The Queensland Regional Profile for Lockyer and Somerset shows a fast rising population but with high unemployment.
The Queensland Regional Profile for Lockyer and Somerset shows a fast rising population but with high unemployment.

Population grows but jobs diminishing in Lockyer, Somerset

DESPITE high unemployment, Lockyer and Somerset's population growth is powering on, with both council regions growing faster than the Queensland average, according to new State Government data.

Lockyer Valley's population has grown from 53,340 in 2008 to 60,939 in 2013 while Somerset's population has grown from 20,366 to 23,287, both a rise of 2.7% in five years.

This compares to a state-wide growth of just 2.0% for the same period.

The data projects a growth rate of 1.6% for the next two decades meaning Lockyer Valley's population is expected to surge past 50,000 by the 2030s, with Somerset having 30,000 residents.

However finding work for those people will be difficult with higher than average unemployment rates.

The Queensland average is 6.0% however the Lockyer Valley unemployment rate is 8.2%.

It's worse still for Somerset with an unemployment rate of 9.4%.

The data comes from the Queensland Regional resident profiles released last week by the Queensland Government.

There are implications for education in the region with those aged from 0 to 14 representing 21.1% of the population, compared to a state average of 19.8% and just 37 early childhood education and care services in the region, which is below the statewide average.

While there are a lot of young people in the region, there are also a lot of older people too.

The median age (the age at which half the population is younger, the other half older) for Lockyer and Somerset is 39.2 years which is higher than the Queensland average of 36.6 years, which suggests there are a lot of retirees in the region.

Housing is cheaper in the region compared to Queensland.  The average three-bedroom house rent in Lockyer is $275 and just $270 in Somerset compared to the state average of $350.

The median house price in 2013-2104 in the Lockyer Valley is $297,000 with Somerset more expensive on $315,000 but both are well cheaper than the state average of $405,000.


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