Wagga's population continued to grow last year at 1.2 per cent with a surge of new babies outpacing overseas migration as the source of new residents.
The city's northern suburbs recorded the third-highest rate of increase in regional NSW at 4.8 per cent, behind Queanbeyan at 5.7 per cent and Maitland at 6.3 per cent.
A total of 485 births and 332 overseas immigrant arrivals helped Wagga offset the net loss of 300 people to domestic migration.
The population figures were revealed late last week in the new Regional Population Growth report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and compared figures in the 12 months to June 30, 2019 with the 12 months before that.
Committee 4 Wagga chief executive Alan Johnston said the numbers were encouraging but the projections were made before some of the worst months of drought and the bushfires in December and January.
"I think one of the challenges we are going to have with this is: what does it all mean moving forward on the back of the bushfires and the coronavirus on top of things that are being worked on infrastructure-wise for Wagga?" he said.
"The looking forward scenario is probably different to the statistics looking backward.
"We're continuing to look at the medium-to-long term and projects like the Special Activation Precinct [for planning approvals in the Bomen industrial area] are still going on.
"From our view, we are working with the council, business chamber, Women in Business and working on how we can help business connect, survive and then recover."
Junee recorded a 0.9 per cent increase largely due to overseas migration and Temora saw a 0.6 per cent increase fuelled by domestic migration.
The report projected a 0.5 per cent decline in Coolamon and a 0.3 per cent decline in Snowy Valleys.
Snowy Valleys mayor James Hayes said he found the projections to be "far more dire" than reality, and they affected government decisions on where to allocate funding.
"This has been a constant thorn in our side," he said.
"Their forward models always say we are going to depress substantially and this has never happened to the extent that they say.
"The concern there is that we never seem to be able to get the facilities we need to keep our communities growing because the ABS says we are not growing; it's a catch-22."
Cr Hayes said "hard numbers" from school enrolments showed growth and projects like the $50 million Tumut Hospital redevelopment would help further.