Planning for a population that doesn't exist yet


Case Studies

The Client

Murray Shire

The Challenge

Understand and plan for the future population of an unbuilt growth area.


Analysis of comparable growth areas in combination with existing and revised population forecasts for the area.


A clear picture of the likely demographic make up and needs of the future population that will inform planning decisions, such as the requirement for new primary school developments.

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Murray Shire engaged .id’s demographic experts to help understand future population change in a local growth area what this would mean in terms of demand for primary schools.

A key question identified was around the demand for new primary schools. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage/WA Planning Commission recommends development of one primary school for every 1,500 dwellings. We wanted to establish a more specific view on this based on the area’s likely demographic characteristics (in this case, the likely primary-school–age population) over time.


We reviewed the development of comparable areas, including greenfield growth areas, medium-density neighbourhoods and urban infill areas, creating 18 case studies of population, household composition, age structure and dwelling size. This analysis resulted in a clear picture of how an area’s dwelling stock, likely housing market take-up and its role and function influences demographic characteristics.

Murray Shire were already subscribing to our Population Forecast, which was revised in light of the development plans for the area. This included analysis of:

  • Net migration by age

  • Household composition

  • Primary school-aged population (2020–2051)

Combining the population forecasts with likely scenarios based on our analysis of comparable areas development allowed us to create a clear view of the development of this area over time and a better understanding of likely demand for primary schools.


This project established a clear, data-led view of the likely demographic composition of the area over time. It also demonstrated how expected future housing stock and likely household types would influence demand for primary school facilities. Included was a detailed view of primary school demand from 2020–2051 (the expected development period) and beyond.

This, in turn, resulted in recommendations regarding the total number of new primary schools required for the anticipated population, allowing Council to plan for allocation of land and other associated resources.

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