Sydney’s population is set to top 5 million in the next year, after the city gained a record 84,230 people in 2013-14.
The state’s ten largest growth areas last financial year were all in the Sydney metropolitan area, as the city absorbed 77 per cent of NSW’s population increase.
The population of Greater Sydney, which includes the Blue Mountains and Central Coast, reached 4.84 million at the end of June 2014 and, on current trends, will climb above 5 million in April 2016.
The Bureau of Statistics’s latest population estimates said the Parklea-Kellyville Ridge neighbourhood in Sydney’s north-west growth corridor had the state’s largest growth in 2013-14, increasing by 2700 people. Waterloo-Beaconsfield in the inner-south experienced the second largest population increase, of 2000. The Cobbitty-Leppington area in south-western Sydney was the fastest growing area (19 per cent) followed by Parklea-Kellyville Ridge (up by 9.4 per cent).
Eight of the ten most densely populated neighbourhoods in Australia are in inner-Sydney. Pyrmont-Ultimo topped that list with 15,000 people a square kilometre, followed by Potts Point-Woolloomooloo (13,700), Darlinghurst (13,400) and Surry Hills (13,300).
The population of Springwood-Winmalee in the Blue Mountains, which was devastated by bushfires in late 2013, was one of a handful of neighbourhood populations in Greater Sydney to decline. Its population fell by 80.
The flow of people leaving Sydney for other parts of Australia – 14,900 in 2013-14 – was higher than other capitals. But that was well down on the loss of 25,000 in 2011-12.
“There has been a slowdown in people moving out of Sydney,” said bureau of statistics demographer Andrew Howe.
While Sydney will be Australia’s first city to reach the 5 million mark, Melbourne is closing the population gap. It had the largest population growth of all capitals last financial year, increasing by 95,700 people – or 1800 people a week – to reach 4.4 million. The bureau’s projections have Melbourne overtaking Sydney as Australia’s biggest city in 2056. By then both cities will be home to more than 8 million people.
But neither city can lay claim to being the fastest-growing capital in Australia. That title is currently held by Perth, which grew by 2.5 per cent in 2013-14, to become our fourth capital city to hit 2 million people
Capital cities accounted for almost 80 per cent of Australia’s population growth in 2013-14. Seven of the country’s top 10 growth areas were in the outer suburbs of Greater Melbourne.
The bureau said the geographic centre of Sydney’s population was at the suburb of Ermington, near the Parramatta River not far from Olympic Park.
Sydney’s previous population growth record – 84,037 people in 2007-08 – was during a period of very high overseas migration. Andrew Howe said the city had relied less on its overseas migration intake to reach the 2013-14 record.
The population of NSW grew by 109,100 last financial year to 7.52 million.
The Hunter Valley region had the largest and fastest growth rate outside of Greater Sydney. Some large regional towns including Orange, Griffith, Albury and Wagga Wagga experienced solid growth but populations dropped in many rural areas. The biggest falls were in Narrandera in the Riverina, the Moree region and the Inverell region.