Facts & Figures

Current Statistics

For almost 20 years REMPLAN has been supporting thousands of people with data and analysis that is accurate and up-to-date, enabling timely, evidence based decision making about where to Live, Work and Invest. 

The Economic Development Office of Shoalhaven City Council subscribes to the REMPLAN service and makes available to you this data and statistical information for Shoalhaven.

The Shoalhaven Local Government Area (LGA) is the southern most sub-region of the Illawarra. It’s 4,660 square kilometre area stretches from the rural township of Berry in the north some 85 kilometres south to the harbourside township of Ulladulla. The region is bounded by the Illawarra Escarpment to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Its topography combines mountainous terrain, flat coastal plain, bays, inlets, lakes and rivers.

The spectacular natural environment is a major attraction of the Shoalhaven area. Within its boundaries are 109 beaches, 300,000 hectares of National Park and State Forest land. Jervis Bay and Kangaroo Valley are popular natural tourist attractions. The Shoalhaven River provides a significant natural water resource to Shoalhaven Water and Sydney Water.

Since the 1970’s the Shoalhaven LGA has experienced strong population growth. In 2016 the estimated resident population was 101,777 and had grown by 17.2% since 2001. The Shoalhaven’s average annual population growth rate during the 1990’s has consistently remained above the state average. From 2001 to 2016 the average annual growth rate of the Shoalhaven was 1.15%, significantly higher than the 0.8% average growth rate of New South Wales.

Projections by the NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning predict that the Shoalhaven’s population will continue to grow strongly over the next twenty years, but the rate of growth will plateau. Forecasts based on medium level growth indicate that the population of the Shoalhaven will reach 113,500 by the year 2021, a figure which would represent an increase on the current estimated population of around 19.4%.

Localities within Shoalhaven had, at 2016 an estimated resident population as follows:

Berry - Kangaroo Valley 8,865
Callala Bay - Currarong 3,677
Culburra Beach 5,028
Huskisson - Vincentia 4,234
North Nowra - Bomaderry 16,084
Nowra 20,080
St Georges Basin - Erowal Bay 13,975
Sussex Inlet - Berrara 4,372
Tomeromg - Wandandian - Woollamia 3,459
Ulladulla 15,437
Ulladulla region 5,027

Based on the 2016 Census and the ABS Estimated Resident Population, the Shoalhaven has a labour force approaching 40,000. Of this number in excess of 36,000 persons were employed. The most significant job-generating industries in the Shoalhaven are health care and social assistance (15.7%), retail trade (14.3%), public administration and safety (10.9%), accommodation and food services (10.2%), education and training (8.4%), manufacturing (8.2%) and construction (6.5%).

The Shoalhaven is based in a coastal regional setting to the south of Sydney and comprises of 49 towns and villages each having lifestyle differences that give the area its unique character.

The Shoalhaven has a mature but growing economic base. With broad diversity in many value adding sectors such as aircraft maintenance and overhaul, general manufacturing and logistics, the economic base is supported by domestic and international trade. Manufacturing, defence, tourism and agriculture represent the core income generating economic activities for the Shoalhaven LGA. The agricultural sector remains an important economic activity in the region. The gross value of agricultural output in the 2016 was $182.2m from such rural activities as dairy farming, nursery products, seeds and cut flowers.

Government administration and services are strong as is education, health and the construction industry. Many localities are also highly oriented to tourism and retail.

According to the ABS, as of 2006 there were 4,431 business counts operating in the Shoalhaven LGA. This healthy growth in new business is largely due to the strong emphasis placed on economic development by Shoalhaven City Council, which has successfully encouraged a significant number of firms to relocate or set up in the area.

Population growth, based on in-migration from metropolitan areas, continues to grow the labour force and provide extension to existing and new businesses. The level of economic activity is also reflected in the number of Building Approvals in the Shoalhaven.

A skilled workforce supports the business base and utilises the resources of local training facilities of the University of Wollongong and TAFE NSW.

According to the ABS, as at June 2016  there were 6,649 businesses operating in the Shoalhaven LGA. This healthy growth of around 100 new business each year is largely due to the strong emphasis placed on economic development by Shoalhaven City Council, which has successfully encouraged a significant number of firms to relocate or set up in the area. Tables showing the Number of Shoalhaven Businesses by Employment size and Number of Shoalhaven Businesses by Turnover provide an important insight into the Economic Growth of Shoalhaven.

Shoalhaven City Council has an active Economic Development Office, working at the strategic and operational level to grow the economy and encourage expansion and diversification across all sectors. This website contains economic and demographic information about the Shoalhaven. More information about the Shoalhaven City Council Economic Development Office is also available.

The Shoalhaven has a very strong natural resource base including rich agricultural land, forests and vast waterways. Although dairy farming remains the dominant agricultural activity in the Shoalhaven, new value-added resource based industries are emerging. Strong growth potential exists in niche industries such as ecotourism, aquaculture, berry farming, viticulture, organic farming, turf farming and aquatic biotechnology.

The Shoalhaven has the perfect natural attributes to be a very popular tourist destination – warm climate, an abundance of natural attractions, a myriad of outdoor recreational options, close proximity to the huge domestic markets of Sydney and Canberra and a healthy tourism infrastructure. The region is regularly the most visited tourist destination in the state. Plenty of opportunity exists for development, particularly within the accommodation sector where there is a shortage of 3-5 star hotel establishments. 

You can view more about Tourism at the website.

The size of the Shoalhaven labour force has been growing as the population has been growing. In-migration has two elements to it, those relocating to take up an employment position or those relocating to take up the lifestyle hoping to retire or find employment. This factor creates a skilled pool of labour that is looking for longevity in employment.

Over the last few decades the growth in employment has been equal to or above the rate of growth in the population

The Economic Profile of the Shoalhaven is contained in a  Shoalhaven REMPLAN Economic Profile site. This site is available in English and Chinese.

The information provided includes:

  • Summary
  • Industries
  • Tourism
  • Workers
  • Trends including population, jobs, unemployment, building approvals, business counts

This data is prepared by REMPLAN based on the latest statistics from ABS and other Government sources.