Demographics of Sydney

Last updated

Map of the median age of Sydney residents by Postal Area in the 2011 census Australian Census 2011 demographic map - Inner Sydney by POA - BCP field 0109 Median age of persons.svg
Map of the median age of Sydney residents by Postal Area in the 2011 census

Sydney is Australia's most populous city, and is also the most populous city in Oceania. In the 2016 census, 5,005,400 persons declared themselves as residents of the Sydney Statistical Division about one-fifth (19.41%) of Australia's total population. With a population density of 2037 people per square kilometer the urban core has population density five times that of the greater region. [1] [2]

Sydney City in New South Wales, Australia

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Oceania Geographic region comprising Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia

Oceania is a geographic region which includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania covers an area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and has a population of 40 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.


Sydney is the most densely populated city in Australia. It's also the busiest city in Australia. The median age of Sydney residents was 35 years, and households comprised an average of 2.7 members. [3] [4]


population by year
17962,953 [5]
1911629,503 [6]

European settlement in Sydney began in 1788, and in 1800 Sydney had around 3,000 non-indigenous inhabitants. It took time for the city's population to growin 1851 its population was only 39,000, compared with 77,000 in Melbourne. The subsequent gold rushes in Victoria caused the population of Melbourne to increase rapidly, while the lesser gold rushes in New South Wales had a less profound effect on the population of Sydney.

Melbourne City in Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2 (3,858.1 sq mi), comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, and is also the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley. It has a population of approximately 5 million, and its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians".

Victorian gold rush

The Victorian gold rush was a period in the history of Victoria, Australia approximately between 1851 and the late 1860s. It led to a period of extreme prosperity for the Australian colony, and an influx of population growth and financial capital for Melbourne, which was dubbed "Marvellous Melbourne" as a result of the procurement of wealth.

Sydney overtook Melbourne as Australia's most populous city in the early twentieth century, and reached the million inhabitants milestone around 1925. The opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge helped pave the way for further urban development north of Sydney Harbour. Post-war immigration and a baby boom helped the population reach two million by 1962. Sydney remained Australia's most populous city throughout the 20th century, and is projected to retain this position for much of the 21st century. [7]

Sydney Harbour Bridge bridge across Sydney Harbour in Australia

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a heritage-listed steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The dramatic view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of Sydney, and Australia itself. The bridge is nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its arch-based design.

Baby boom period marked by a significant increase of birth rate

A baby boom is a period marked by a significant increase of birth rate. This demographic phenomenon is usually ascribed within certain geographical bounds. People born during these periods are often called baby boomers; however, some experts distinguish between those born during such demographic baby booms and those who identify with the overlapping cultural generations. The causes of baby booms involves various fertility factors. The most well-known baby boom occurred in middle of twentieth century, beginning in late 1930s or early 1940s and ending in 1960s. It was a change of trend that was largely unexpected, because in most countries it occurred in the midst of a period of improving economies and rising living standards.

At the June 2016 Australian census, Sydney's population reached 5 million people. [1]


Sydney is particularly noted for its low population density, due to its history. Surrounded by land that was considered unowned by the city's founders, early Sydney enjoyed relatively low land values. Coupled with successive governments' willingness to release new land on the city's outskirts for further development, this history has given Sydney a low-density self-image. [8] [9]

Population density A measurement of population numbers per unit area or volume

Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term. In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.

Urban consolidation describes the policy of constraining further development and population growth to within the boundaries of preexisting urban areas rather than expanding outward into suburban areas. Urban consolidation seeks to increase the population density of a given urban area by expanding upward, redeveloping preexisting buildings and lots, and constructing new facilities in available spaces. It is theorized that discouraging urban sprawl and encouraging further development of housing units in preexisting urban areas will lead to a net gain in social and economic prosperity.


Significant overseas-born populations [10] [11]
Country of birthPopulation (2016)
United Kingdom151,684
New Zealand86,526
South Korea49,508
Hong Kong40,577
South Africa35,313

38.2% of people in Sydney speak a language other than English at home with Mandarin (4.7%), Arabic (4.0%), Cantonese (2.9%), Vietnamese (2.1%) and Greek (1.6%) the most widely spoken. [12]

There were 54,746 people of indigenous heritage living in Sydney in 2011. [13] Most immigrants to Sydney between 1840 and 1930 were British, Irish or Chinese. There were significant clusters of people based on nationality or religion throughout the history of Sydney development. In the early 20th century Irish people were centred in Surry Hills, the Scottish in Paddington.

