A Gold Coast tourism campaign once urged visitors to "come back and play", but new population data reveals many Australians are instead deciding to stay.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released figures on population changes in the cities and regions between 2011 and 2021, and it shows Queensland's holiday hotspot experienced the biggest boom outside the capitals.
The Gold Coast suburb of Coomera had the largest growth, with 11,500 extra people, while Pimpama had the highest rate of expansion at 600 per cent over the decade.
Regional Australia's residents grew by 832,000, or 11 per cent, while the number of people living in the capitals increased by 2.5 million, or 17 per cent.
Melbourne experienced the largest growth of the capital cities with 806,800 extra people, followed by Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin.
Canberra had the highest growth rate at 23 per cent, while Adelaide had the lowest at 11 per cent.
The latest figures also show the extent of the population boom in Sydney and Melbourne's outer suburbs, which experienced the largest increases among metropolitan regions.
Wollert, in Melbourne's outer north, grew by 24,200 people, while Schofields, in Sydney's northwest, added 22,900 to its population.
The Mickleham and Yuroke region, 26 kilometres north of Melbourne, had the highest growth rate at 1400 per cent, with Sydney's Schofields at 960 per cent, and nearby Kellyville at 880 per cent.
Some mining and outback areas experienced population loss, including Mount Isa in Queensland and Ashburton in Western Australia.
Outback South Australia's population declined by 40 per cent.
The trends are in line with shorter-term figures on population movements released quarterly by the Regional Australia Institute, based on Commonwealth Bank borrowing data.
Its latest report shows the Gold Coast is the most popular place for city dwellers to move, a trend largely driven by millennials attracted to its proximity to Brisbane.
The institute's chief economist Kim Houghton last month said about 20 per cent of the population turns over every five years, based on career, family and lifestyle choices.
"We're a very mobile country by international standards," Dr Houghton said.