THE Bass Coast Shire’s population, according to the 2016 Census, is now 32,804, up from 29,614 in 2011, or an increase of 10.8 per cent over the five years.

It’s hardly a stellar growth rate but represents a pleasing increase of 2%-plus per year, well ahead of neighbour South Gippsland (up 5.5% from 27,208 to 28,703) but below both Baw Baw 13% and Cardinia 26.9%.

Wonthaggi’s population is a little harder to estimate, because the town is split in three for the purposes of the Census; Wonthaggi (area south of White Road), North Wonthaggi (north of White Road) and South Dudley.

The population of each is as follows: Wonthaggi 4965 (was 4354), Wonthaggi North 2806 (was 2525) and South Dudley 461 (was 298) for a total Wonthaggi population of 8232 (up from 7277); a rise of 13.1% which is actually ahead of the growth rate across Baw Baw Shire (Warragul etc).

Despite there being only 217 dwellings in South Dudley, the shire has asked that the ABS keep South Dudley and North Wonthaggi separate from Wonthaggi in the data collection so they can measure where population growth is happening within Wonthaggi, according to the council’s General Manager Healthy Communities and Governance, David Elder.

“Only limited information has so far come from the Census but we will have a full dataset come September,” he said.

“We have updated our website with the 2016 Census data, and will use the latest information available going forward.”

Here’s a snapshot of statistics in Wonthaggi

* 41.2% own their own home outright (state average 32.3%)

* 37% of the population is aged 50-74 (30% Wonthaggi North)

* 1.2% of the population is indigenous

* The divorce rate at 9.9% is slightly higher than the state average (7.9%)

* 65.1% have both parents born in Australia (state av. 44.1%)

* Weekly household income is $944 (state av. $1419)

* Rents are and average of $240 (state av. $325)

* The average number of people per household is 4.1 (state av. 3)