Regional Centres Atlas

Regional Centres

Published: 2019

Regional centres are an important but often overlooked set of areas with particular policy and population dynamics, as noted in the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research's (CAEPR) 2011 Census Paper Series – Paper 12 Regional Centres. [1]

They are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics Significant Urban Areas geography, areas which have a total population of between 10,000 and 250,000, and is further refined to include only areas with at least 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander usual residents; there are 46 areas meeting these criteria.

Regional centres have a relatively young Indigenous population when compared to the non-Indigenous population in those centres and to the Indigenous population in the rest of Australia. In addition, Regional Centres contain significantly more Indigenous Australians overall than remote Indigenous communities and make up a greater share of the population than in Australia’s major cities. In spite of this, policy interest is very rarely devoted to individual regional centres or to regional centres as a separate geographic grouping. [1]

Using the Indigenous Atlas produced by PHIDU, this atlas expands on the demographic, mobility and socioeconomic measures used in the original paper to further include indicators under the following themes, ‘Demographic and social indicators’, Health status, disease prevention, disability and deaths, and ‘ Use and provision of health and welfare services’.


  1. Biddle, N. and Markham F. 2013. CAEPR Indigenous Population Project: 2011 Census Papers - Paper 12 Regional Centres. Available from:; accessed 13 June 2019.

Key Findings


  • Rates of preschool attendance were higher in Regional Centres for Outer Regional and Remote areas when compared to Non Regional Centres in the same remoteness category
  • Aboriginal persons aged 15-19 have higher rates of Learning or Earning in Regional Centres than Non Regional Centres
  • Young people aged 16 years old in Regional Centres have similar rates of full-time secondary school participation to those in Non Regional Centres

Employment and Income

  • Rates of Aboriginal unemployment in the Regional Centres was lower than the Non Regional Centres
  • Rates of low income Aboriginal families were lower in Regional Centres when compared to Non Regional Centres


  • Regional Centres have lower rates of dwellings being rented from the State/Territory housing authority than Non Regional Centres
  • Remote Regional Centres have substantially higher rates of dwellings being rented from housing co-operative, community or church groups when compared with other remoteness categories
  • Regional Centres have lower rates of household overcrowding when compared to Non Regional Centres, especially in remote areas
  • Rates of Aboriginal households with children where the Internet is not accessed are lower than in Regional Centres when compared to Non Regional Centres

Health and Wellbeing

  • Immunisation rates at ages 1, 2 and 5 are similar in Regional Centres and Non Regional Centres
  • Rates of death amongst Aboriginal persons aged 0-74 are higher in Outer Regional and substantially higher in Remote Regional Centres, with a similar trend in all indicators of premature mortality
  • Rates of hospital admissions are significantly higher for Remote Regional Centres than in Remote Non Regional Centres
  • Rates of same-day admissions for renal dialysis in Regional Centres are significantly higher in Outer Regional, and significantly lower in Remote areas compared to Non Regional Centres
  • Rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations are highest in Remote Regional Centres markedly higher than Non Regional Centres; and this is similar for Chronic, Acute and Vaccination preventable conditions


View the Regional Centres Atlas

Power BI report

The Power BI report is an data visualisation tool which allows the user to interact with the Regional Centre data.


Indicators from the data workbook in an interactive map this allows the user to visually compare indicator data across Regional Centres.

Data workbook (xlsx)

The data workbooks contains Regional Centres grouped by Remoteness Category with indicators grouped by topic. In addition to the indicator values the data workbook includes Regional Centre, Non-Regional Centre and Australia Totals for each Remoteness Category group.


Authored by PHIDU