University towns are proving to be a formidable source of economic and population growth in NSW, says the 2019 NSW Population Projections report.

NSW Planning and Public Spaces minister Rob Stokes asserts that the communities of Wollongong, Newcastle, Armidale and Bathurst will experience population growths of up to 26 percent by the year 2041, driven primarily by the 20-24-year-old age demographic.

Stokes says that the brightest minds from throughout the nation and the world are attracted by NSW’s repute for hosting some of the globe’s most respected colleges. And aside from the university towns benefitting from pupils residing and spending in the local area, the flow-on effect boosts the whole economy, drawing new cafes, restaurants, recreational activities, rentable accommodations, and visits from family and friends who also spend big.

Education ranks as NSW’s second most valuable source of export revenue, placing more than $13 billion into the NSW economy in 2018 and providing more than 95,000 jobs.

In the communities of Wollongong, Newcastle, Armidale and Bathurst, education injects $1.7 billion into the economy annually, employing 10,000 individuals directly and an additional 10,000 indirectly.

Predictions to the year 2041 indicate that Newcastle’s 20-24 age group will remain the most populous group of people in the region during the near future, many of whom will be pupils. Armidale is experiencing one of the most rapid growth rates in regional NSW and young individuals, including college students, are predicted to stay a vital component of the city.

For every 100 direct employment positions in the education field, 100 more are created when people reside and spend locally, Stokes says.

More than 25,000 students are enrolled at the University of Wollongong campus, with the community seeing the establishment of more than 80 new bars, restaurants and cafes since the year 2012. Population Projections predict that Wollongong will grow by a rate of 55,400 people by 2041.

In Bathurst, the government is partnering with Charles Sturt University and Bathurst Regional Council to start a “UniverCity”, instigating a CBD Masterplan and precincts reserved for healthcare, performing arts and economics.

In Newcastle, the new $95 million NeW Space education and research precinct–instigated with the support of the NSW Government–has changed the region’s landscape.

In Armidale, which hosts the University of New England, the population is anticipated to increase by 26 percent, from 30,300 in 2016 to 38,100 in 2041, with individuals in their early 20s expected to make up the most substantial age group.

The NSW government asserts that it is dealing with population growth via a capital works program estimated at $97.3 billion throughout the next four years that reserves $10.2 billion for hospitals and health facilities, $7.3 billion for schools and skills infrastructure, $4 billion for justice and emergency services infrastructure, and $57.5 billion intended for public transport and roads infrastructure.