At the 2016 census, Sydney's most common ancestries as a proportion of persons who nominated their ancestry were English (27%), Australian (25%), Chinese (10.8%), Irish (9.2%), Scottish (6.8%), Italian (4.5%) and Indian (4.3%). [14] [15]

Foreign countries of birth with the greatest representation are Mainland China, England, India, New Zealand, Vietnam and the Philippines. [16]

At the 2016 census, there were 2,071,872 people living in Sydney that were born overseas, accounting for 42.9% of the population Sydney, [17] above New York City (36 percent), Paris (25 percent), Berlin (13 percent) and Tokyo (2 percent). Only 33.1% of the population had both parents born in Australia. [18]

Sydney has been a hub of a number of migrant communities, such as the Lebanese, Fijian, Korean and Nepalese. [19] Well over half of Australia's 25,000-strong Nepalese community, [20] for example, is concentrated in Sydney. [21] Seven out of every ten Lebanese migrants in Australia live in Sydney. [19] The Ghanaian community has been noted as being quite visible in Sydney, with the number of Ghanaian churches being unusually large considering the relatively small number of Ghanaians in Australia. [22] Furthermore, the suburb of Fairfield in the Greater Western Sydney area, is an ethnic enclave of Assyrian Christians, [23] where they are the largest ethnic group in the suburb and also in the surrounding areas of Fairfield Heights, Prairiewood and Greenfield Park. [24]

Each dot indicates 100 persons born in Britain (dark blue), Greece (light blue), China (red), India (brown), Vietnam (yellow), Philippines (pink), Italy (light green) and Lebanon (dark green). Based on 2006 Census Sydney CoB dots.png
Each dot indicates 100 persons born in Britain (dark blue), Greece (light blue), China (red), India (brown), Vietnam (yellow), Philippines (pink), Italy (light green) and Lebanon (dark green). Based on 2006 Census

The most common languages spoken at home are English (the sole language of 60.8% of the population), Arabic (spoken by 4.4%), Cantonese (3.4%), Mandarin (2.6%), Greek (2.2%) and Vietnamese (2.0%). [25]

Most common ancestries of
Sydney urban area (2016) [26]
English 1,220,14525.3
Australian 1,133,98523.5
Chinese 487,97610.1
Irish 416,6428.6
Scottish 307,4606.4
Italian 204,1604.2
Indian 194,0184.0
Lebanese 160,3723.3
German 122,9012.5
Greek 117,7142.4
Total population4,823,994


Monks crossing a street in The Rocks Monks at The Rocks, Sydney.jpg
Monks crossing a street in The Rocks

At the 2006 Census, the most common responses for religion were Catholic (29.2%), Anglican (16.5%), Eastern Orthodox (4.8%) and Islam (4.4%). 14.1% declared no religious affiliation. [25] 10.4% left the question blank, 3.7% were Buddhists, 1.7% were Hindu, 0.9% were Jewish.

The 2011 Census most common responses were Catholic, (28.3%), Anglican (14.7%), Islam (5.3%) and Eastern Orthodox (4.6%). 17.5% declared no religion. [27]

In 2016, the most common responses for religion in Greater Sydney were Catholic 25.1%, No Religion, so described 24.6%, Anglican 12.0%, Not stated 8.8% and Islam 5.3%. [28]

See also

Related Research Articles

Brooklyn, Victoria Suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Brooklyn is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 10 km west of Melbourne's Central Business District, located within the Cities of Brimbank and Hobsons Bay local government areas. Brooklyn recorded a population of 1,856 at the 2016 Census.

Narrogin, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Narrogin is a large town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 192 kilometres (119 mi) southeast of Perth on the Great Southern Highway between Pingelly and Wagin. In the age of steam engines, Narrogin was one of the largest railway operation hubs in the southern part of Western Australia.

Beckenham, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

Beckenham is a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, located within the City of Gosnells.

Hillbank, South Australia Suburb of Adelaide, South Australia

Hillbank is a residential suburb of the City of Playford in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. It contains such features as Jo Gapper Regional Park, Hillbank Childcare Centre, Elizabeth Pistol Club and an On The Run petrol station.

Winnaleah Town in Tasmania, Australia

Winnaleah is a town in the north-east of Tasmania, Australia, in the Dorset Council local government area. Local attractions include a swimming pool, a Post Office, Hotel, Produce Store, District High School, Church, Community Shop and a Memorial ANZAC Bell. As of 2016 it had a population of 225 people.

Wambaya is a Non-Pama-Nyungan West Barkly Australian language of the Mirndi language group that is spoken in the Barkly Tableland of the Northern Territory, Australia. Wambaya and the other members of the West Barkly languages are somewhat unusual in that they are suffixing languages, unlike most Non-Pama-Nyungan languages which are prefixing.

