MAP: Toowoomba's richest and poorest suburbs
THE gap between the Toowoomba Region's richest and poorest residents is growing wider, according to the latest Census data.
The newest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics paint a contrasting picture depending on where you live, with the Garden City's southern and western suburbs exploding in wealth and prosperity while inner areas struggle.
While the income of Toowoomba's wealthiest suburb or town Hodgson Vale grew 31% in the past five years, income in the poorest, Harlaxton, grew only 6%.
The biggest movers in average household wealth included traditionally up-market suburbs like East Toowoomba, which also lost eight per cent of its population, along with new areas like Prince Henry Heights and Westbrook.
Traditional lower and middle-class suburbs like Harlaxton, Darling Heights and Wilsonton struggled to grow in wealth.
Meanwhile, Glenvale, Middle Ridge, Wyreema, Kearneys Spring and Cranley experienced strong population growth in the past five years - an outcome reflected by the heavy housing development in western Toowoomba.
USQ Regional Community Development Professor Jim Cavaye said the figures were indicative of Toowoomba's growth in population and wealth and could not just be attributed to standard factors.
"It shows that Toowoomba is growing and it's a major regional city," he said.
"That growth can't be explained from natural growth; it's driven by migration.
"It may be, between 2011 and 2016, that the infrastructure development is driving that.
"We've got all the work at Charlton, Wellcamp and the Second Range Crossing, so some of that development would have been factored in."
Prof Cavaye said Toowoomba would continue to expand outwards, meaning more pressure would be placed on infrastructure investment.
"It raises a lot of issues about infrastructure, like schools, hospitals, sewerage - it's important that they keep pace with the growing population, particularly with the outer areas," he said.
"I'm not saying it's being done badly, but it's an important issue that we need to continue to address."
Westbrook and Middle Ridge were statistically among Toowoomba's richest suburbs, with median incomes above $2000.
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RICH AND POOR
The three richest suburbs (based on median weekly income) were:
Hodgson Vale ($2304, up 31%)
Prince Henry Heights ($2285, up 26%)
Preston ($2180, up 35%)
The three poorest suburbs were:
Harlaxton ($925, up 6%)
Toowoomba City ($951, up 25%)
Harristown ($975, up 17%)
Strongest population growth
Cranley (1446 people, up 70%)
Wyreema (1834, up 47%)
Top Camp (852, up 27%)
Cambooya (1584, up 22%)
Westbrook (3885, up 18%)
Weakest population growth
Preston (614, down 20%)
East Toowoomba (5244, down 8%)
Harlaxton (2547, down 5%)
Wilsonton Heights (2669, down 5%)
North Toowoomba (2953, down 3%)
NOTE: SUBURBS WITH POPULATIONS BELOW 500 WERE NOT INCLUDED