Population, society and economy in multifunctional rural Australia: current directions, future implications

Professor Neil Argent

Geography and Planning, University of New England, Armidale, NSW


Drawing on a series of recent research projects this seminar examines long-wave changes (1950s to the present) in the defining demographic features of south-eastern rural Australia, broadly disaggregated by mode of occupance (Holmes, 2006) and relative position in the urban hierarchy. Honing in on the three vital drivers of population change – mortality, fertility and migration – the analysis charts the separate but related contribution of each to the shifting population structures found in contemporary rural Australia at highly local and broader regional scales. Noting a long-term decline in the capacity of most rural localities and regions to rejuvenate themselves, the seminar discusses some of the likely consequences of these dynamics for the future of rural Australia, and suggests some planning responses.     


Holmes, J. 2006 Impulses towards a multifunctional transition in rural Australia: Gaps in the research agenda, Journal of Rural Studies 22, pp. 142-160.



Neil's research interests centre on understanding the factors and processes driving change in rural communities. He is particularly keen on investigating the role of migration – especially city to rural migration and youth out-migration from rural areas – in changing the social and demographic make-up of rural communities. He also has a strong interest in social theory, especially as it relates to our understandings of space and place, and the key roles each plays within our lives.


309, Steele Building (#3), St Lucia Campus