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The topics in this theme describe the key drivers of human caused change in the environment - population growth and economic trends. Growth in population is the main driver that is presenting challenges to maintain the condition of the environment.


The NSW population continues to increase; between 2012 and 2017 the annual average growth rate was 1.5%. Population growth is a key driver of human-caused changes to the environment.

Graphic of NSW with dots denoting towns and cities

The NSW population grew by

Grey Up


people on average each year from 2012 to 2017

Economic Activity and the Environment

The NSW economy is shifting to a less resource-intensive, service-based economy.

Service economy graphic

Service-based economy

Grey Up


of the NSW economy is service-based