One of the most striking statistics in Illawarra-Shoalhaven Medicare Local's Population Health Profile: 2013 is the extent of homelessness in the region.
In Wollongong, homelessness increased by 84.8 per cent between 2006 and 2011. In Kiama and Shellharbour the increase was 80.4 per cent. Across the region as a whole the number increased by 66.2 per cent.
The statewide increase during the same period was 26.9 per cent and nationally it was just 17.3 per cent.
While that figure is alarming, the numbers that will have the biggest impact are the population projections.
The Illawarra-Shoalhaven is predicted to grow from 384,144 in 2011 to 421,830 in 2021.
Wollongong is tipped to grow from 201,215 to 215,720; Shellharbour from 66,054 to 72,280; Kiama from 20,832 to 22,150; and the Shoalhaven from 96,043 to 111,680.
The number of people aged 65 and over will grow by 35 per cent in that decade and the number aged 85 and over by 50.4 per cent, putting an enormous strain on healthcare resources.
One of the study's surprise findings, said lead author Abhijeet Ghosh, was the relatively large number of Aboriginal people in Shellharbour (3 per cent compared to the state average of 2.5 per cent).
Knowing that will help when it comes to allocating resources.
"The hospitalisation rate for the indigenous population is quite a bit higher than for the non-indigenous population across all the indicators - alcohol attributed hospitalisations, smoking, endocrine diseases, mental and behavioural disorders," Mr Ghosh said.
Other socio-economic factors affecting the health outlook of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven include the unemployment rate and the number of low-income households.
Unemployment has been consistently higher, and workforce participation lower than state and national averages, and far more low income houses (46.1 per cent) than state (38.9 per cent) and national (38.0 per cent) figures.
At a glance