Key Statistics

Area: 11,325.89 sq km

Population: 3,599

Unemployment: 5.0%

Participation Rate: 57.7%

Median Taxable Income: $32,815 p.a.

Hay Regional Profile

The main regional centre in the Hay Shire is Hay which is a regional town situated 720 km west of Sydney, via the Great and Mid Western Highways.

In 2001 the population of the Hay Shire was 3,599. Most population growth since 1996 has been in the number of people aged over 40.

There are around 1,594 people in the workforce in the Hay Shire, of which 64% work full-time and 27% work part-time. At the time of the last census 5% of residents were unemployed.

Two of the largest employers in the Hay Shire are the agriculture (30.5%) and retail (12.9%) industries. The median taxable income for the Hay Shire is approximately $631 per week.


Age Distribution

Between 1996 and 2001 Hay Shire experienced a decline in population of 9.1%.

The decline in population was driven by a large reduction in the number of people under 40 years of age. Growth in most older demographics offset some of this decline.

Hay Shire has a population distribution close to the state and regional averages, however it has a slightly lower number in the 15-24 age group.

Fifty-one percent of the Shires population are in the prime working age group (25-64 years).


The median taxable income for the Hay Shire is approximately $631 per week. This is below the average for the Riverina as a whole.

The highest proportion of residents in the Hay Shire (13.3%) earn between $200 and $299 per week.

Average weekly income for females is lower than that of males

Indigenous Profile

Indigenous Persons

Indigenous persons account for 3.4% of the total population in the Hay Shire. This is slightly higher than the average for the Riverina region (3.3%) and NSW (2%).

While the total population of Hay Shire seems to be ageing, the indigenous population is heavily skewed towards younger age groups with over 53% aged under 20 years compared to 30% of the non-indigenous population.

Labour Force

Indigenous unemployment is higher in the Hay Shire than the averages for either the Riverina or NSW.

The level of unemployment for females is almost 10% higher than that of males, which is unusual given that males tend to have the higher rate.

The average unemployment rate of indigenous persons in the Hay Shire (23.8%) is more than four times the unemployment rate for the total population (5.0%).


Level of Education

The most common form of post-school qualification completed by Hay residents is a certificate (9.3%).

Males tend to pursue certificate qualifications, while females are evenly spread across certificates and bachelor qualifications.

Hay is below the regional and state averages for each type of qualification except in diploma qualifications.

Field of Education

The most common fields of study in the Hay Shire are engineering, agriculture and health.

Engineering and agriculture are the most common fields of study for males. Females tend to move into the health, education and management fields

These trends are similar to those of the Riverina region and NSW as a whole.


Industry Performance

Industry growth due to local factors was strongest in the manufacturing (31 jobs created between 1996 and 2001) and wholesale trade (24 jobs) industries. This is a positive result for the region as growth in the manufacturing industry generates economic activity that flows on to other industries in the region.


Employment by Occupation

Employment in the Hay Shire is concentrated in managers and administrators occupations as well as labourers occupations.

These occupations are common due to the dominance of the agriculture industry in the Shire, farm owners are classified as managers.

Males are mostly employed as managers and tradespersons while females tend to be employed in clerical, managerial or professional occupations.

Hay has a high proportion of labourers and related workers compared to NSW and the Riverina.


Internet Use

Over 24% of residents in the Hay Shire use the Internet, with most use occurring in the home.

The level of use of the Internet for females is slightly higher than that of males (25% and 23% respectively).

Only 0.2% of people aged over 65 use the Internet with highest use in the prime working age bracket (25-64 years).


Labour Force Status

The average rate of unemployment in the Hay Shire is 5.0% with a participation rate of 57.7%.

The Hay Shire experienced a decline in the number employed of 2.1% between 1996 and 2001. This was despite an average rate of growth for the Riverina of 4.0%.

Female unemployment is higher in all age groups up to 54 years of age. This is unusual as males tend to have the higher unemployment rate.

Employment Trend

Agriculture has remained the largest employer in the Hay Shire since 1991.

The largest increase in employment since 1991 occurred in the government administration and defence sector. The largest decrease occurred in the construction industry.

In 2001 both males and females were most commonly employed in the agriculture and retail sectors.

Building Approvals

The total value of building approvals in the Hay Shire in 2002 was $1.4 million. The average price of building approvals was $151,000.

The value of residential building approvals grew by 37% p.a. between 1998 and 2002. This is lower than the average growth of 55% for NSW and the Riverina (43.7%).

The building market in Hay appears to be extremely volatile and does not seem to follow the trends of the Riverina region. This volatility can be attributed to local factors and a small population base.