© 2015 Taylor & Francis. The economy of Western Australia has long been characterized by a heavy dependence on extractive industries. The past decade, however, has seen the mining industry expand very rapidly, with significant implications for the small towns that support the sector. In this article, we consider the socio-economic performance of these towns through an assessment of unemployment, welfare dependence and incomes. In contrast to many other studies of resource boomtowns that typically focus on a single locality or time period, in this study we focus explicitly on spatial and temporal variability. We examine the ways in which place-specific characteristics - the commodity produced, local economic diversity and basic demographic features of a town - interact and have contributed to change in socio-economic well-being of mining communities across Western Australia over a 10-year period.