THE population of the Orange and Bathurst electorates is growing at a faster rate than many Sydney suburbs and coastal centres.
Over a five year period the population in both cities grew quicker than Cronulla, Hornsby, Epping, Vaucluse, Wollongong, Tamworth and Terrigal.
The findings come from the NSW State Electoral Districts Ranked by the 2011 census characteristic research paper, which measured and ranked the population growth of all 93 NSW electorates from 2006 to 2011.
With a population growth rate of 6.58 per cent Orange ranked 28th of the 93 electorates, while Bathurst ranked 47th with a growth rate of 5.23 per cent.
It was a different story further west with Dubbo ranked 89, with a growth rate of 1.43 per cent.
The figures compared with a NSW average growth rate of 5.59 per cent.
Orange Business Chamber president Tony Healey said the population growth reflected a growth in business and industry within the region.
“In the last few years we have seen heightened business activity in Orange. There has been a lot of work out at the mines, work at the hospital and in other sectors and this has brought in more people and more associated businesses.”
Western Research Institute CEO Andrew Johnson agreed.
He said the rate of population increase in Bathurst and Orange was not a surprise, given their economic position.
“Neither region has a narrowly focussed economy, they both have diverse industry and robust economies,” he said.
“While both regions are benefiting from the expansion of mining and industry, it is not the sole thing they rely on.”
Mr Johnson said the region’s stable economy and relaxed lifestyle made it an appealing choice.
“When you weight it up the central west is quite an attractive region. There is good industry, low cost of living, reduced housing prices and a good lifestyle, as long as that remains people will continue to come to the region and stay.”
Mr Healey said that while business was keeping up with population growth there was always work to be done.
“Yes there is need for improvement, it is an ongoing event to prevent businesses and services becoming stale.”
When ranked by their total population, all three electorates fell below the state average of 74,243.
The Orange electorate had the highest population with 73,205 people, followed by Bathurst with 73,057 and Dubbo with 71,577.