Monday, 2 March 2015

The loss of youth

No, not mine. It disappeared long ago. I'm talking about Cairns's youth. Today at work I was working on some labour market information and again noticed the remarkable exodus of 15- to 24-year-olds from the Cairns region. Back in May 2013 we had 33,900 people in between 15 and 24 years of age. It has been in steep decline since, and in January has hit 23,900 - a decrease of 29%. It's largely driven by our youth unemployment, which has come in at a slightly improved 21.5%.

Many are heading to Townsville, which has seen its 15-24 population surge by 48% over the same period. As a result Townsville's youth unemployment is climbing, though at 17.3% it's still well below Cairns's.

Now if only we could export three in every ten 13- to 15-year-olds my morning bus trips would be far more peaceful.


  1. I am wary of using the ABS labour market stats for population estimates in this way on a regional basis. The 48% Townsville number there tells me it is almost certainly flawed.

  2. It's possible it's an error, but it seems a consistent month by month trend for almost two years, rather than a sudden drop. I guess it's a good argument for keeping a census every 5 years.