Is Perth the most remote city in the world?

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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21 Responses

  1. Simone says:

    Mythbusting – love it!

    I have to admit, I’ve always thought it was a strange claim, and assumed it was related to remoteness due to the large size of the Australian land mass.

  2. Anthony says:

    Back in the days before Perth had a population exceeding 1 million, it used to be said that it was the most isolated/remote capital city. There was no mention of population. I remember hearing this back in the late ’70s or early ’80s.

  3. Perhaps says:

    Similar to Anthony’s point, perhaps it may have been before Auckland’s population reached a million. Hence the most remote city of over a million people would have been Perth till Auckland’s population reached that mark. However, since most people in Australia remembered that fact, no one bothered to update their info. Much like the tag line of Melbourne being the world’s ‘most livable city’. It’s oft repeated but not always reflected in recent surveys.

    • Good thinking – Perth’s population hit 1 million in the late 1970s, while Auckland didn’t get there until about 1993, so it could’ve been at that time. Would’ve been splitting hairs though (but then Auckland’s only slightly more remote than Perth anyway).

  4. Tony says:

    Interesting statistics.
    More can be made from this topic.
    For example, let’s see what major countries can be reached from the respective cities in question by air to further qualify the most remote city status.
    Perth can reach:
    Indonesia 3-4hours.
    Most large S.E. Asian cities within 6 hours.
    Africa 10-11 hours.
    The middle East 10-11hours.
    Most cities on the East coast of Australia within 4.5-5.5 hours.Shorter to Adelaide.

    When I look at this, and look at where you can reach from Auckland within these times, I have to say the Auckland would have to be far more remote than Perth.

    I would conclude that Peth is the most remote Australian city from other capital cities, but I don’t think the “most remote city” in the world is correct.

  5. IAN WALMSLEY says:

    Hang on Glenn, according to Wikipedia, Honolulu has a 2014 population of 350,000. Does that throw a spanner in the works? Where did you get the figure of 953,000?

    • The difference is between the City Limits population and the metropolitan area population. Most US Cities quote their municipal population rather than the greater urban area. The equivalent would be saying that the City of Sydney has a population of 205,000 rather than about 5 million.

      The Wikipedia entry here

      shows the population of the City and the combined urban area – combined urban area is 953,000.

  6. Brendan says:

    I’ve always known it to be the most isolated Capitol city in the world not just city so Perth is the most isolated Capitol city

  7. Dono says:

    The word I used to hear was “isolated” not “remote”. Though similar, isolated refers to more than just distance by sea, road or air, but also to connectedness to the world around it. Maybe Honolulu wins, but it’s more than just miles.

  8. Dono says:

    A quick follow up: Auckland doesn’t count because the capital city (though smaller) is Wellington nearby.

  9. Ryan says:

    If we reduce the population requirement to 100,000 though, Perth DOES become the most isolated city. Honolulu and Auckland have at least moderate sized nearby cities, Perth has nothing.

  10. George says:

    Ryan has a point – and only Glenn is focussed solely on numbers – must be a habit.

    Maybe now consider Perth has the highest % of Brits of any city outside of the UK.

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