CENSUS 2016: new data reveals Pilbara population

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
VideoGeographer and demographer Simon Kuestenmacher joined Pablo to talk stats for the Pilbara.

It is a question which has drawn strong opinion ever since the Shire of Roebourne became the City of Karratha, and today it has been answered.

It was said at the time of becoming a city that we needed 20,000 people to be befitting of the moniker, so how many people live in the City of Karratha?

Over the past three years the Pilbara News has heard everything from 12,000 to 26,000.

The answer, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 Census of Population and Housing, is 21,473.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


The 2011 Census showed a population of 22,899 in what was then the Shire of Roebourne. 2015 estimates had that sitting at 26,228.

The Pilbara region as a whole is home to 59,559 residents, an increase of more than 10,000 since 2006, according to the data.

In the past 10 years the Pilbara has experienced the height of the mining construction boom and subsequent crash, jobs pressure coming from cost cutting and automation, and many more issues potentially putting a strain on population numbers in our region.

The Town of Port Hedland was once touted as becoming the second city in the Pilbara, but that never eventuated.

Today’s Census data reveals 14,469 call the Town home, 9,471 in South and 4,360 in Port Hedland.

That is down from the 2011 Census result of 15,046, but above the 14,084 people recorded in 2006.

The Shire of East Pilbara has 10,591 residents, about 1,000 fewer than the 2011 Census result of 11,950.

The Shire of Ashburton has 13,026 residents according to the latest data. In 2011 that number was 10,001.

Ashburton residents recorded the State’s highest weekly median income at $2,381 per week.

With a drop of 3,000 people calling Newman home since the 2011 Census, the inland town now has a population of 4,567.

Further down the coast, the Shire of Exmouth is home to 2,728 residents, almost all of whom live in Exmouth.

Australian Statistician David Kalisch said Census data was high quality.

“The Independent Assurance Panel I established to provide extra assurance and transparency of Census data quality concluded that the 2016 Census data can be used with confidence,” he said.

“The 2016 Census had a response rate of 95.1 per cent and a net undercount of 1.0 per cent.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails