Regional Population and Employment Change in Australia 1991–2001: Inertia in the Face of Rapid Change?
Analyses of the patterns of national population change have been influenced by the US experience where major differences between a older north and a newer south are prominent in many studies. The current paper argues that these perspectives overlook some inertia in the pattern of population and jobs. Drawing upon US and European experience the paper explores the pattern of change in Australia. There it finds that population has favoured newer locations but that gains in share of national population have not been large. At the same time some of the older regions have maintained population share, or at worst recorded small declines. That broad insight is enriched by sectoral analysis where it is clear that only the retail sector has experienced the large gains in new regions; employment change in other sectors showed the links with population change are weak. The paper concludes that simple notions of new region population and employment gains are oversimplified and overlook the substantial development around established centres. In particular it is possible that the old regions are re-structuring their spatial form and spilling over statistical boundaries and so actually maintaining established role in national networks.