Magnetic Island North Queensland
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June 27th 2007
Island population crashes by 22%

According to the 2006 census just out, Magnetic Island's population has dropped, from the 2001 count, by a massive 22%!

The figures which were released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the Island's total population (excluding visitors) was just 2,107 in August 2006 while in 2001 the count was 2,711. This is a drop of 604 or just over 22%.

While some might think that the figures may reflect the workforce numbers involved in the construction of Nelly Bay Harbour, it is worth remembering that in 2001 that project was still in its infancy with excavation of the harbour underway. By comparison the labour intensive completion stages of the Bright Point and Blue on Blue developments would have been comparatively higher in August last year when the census was conducted.

The census shows drop in population of 85 children, aged between 5 and 14 to 257. This has already been reflected in the Magnetic Island State School P & C's (successful) battle to retain a janitor/groundsman after the school's student numbers dropped below the threshold figure at which the department usually removes the position. This may be the result of a dramatic decline in the number of married people on Magnetic which has also taken a big hit, declining by 412, from 1,184 in 2001, to 772 last year.

Men have also increased significantly in numbers to outnumber women on Magnetic by 7%, accounting for over 53% of the Island's population. This runs against the national count in which women outnumber men by 50.6% to 49.4%.

The number of working-age people in the 25-54 age group has also dropped dramatically by 255 from the 2001 count and the number of over 65 year olds has also dropped by 198 in the period.

And if you think that Magnetic Island has become the haunt of the wealthy, think again. The median* household income for the Island is just $803 as opposed to the Townsville median income of $1,065 and the national median of $1,027.

Rental prices have also remained below the national average with the median rent being $180, the same as for Townsville, but $10 below the national median.

Magnetic Islanders also appear to be considerably less religious than the rest of Australia with almost 10% more people indicating that they had "no religion" than the national average of 18.7% which is nearly 5% more than on the Island in 2001. Of the Christian denominations, Anglicans in particular declined by nearly 4% to 15.9% while Catholics have increased by 0.5 to 17.2%. Uniting Church numbers have also dropped by 0.5% while Presbyterians and Reformed have increased by 0.8%.

* For a definition of "median income" (click here).

To read the Magnetic Island Quickstats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for yourself (

Island population crashes by 22%
June 27th 2007
Simple reason...they all died of frostbite!
June 27th 2007
Just had a look at the stats. through the link you provide above. The one I found most interesting has escaped your attention.

Virtually 1 in 3 dwellings was unoccupied!
Edwina Carey
June 28th 2007
Interesting link, thank you.
Wendy Tubman
June 28th 2007
Rolf's interesting observation inspired me to look more closely at the 2006 and 2001 Census figures for the Island.

The Census defines a dwelling as one
June 28th 2007
My reading of the dwellings stats is that about 7 in 10 are occupied.
Ken Dun
June 29th 2007
I think Wendy Tubman's analysis of the differential in occupied private dwellings on Magnetic Island in the 2001 and 2006 census statistics is flawed. Unoccupied dwellings are counted on the night of the census; they do not correspond with vacant or unsold dwellings. These dwellings may have been unoccupied on the Tuesday of the census, but were occupied the following day or on the weekend, or the next week or month.

It is not at all logical to conclude from the statistics (from one night in August) that "the increase in number of dwellings (in 2006) has not been matched by an increase in demand for these dwellings", or that the dwellings were unsold. These dwellings may well be owned and used every weekend and unoccupied during the week. Further, it is fanciful to suggest that the statistics show that "the attraction of being on the island has fallen...or prices are too high." It may well be that the profile of owners of (and residents in) island dwellings is changing; some may be fly in fly out miners and absent on census night. There may be more owners who are part-time residents who are very attracted to living on the island, but who just did not happen to be in residence on census night. Or other owners, such as myself, were abroad. In my case the attraction of being on the island has brought me back, although I wasn't here on census night 2006.

Townsville City Council records based on property sales may be a more reliable source of evidence to build an argument as to the changing supply and demand for dwellings. But the issue of when and when not people are actually occupying the dwellings is a separate one.
Wendy Tubman
July 4th 2007

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