cent of Gunnedah Shire workers according to the 2021 Census.

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