City of Kalamunda Local government area in Western Australia

The City of Kalamunda is a local government area in the eastern metropolitan region of the Western Australian capital city of Perth about 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) east of Perth's central business district. The city covers an area of 324.2 square kilometres (125.2 sq mi), much of which is state forest rising into the Darling Scarp to the east. According to the 2016 Census, the city recorded a population of 57,449 people.

Huntingfield, Tasmania Suburb of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Huntingfield is an outer suburb of the greater Hobart area, bordering Blackmans Bay and Kingston. The area was created in the late 1980s. Located in Huntingfield are Tarremah Steiner School, St Aloysius Catholic College and Kingborough Family Church. In 2017 its houses were the fastest selling in Australia, which was attributed to reasonable prices, and a good range of services.

Rupanyup Town in Victoria, Australia

Rupanyup is a small town in rural Victoria, Australia. As of the 2016 census, it had a population of 536. The name Rupanyup is an Aboriginal word meaning 'branch hanging over water'.

Yambuk Town in Victoria, Australia

Yambuk is a town in Victoria, Australia.

Elizabeth Vale, South Australia Suburb of Adelaide, South Australia

Elizabeth Vale is a suburb in the northern extent of Adelaide, South Australia. It was established in 1955. Its main roads are Main North Road to the east and John Rice Avenue which bisects the suburb. The southern boundary is the northern bank of the Little Para River.

Indian Australians are Australians of Indian descent or heritage. This includes both those who are Australian by birth, and those born in India or elsewhere in the Indian diaspora. They are one of the fastest growing communities in Australia today.

Demographics of Melbourne

Melbourne is Australia's second largest city and has a diverse and multicultural population.

Hollands Landing Town in Victoria, Australia

Hollands Landing is a village in central Gippsland, Victoria, Australia in the Shire of Wellington.

Bindi Bindi, Western Australia Town in Western Australia

Bindi Bindi is a small town located between Moora and Wongan Hills in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. It has a population of 72. The town originated as a Western Australian Government Railways siding and was gazetted in 1947. The name is Aboriginal in origin and is the word for stick or skewer on which a coat is hung. The doubling of the word is to indicate many of them.

Elizabeth East is a northern suburb of Adelaide, South Australia in the City of Playford.

Tragowel, Victoria Town in Victoria, Australia

Tragowel is a small town in the Wimmera region of Western Victoria, Australia. The town is located 267 kilometres (166 mi) north-west of the state capital, Melbourne.

Brisbane is the capital of and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that the population of Greater Brisbane is 2,462,637 as of June 2018, and the South East Queensland region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.6 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River, about 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range, sprawling across several of Australia's most populous local government areas (LGAs), most centrally the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is Brisbanite.

Elizabeth Hills, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Elizabeth Hills is a suburb of western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 39 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Liverpool. Elizabeth Hills was gazetted as a suburb on 18 December 2009. Like the neighbouring suburb of Len Waters Estate, Elizabeth Hills had previously been part of the suburb of Cecil Hills.

Munro, Victoria Town in Victoria, Australia

Munro is a town in Victoria, Australia, located on Munro - Stockdale Road, just north of the Princes Highway eleven kilometres east of Straford, in the Shire of Wellington.


  1. 1 2 "Sydney population hits 5 million". Australian Bureau of Statistics . 30 March 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  2. "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2014–15: Media Release Sydney on target to Take Five". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  3. "National Regional Profile: Sydney (Statistical Division)". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. "2032.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Australia in Profile -- A Regional Analysis, 2001", Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004-01-16
  5. "3105.0.65.001 - Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2006". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2011.Table 1. Population by sex, states and territories, 31 December 1788 onwards
  6. "Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2008". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  7. "3222.0 – Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  8. Forster 1995.
  9. 1217.0.55.001 - Glossary of Statistical Geography Terminology, 2003 , Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003
  13. "2016 Census QuickStats: Greater Sydney". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  19. 1 2 "2016 Census Community Profiles - Greater Sydney". Australian Bureau of Statistics . Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  20. "People in Australia who were born in Nepal". Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  21. "People in Greater Sydney who were born in Nepal". Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  22. "Patriotic to a fault". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  23. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Fairfield (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 June 2017. Blue pencil.svg
  24. B. Furze, P. Savy, R. Brym, J. Lie, Sociology in Today's World, 2008, p. 349
  25. 1 2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Sydney (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 November 2011. Map
  26. "2016 Census Community Profiles". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  28. "2016 Census QuickStats Greater Sydney". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Government. 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017.,