THE numbers may not be huge, but Leeton's population is growing compared to others in the region where numbers are dropping.
Recent data that has been released for 2018 and 2019 shows Leeton had a 0.2 per cent increase in its population over the 12-month period, welcoming 20 new residents to the shire.
In 2018 there were 11,425 people living in shire and in 2019 that number quietly rose to 11,445.
While the figures may seem modest, Leeton shire is tracking well when compared to other regional towns.
Many shires such as Bland, Coolamon, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Lockhart and Narrandera all experienced a decline in numbers.
The figures show the key driver of Leeton's population increase is its own natural increase - that is, growth driven by local births less local deaths.
Net overseas migration has also played a significant role in growing the size of the Leeton shire community.
Leeton Shire Council director, business and investment Brendan Leary said what marks out Leeton as different is the strong rate of natural increase, which is more than twice as strong as seen in any of these similar centres.
"While these figures underline Leeton is a great place to grow your family, council certainly sees no room for complacency given the challenges we face now," he said.
"We still see many residents leave to pursue opportunities elsewhere, (but) we are looking to do more to make it easier to stay and harder to leave.
"We also appreciate the significantly larger centres of the region (Wagga and Griffith) enjoyed much stronger rates of growth.
"We see this as a sign that if we close the gap on availability and depth of services in town, we will be closer to our goal of a prosperous community, full of diverse opportunities."
The figures next year will also provide an update on what direction the shire is headed in.
With 2020 throwing up a year of vast challenges, including COVID-19, the ongoing drought and related job losses to both of these factors, it will be interesting to see what direction the numbers head in.
However, Mr Leary said he didn't expect there to be too much difference.
"We wouldn't expect job losses to significantly affect the natural increase in the local population - unless we see signs of young families (those bringing new children into the world) start losing their jobs and moving elsewhere," he said.
While these figures underline Leeton is a great place to grow your family, council certainly sees no room for complacency given the challenges we face now.Leeton Shire Council director, business and investment Brendan Leary
"It is also worth reflecting on the potential impacts from Coronavirus and social distancing measures.
"Australia's borders are now closed to outsiders, meaning Leeton shire's net overseas migration this year probably won't be as strong as has been the case last year.
"Whatever the short-term effects prove to be, council will always continue to look for ways to make Leeton shire an even better place to live, work and play in."