Demography and Growth Planning

Through applied research, the Demography and Growth Planning team strives to understand the causes & consequences of population change in northern sparsely populated areas of developed nations, with emphasis on the Northern Territory and northern Australia more broadly.

We aim to make a positive difference to policy, communities & society and our research which extends across the key fields of demography, migration studies, economics, gambling research and labour studies.

The Team is available for consultancy work and, with our extensive research and analytical experience in delivering high quality outputs on population-related research projects, can assist you and your organisation with research design, conduct, analysis and reporting.


We are experts in sourcing, analysing and understanding results from complex and varied data sources. We collaborate with other universities, government agencies, non-government agencies and research organisations from around the world to explore the big issues affecting communities, regions and their peoples. This work contributes to better-informed policy and decision-making, leading to improved economic and social wellbeing.

Demography and Growth Planning work closely with the Northern Territory Department of Treasury and Finance and have three active Australian Research Council projects on improving subnational population forecasts, the demographic consequences of migration to, from and within Australia, and improved Indigenous population projections for policy and planning.

The team are recognised internationally for their work and snapshots of findings are made freely accessible through the Northern Institute Research Briefs Paper Series at 

We are helping to facilitate the 2018 Australian Population Association conference FIND OUT MORE

Our blog demographyNorth is a great way of keeping abreast of our new research and analysis on critical population issues

Read ‘Territory Population Update’ New Population Statistics for September 2016

This report was created by our Northern Institute Demography & Growth Planning team following the Population figures recently published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


The Demography and Growth Planning teamtankandbulb

Core Capabilities

  • Demographic analysis for small and relatively isolated populations 
  • Population projection models for national, sub-national regions and communities
  • Scenario-modelling for small populations and communities
  • Innovative techniques for understanding and representing demographic impacts from and for policy
  • Understanding and mapping population flows, mobilities and migration in the north
  • Identifying critical population challenges and opportunities, by applying data from varied sources
  • Developing robust methods for understanding future populations to inform planning
  • Highlighting demographic and social shifts from changing global industry employment practices in northern and remote regions 
  • Understanding the causes and implications of Indigenous demographic change
  • Helping communities make progress with social and economic issues through demographic analysis, understanding data and addressing population issues

Our Impact

The team’s research focuses on remote places in developed nations, including the Northern Territory, but their reach is national and global. The team has active hubs in Darwin, Queensland, South Australia, Sweden and Canada. We are part of research networks extending across Australia, northern Europe and North America.

RePPP (Regional Population Projection Program) is an Excel-based program which produces subnational population projections using a state-of-the-art cohort-component model. It generates projections by sex and five year age group for between 2 and 50 subnational regions over a projection horizon of between 5 and 50 years. The program is suitable for regions varying in size from SA2 areas to States and Territories.

Beyond Periphery Impact Case Study

  • Development of programs to recruit and retain nursing, health and other professional workers in the NT (Department of Health, Department of Business)
  • Development of strategies for long term urban planning, particularly in Darwin and Alice Springs (Chief Minister’s Office)
  • Informing lobbying for consideration of NT’s needs in national migration policy (Department of Business)
  • Development of new strategies to deal with homelessness in the NT’s large urban centres (Department of Housing)
  • Rethinking the role of different types of knowledge in developing social and economic policy aimed at remote Indigenous communities (Department of Regional Development and Indigenous Advancement)

Higher Degree by Research Students

dgp-internationalWe are proud of our past and current students, many of whom have gone on to be practitioners and make a difference in industry, government and society. We aim to provide quality student supervision and skills development.

Our current students are:.


Selected projects

Demography and the future of small towns - Establishing a National Centre of Excellence for Northern and Contemporary Population Research (NExCPR). 

Capacity within governments and academia for policy-relevant and impactful demographic research has diminished substantially. From strategic expansion during 2015, the Demography and Growth Planning team (NI) has a decorated cohort of demographers, all fully committed to procured grants. With active Australian international hubs and projects, opportunities can be harnessed for research income by expanding our capacity. 

This research will develop innovative methods to generate these data. One potential initiative is Our North in Maps: The diversity of Northern Australia and its peoples, utilising GIS and demographic mapping techniques. 

The rapidly changing profile of small towns in northern contexts internationally has challenged governments and communities at all levels to respond effectively without adequate data and comparative studies to draw on. Through ongoing NTG investment, NI’s demography team have become regional leaders in undertaking innovative projects with a reputation for providing practical and accurate modelling for dispersed, diverse regional communities experiencing rapid or regular change. With national and international changes, there is an opportunity to become global leaders in demography of declining regional communities and leverage significant research funding through co-investment with national and international sources - particularly in northern Europe, Canada and SE Asia.  The research would also extend work in Indigenous demography and visual communication of data analysis to inform decision making.

Population projections for the Northern Territory and its regions

We have international expertise in developing robust population projections models. We work with the Northern Territory Department of Treasury and Finance to continually develop and improve population projections for the NT and its regions. Projections provide a basis for government, industry and businesses to plan for services and infrastructure into the future. We are working with the Department to re-develop the projections model for the Northern Territory in readiness for the release of new projections following the 2016 Census and final population estimates. Projections for the Northern Territory and sub-regions are freely available on the Department’s website,

Indigenous demographic futures

The settlement and demographic profiles for first Australian's are shifting dramatically from the combination of changing propensities to identify as Indigenous and increasing rates of mixed-partnering in the urban centres of Australia. The Northern Territory, along with other states who have significant remote Indigenous populations, are affected in a number of ways; not least from the redistribution of GST revenues to States and Territories with growing urban Indigenous populations. Applying knowledge from studies internationally and working with our international network, our research will build knowledge on the causes and consequences of this socio-cultural phenomenon with a focus on the Northern Territory.

Demographic and Social change in Remote NT Settlements

We continue to research and model population change in small and isolated communities using a range of techniques such as scenario modelling, agent based modelling and cohort component modelling. Our aim is to work with communities using demographic discussions based on modelling data and other sources to help them understand and articulate their hopes and aspirations for the future.