Queensland - Cairns SA4 region

Cairns SA4 is forecast to grow from 257,149 to 322,712 by 2046, an increase of 65,563 people throughout the forecast period. As Queensland's fourth largest city, Cairns is forecast to experience significant greenfield growth contributing to its fast expanding population.

Version 5.1.0 Published 21st June 2023

2023 Population forecast data for the Cairns SA4 is now available

Purchase a one-off forecast report for a custom catchment or contact our team for a quote to access the complete dataset.



Insights behind our population and dwellings forecasts for Cairns SA4

Key Findings

The population of Cairns SA4 in 2021 was 257,149. Forecast to grow by 65,563, the population is set to reach 322,712 persons by 2046, accounting for 3.2% of Queensland's population growth over the forecast period.

  • The number of dwellings in Cairns SA4 is forecast to grow from 115,389 in 2021 to 143,771 in 2046, an additional 28,382 dwellings.
  • Gordonvale - Trinity SA2 (13,169), Edmonton SA2 (8,568), and Trinity Beach - Smithfield SA2 (6,842) are forecast to contribute the largest share of population growth combined, accounting for 43.6% of Cairn's SA4's total population growth to 2046, or 20.1%, 13.1% and 10.4% respectively.
  • The majority of the region's dwelling growth is attributed also to Gordonvale - Trinity SA2 (5,186), Edmonton SA2 (3,014), and Trinity Beach - Smithfield SA2 (2,819), with a combined contribution of 38.8% or 18.3%, 10.6%, and 9.9% respectively.
  • No SA2s of significant population are forecast to decline in population over the forecast period, with the smallest growth forecast in Brinsmead SA2 (157 persons).

Read on below for charts, maps and tables sharing the forecast results at SA2 geography. 


Geography and the role and function of place

Located in Far North Queensland, the Cairns SA4 region is made up of 33 SA2s, and is situated about 1700km from Brisbane CBD and 350km from Townsville CBD. Characterised by its tropical climate, Cairns is enjoying an increasingly diversifying economy, attracting a large range of demographics.

Historically, Cairns has played an immense role in Queensland's tourism sector, attracting both Australian and international tourists, especially those from Japan, to it's balmy, tropical shores. However, as its economy continues to diversify, an increasing number of Australian and international migrants are settling in Cairns for the long-term. The most northern point of the SA4 lies Daintree SA2, home to the world's oldest rainforest. Mossman is it's closest population hub, expected to experience notable population growth of just under 1000 people over the forecast period. South, in the skinny neck of the SA4, lies Port Douglas, a famous tourist destination. The thick of the region is centred around Cairns CBD, a fast growing hub with abundant land supply which trails south towards Mount Peter. Gordonvale - Trinity SA2 is the regions fastest growing area, home to the large Mount Peter estate along with various other growth areas. Cairns SA4 is forecast to experience the most growth in its number of young families and people over the age of 70 over the forecast period.

In terms of transport, the region benefits from a passenger bus service which connects a large proportion Cairn's population, reaching from Palm Cove to as south as Gordonvale. West of Cairns and rural suburbs must rely on private transportation.


Cairns SA4 Forecast Results




National and State population forecast

A new census cycle means new 2021 ‘Tops-Down’ national to state to SA4 forecasts based on up-to-date macro-level population and economic assumptions. For more information on our ‘Tops-Down’ forecast assumptions and results, read our National and State Population Forecast Review.

SAFi Review

Commentary and analysis from our specialist team of population forecasters.

Meet the full team →

Johnny Barnard

Johnny Barnard

Population forecasting lead
Darren Thomas

Darren Thomas

Land Supply Lead

John O'Leary

Forecast modelling

Ben Saines

Land use research

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Public resources for local areas

Find resources for other parts of Queensland and Australia via our demographic resource centre.

Your questions answered

Do you have a question about our forecasts, our assumptions or about the Cairns SA4 Region? You can submit a question to our team by emailing locationdecisions@id.com.au

Request a copy of our forecast data for the Cairns SA4 Region.