THE Sunshine Coast's rapid population growth has seen it overtake Hobart to become Australia's 10th largest city.
The State of Australian Cities 2012 report shows the Coast's growth rate of 2.6% between 2001 and 2011 was the third highest of Australia's 18 major cities in the past decade.
Its population grew by 2.6% in the 10 years to 2011 - well above the national average of 1.5% - from 186,391 people in 2001 to 241,643 last year.
It is now home to 5.4% of Queenslanders and 1% of all Australians.
The Coast's supply of private dwellings increased by 10,138 between 2006 and 2011 and the household occupancy rate was 2.59 people per dwelling, below the 2011 major city average of 2.73 people.
Shockingly, the report also revealed 14.2% of the Sunshine Coast's private dwellings were unoccupied - the highest proportion for any major city in Australia.
On a brighter note, it had the second lowest proportion of dwellings under finance among the major cities, with a little more than 50% of dwellings owned outright.
WHILE it comes as no surprise retirees are attracted to the area's golden beaches and perfect weather, few could have predicted the Sunshine Coast had the nation's highest proportion of people aged 65 and over.
Interestingly, the Gold and Sunshine coasts were the only major cities not to experience a decline in the proportion of young adults in their populations.
But the figures showed the Sunshine Coast's popularity with Australians as a holiday destination was waning slightly.
The number of domestic visitor nights was down noticeably in the year to March, from 13.8 million in 2008 to 10.7 million this year.
"As one of Australia's beach holiday destinations popular with domestic tourists, it (the Sunshine Coast) is increasingly competing with international short-haul destinations, such as Thailand, Fiji and Bali," the report said.
But there was a slight increase in international visitor nights, up 100,000 since 2008 to 2.6 million.
Between 1952 and 2011 the Sunshine Coast was one of only three of Australia's major cities to experience little change in average annual temperatures.
In that period the average temperature changed by less than 0.1 degrees.
However the area's annual rainfall has decreased 7% in the corresponding period.
State of Australian Cities 2012 is compiled using current data,
including results from the Census, to track how cities are evolving and to help with urban policy development.
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