Will Melbourne’s population overtake Sydney? Maybe in…

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. He has contributed numerous blogs and consulting projects covering economic development, housing consumption and affordability, migration, fertility, ageing, role and function of ‘place’, communities of interest and more. Glenn works with over 120 councils bringing the client perspective into the development of our information products. He is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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6 Responses

  1. Will that also increase the % of total population who live in these two Megapolis’s? These figures present some planning issues for both governments no doubt – I hope they’re as on top of it as you guys are!

  2. Johnny Barnard says:

    Like all of these things, boundaries are important. The NSW State Government seems to see Sydney differently to the ABS. Their metro region in their population forecasts as well as their Greater Sydney Commission do not regard the Central Coast as part of Sydney. If we accepted their view of the world, Melbourne will be larger in 2 or 3 years!

  3. Afiq says:

    Melbourne will be the next biggest city of Australia much faster then projected. I expect it will be before 2030. I believe the property sector in Sydney will crash. When it crash, everybody will wanna go to melbourne.

  4. Will says:

    MELBOURNE POPULATION IS ALREADY BIGGER THAN SYDNEY.
    This is a late comment but I am surprised ‘population experts’ haven’t flagged this.
    Sydney includes North Coast area in its urban population count. But Melbourne does not include Geelong and the Surf Coast in its count although these areas are part of the Melbourne urban sprawl, and closer to Melbourne than the North Coast areas are to Sydney.

    • Hi Will, thanks for the comment. Sydney does not include the “North Coast”, which is usually the term given to the roughly Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour area. Greater Sydney does however include the Central Coast area, with a population of about 330,000, which I assume is what you’re referring to. The Central Coast is more contiguously urban with both Sydney and Newcastle than Geelong is with Melbourne, separated only by the natural barrier of the Hawkesbury River rather than any rural area. It’s also included due to a large share of population working within metropolitan Sydney, while Geelong, though there is some commuting to Melbourne, is more self-contained. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile thought exercise to take Central Coast out, and if we do this we’re left with a Greater Sydney population of right on 4.7 million for 2016. Greater Melbourne’s population is 4.725 million, so just marginally higher.

      But it’s also worth noting that Melbourne’s population includes areas which are equally distant from the city, such as the southern Mornington Peninsula, Warburton and Gisborne. Take these out and Sydney would be larger again. It’s certainly the case that the cities are much closer in population than they were 20 years ago, and it really all depends where you draw the boundaries. There is a case to be made for a Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong metropolis stretching with a nearly contiguous urban area over 300km of coastline, and Melbourne doesn’t have the equivalent of that.

  1. May 19, 2017

    […] second largest city, and not by much. In fact, statistics say that Melbourne’s population will overtake Sydney by 2050. There’s a reason why Melbourne is growing faster than Sydney. For the sixth year in a row it has […]

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