GLOUCESTER’S population will grow by 14 per cent over the next 20 years with more than a third of those living in the shire aged 65 or older.
Population projections for NSW released by the State Department of Planning and Infrastructure indicate Gloucester is one of eight local government areas projected to have 35 per cent or more of its population aged over 65 by 2031.
The other seven shires were Hay, Urana, Nambucca, Temora, Wakool, Eurobodalla and Great Lakes.
The number of people aged 65 or more in Gloucester will grow by 63.3 per cent in the next 20 years, while the number of people aged between 15 and 64 will fall by 3.8 per cent.
The current population of the Gloucester local government area of 4950 is expected to grow to 5650 by the year 2031 according to the projections, which are based on 2011 Census data.
A large portion of that growth will occur between now and 2021, with the population set to reach 5300 by 2016 and 5400 by 2021.
Annual population growth sits at 0.7 per cent.
Growth predictions for neighbouring council areas are mixed.
Dungog’s population will swell from the current 8550 to 9800 by 2031, a rise of 14.5 per cent, while the number of people living in the Great Lakes will grow from 35,600 to 41,550, an increase of 16.8 per cent.
Greater Taree’s population will grow by just 5.8 per cent, from 47,950 to 50,650, while the population of Walcha Shire will fall from 3100 to 2800, a drop of 11 per cent.