Regional research and data

The Department undertakes research, data collection and analysis related to issues affecting regional Australia. The information presented here allows policy makers, program administrators and researchers to understand the impacts their activities have on regional communities.

Progress in Australian Regions and Cities Dashboard

The Progress in Australian Regions and Cities Dashboard brings together information about Australia's regions from a range of different sources and presents that data in a consistent format over time. It is updated monthly. The Dashboard is designed to answer the question of how our regions are progressing against a range of key indicators from the following themes:

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Enter Progress in Australia Regions Dashboard


Please note that this dashboard performs best in modern browsers. We recommend clearing the browsing history to access the latest update of the dashboard.

Statistical Analysis

Understanding regional data series

  • Understanding statistical geography
    Fact sheet providing a quick guide to assist people to analyse regional data and consider what geographical scale most accurately represents their region/s of interest.
  • Understanding regional data: Population
    Fact sheet providing a high level guide to finding and using regional population data.
  • Understanding regional data: Employment
    Fact sheet to assist people to source, analyse and present regional data on employment. The fact sheet also includes a summary of other labour market data sources and characteristics.
  • Understanding regional data: Industry
    Fact sheet providing a guide for finding and analysing regional industry data. The fact sheet also describes methods for constructing key indices of industrial diversity and structural change across regions.
  • Understanding Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)
    Fact sheet providing a guide to understanding and using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) data produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. SEIFA is a set of four indexes which are used to compare relative advantage and disadvantage of small areas. 

Experimental Gross Regional Product estimates

Experimental Gross Regional Product estimates 

Gross Regional Product (GRP) is an estimate of each region’s unique contribution to the national economy. While Australian regional economies are interlinked, GRP can be used as an indicator of local economic activity. 

BCARR has produced experimental estimates of GRP for 2015-16 and 2020-21. The estimates are available for download and are accompanied by a fact sheet summarising GRP size and change across regions. 

Estimates are produced using the ABS Statistical Areas Level 4 which broadly represents local labour markets. Information is also provided regarding GRP estimates for Northern Australia, which spans across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Population change and internal migration during the COVID-19 pandemic

Population change and internal migration during the COVID-19 pandemic

Understanding spatial patterns of population change is vital in planning for services and infrastructure, and in managing the pressures created as local populations grow and decline. A large shock to the Australian economy and society, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, has the potential to create new pressure for settlement pattern change. In this context, this report investigates regional population change and internal migration flows during the peak period of the pandemic (2020-21), contrasting with a five-year period representing the medium term, and the population change for 2021-22.

The report uses the BCARR migration geography, which separates regions by characteristics including city status, and whether coastal, inland or remote.

Working zones 2021 update

Working zones 2021 update

This fact sheet provides an update to the Working zones geography following the 2021 Australian Statistical Geography Standard. The Working zones statistical geography describes regions that reflect commuting patterns of Australian workers and can be used to analyse local labour markets. The release includes an excel correspondence and a shapefile to enable people to analyse their own data on this geography.

The future of Australian cities and regions in a post-pandemic world

iMOVE report - The future of Australian cities and regions in a post-pandemic world

This research was conducted by the University of South Australia (UniSA) between March 2022 and June 2023, and was co-funded by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts in partnership with the iMOVE Co-operative Research Centre.

The study addresses the following questions:

  • What are the primary determinants of firm and residential location patterns across Australia?
  • What are the drivers of or barriers to attracting and retaining businesses and households to regional cities, and how do they differ based on characteristics of businesses, households and regions?
  • What are the possible long-term impacts of COVID-19 on firm and residential location decisions across metropolitan and regional cities?
  • How are these impacts likely to influence resulting spatial patterns of employment activity and residential settlement within and across these cities?

To answer these questions, UniSA undertook nationwide surveys of businesses, landlords and residents, along with conducting interviews and focus groups with residents across different city sizes and types, real estate and property developers, commercial landlords, state and local government officials, business owners and senior executives.

This study provides important insights for policymakers, businesses, and communities on current and possible future patterns of employment activity and residential settlement.