View research reports prepared on regional issues including:

  • demographic trends and population change
  • population mobility
  • migration and settlement patterns
  • environmental issues
  • economic trends in employment
  • regional economic development

You may also be interested in the Research Matters bulletin.

Hanging Rock

Research reports

Population and Housing in Regional Victoria. Trends and Policy Implications

This report uses a variety of data sources such as ABS and Victorian Valuer General. They have been analysed and curated by Forward Policy and Research demographic experts. It provides a selection of data (in the form of charts and tables) with an explanatory narrative.

Coastal Demographics in Victoria

This report was prepared by the DELWP Forward Policy and Research Branch for the VMCC. It was used as an input to the Marine and Coastal Policy 2019 and will also inform the Marine and Coastal Strategy 2020. The report contains information and data on population and settlement trends along the Victorian coast.

The report is available on the Victorian Marine and Coastal Council research and reports page.

Demographics for Bushfire Risk Analysis (2018)

This report presents mapped data on demographic factors which can affect bushfire risk and recovery. It has been updated to include data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.

A Regional Career (2017)

This report presents the findings of a survey of professional workers in Ballarat. It forms a companion to the Bendigo report released in 2016. By better understanding the professional needs of these workers, effective population strategies to attract and retain people to regional areas can be developed.

A Regional Career (2016)

This report presents the findings of a survey of professional workers in Bendigo. By better understanding the professional needs of these workers, effective population strategies to attract and retain people to regional areas can be developed.

Attraction and Retention (2016)

This report summarises the findings of a 3-year Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project (LP120100212). The research uses longitudinal and survey-based data to gain insights into migration pathways and potential return migration. 

Long Distance Commuting - Stawell Case Study (2013)

This study examines the effects of FIFO commuting by using Stawell as a case study. Faced with the impending closure of the Stawell gold mine, people and businesses in Stawell examined and pursued opportunities to commute to other mines in Australia to utilise their skills base while retaining population.

Population and Settlement along the Victorian Coast (2013)

This report provides background information that has informed the proposed policies relating to planning and managing coastal settlements within the Draft Victorian Coastal Strategy 2013.

Dealing with Extremes - Lake Boga (2012)

This report provides a follow-up to the 2010 study of Lake Boga.

Change and Disadvantage in Regional Victoria (2011)

This series of reports describes disadvantage in Victoria’s regions including Barwon South West, Grampians, Loddon Mallee, Hume and Gippsland.

The Drying Lake: Lake Boga's Experience of Change and Uncertainty (2010)

THis report examines the impact of environmental change on a regional community.

Regional Youth Migration and the Influence of Tertiary Institutions (2009)

This paper provides insights and understanding about the migration patterns of young adults as they move through tertiary education.

These reports utilise data from the department's Towns in Time and Suburbs in Time databases. The reports examine demographic trends over the period of 1981 to 2006 in Victoria's three largest regional centres; Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

Overview report

The overview report (2010) explores several aspects of change, focusing on demographics, dwellings, labour force and education. It concludes with an examination of prospects and challenges for the future.

Regional centre reports

The supplementary Regional Centre Reports focus on aspects of suburban change in each of the three cities.

These reports provide maps of disadvantage for suburbs and towns based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (IRSD) 2006. The index combines census variables relating to income, education, occupation, wealth and living conditions. Data are also provided to describe the population make-up of the most disadvantaged areas. 

The reports also briefly review the changes that were impacting on disadvantage in regional Victoria at the time of their writing.


This report brings together data from all five reports below to give a regional Victoria wide picture.

For many regional students, undertaking tertiary education means making a migration decision. Some move to Melbourne while others remain in, or move to, larger regional cities that have university campuses. 

The Youth Migration Study (2009) examines the motivations underlying the migration decisions of young adults, particularly in relation to university education. The research reveals that the greatest challenges will be in retaining young people in regional cities and encouraging them to return home after they have completed their tertiary studies.

These findings provide a better understanding of migration patterns between regional Victoria and Melbourne to support the development of population projections. They can also inform policies, planning and actions aiming to enhance the attractiveness of regional areas for investment and population growth.

Youth Migration Study Report - Part 1

Part 1 reports the findings of focus groups with current university students. 

Youth Migration Study Report - Part 2

Part 2 reports the findings of in-depth discussions with university alumni.

Migration within Australia can significantly affect population growth across Victoria. Unlike births and deaths, which are relatively stable components of population change, the levels and patterns of migration are volatile and can vary widely between places and over time.

An understanding of internal migration trends, drivers and impacts assists in understanding population change in Victoria.

This report is based on data that includes 2001 and 2006 Census data.

Page last updated: 25/06/21