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City of Perth Skyline for CHOGM  Pic: Ben Crabtree / The West Australian 04/10/2011 ***FAIRFAX ONLINE AND FINANCIAL REVIEW OUT***
The West Australian City of Perth Skyline for CHOGM Pic: Ben Crabtree / The West Australian 04/10/2011 ***FAIRFAX ONLINE AND FINANCIAL REVIEW OUT***

Perth is a city built on booms and busts.

It's written in the architecture, in the suburbs, in where people can afford to live or where they set down their roots.

And the boom that has transformed Perth over the past decade may be one of the biggest - even surpassing the gold rush of the 1880s and 1890s.

The national census in 2001 and in 2011 cover the most recent boom that has done so much to make WA the nation's wealthiest State.

When the 2001 census was conducted, iron ore was selling for a little over $US20 a tonne.

By the time of the 2011 census, miners were getting about $US160 a tonne.

People talk about Perth's housing boom when prices more than doubled between 2003 and 2008. But iron ore prices climbed eightfold.

A special analysis of the two census by _The Weekend West _has revealed just how much different parts of the city benefited, and missed out, on that boom.

Between 2001 and 2011, the Greater Perth area aged slightly and enjoyed an 84 per cent increase in median household income.

That income gain went towards paying mortgages on those super-priced houses. The median mortgage grew 131 per cent to $2000 a month while rents climbed by 137 per cent to $320 a week.

And in a development mirrored across Australia, the average household size stopped falling through the previous decade - the first time that had occurred since the 1950s.

One of the boom's most obvious impacts on Perth was its population. The city swelled by more than 90 people a day between the two census dates.

But those overall figures cloud some of the dramatic changes that took place in the city's suburbs.

One of the biggest winners of the boom was the Peppermint Grove, Cottesloe, Mosman Park and Dalkeith area. In pure income, no other part of Perth did better.

Almost half of all men in Peppermint Grove and a fifth of the suburb's women had a weekly income of more than $2000 by 2011.

Nationally, just 10 per cent of men and 3 per cent of women banked so much every week.

It greyed faster than the rest of Perth through the boom - perhaps in response to mortgages and rents which soared. The median mortgage in Dalkeith is now $4500 a month.

While divorce and separation rates went up throughout the rest of Perth, the marriage rate in these suburbs increased.

An increase in indigenous Australians across the city was not reflected in this area which is overwhelmingly white while it remains one of the few parts of Perth where Anglicans outnumber other Christian religions.

While the boom's benefits for the people of the western suburbs is clear, it has almost passed by an area just 20km away.

The Balga, Girrawheen and Mirrabooka region enjoyed a collective increase in median incomes through the boom but not of the same order enjoyed elsewhere.

While mortgages more than doubled, wages grew by much less. Balga's median wage is now $934 a week, servicing a median mortgage of $1700 a month.

In Girrawheen, just 3 per cent of the suburb's men take home a pay cheque greater than $2000 a week.

As Perth aged, this area got younger. It has the lowest proportion of people aged over 65 and is a cultural melting pot with large numbers of non-Australian born residents including those from Vietnam, India, Britain and New Zealand.

While still staunchly Catholic, these three suburbs experienced an explosion in Buddhists and Muslims.

Nearly one in five residents in Mirrabooka now professes faith in Islam, double the level of 2001.

One of the parts of the city most changed by the boom was central Perth.

The median age fell across central Perth and areas such as Mt Lawley as young workers moved in and retirees found themselves priced out.

In Perth, the average age plummeted by five years, to 32 from 37.

And through the boom these people abandoned their cars to get to work. People have taken to the streets, either walking or riding their bikes while large numbers hop on a bus.

Inner Perth became more white collar through the boom, with between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of residents now managers or professionals - a jump of up to 20 per cent through the boom.

At the same time, Perth is the largest mining employer in the country without an open cut in sight.

People talk about Perth's housing boom but iron ore prices climbed eightfold."