Melbourne hits the 5 million people milestone today

Today is a very special day for Melbourne. 

Melbourne, Australia

No it’s not the AFL Grand Final (a religious holiday) or the Melbourne Cup (another religious holiday), but Monday 27 August 2018 is the day our population is forecast to reach 5,000,000 people

Leading demographer Malcolm McCrindle says that only is Melbourne Australia’s fastest growing city, but Victoria is Australia’s fastest growing state.

According to McCrindle, while Victoria comprises just over a quarter of Australia’s population, it currently accounts for more than a third (37%) of Australia’s annual population growth.

Just look how fast Victoria is growing…

In the last year Victoria added 143,400 people (+2.3%) which is larger than the growth of NSW, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT combined.

In the last year, Melbourne has added 125,424 people which is the largest annual increase of any city in Australia’s history.

It is the equivalent of adding one new Darwin to Melbourne per annum.

In addition to contributing to 37% of Australia’s growth, Victoria also accounts for 35% of Australia’s Net Overseas Migration and 29% of Australia’s natural increase.

There are 3 factors contributing to Victoria’s fast growth:

  1. Net Overseas Migration,
  2. Natural Increase and
  3. Net Interstate Migration.

And this is happening because of Victoria’s strong economy and jobs growth.

Of course this is all very positive for the long term prospects for our property market which is currently taking a little breather.

Melbourne’s growth is going gangbusters 

Melbourne has had the highest average growth of any city in Australia since 2011 averaging 2.55% per annum, but in the last 12 months this has increased further to 2.65%.

According to McCrindle, based on its current population growth rate Melbourne will hit the 6 million mark in 2025, the same year that Sydney will reach a similar population.

This means Melbourne will overtake Sydney to be Australia’s largest city in 2026.

Based on the current growth rate, Melbourne will reach 7 million in 2031 and 8 million in 2037 (with Sydney not reaching 8 million until 2040).

Let’s look back at how we got here

McCrindle offers some interesting insights into the population growth of Australia’s 2 big super cities:

Sydney’s population reached 4 million in 1999, and it took Melbourne 10 years to reach that same milestone.

Sydney then reached a population of 5 million in 2016 and it has taken Melbourne just two years to do the same.

These two cities will reach a population of 6 million in 2025, with Melbourne to beat Sydney in all the population milestones after that.

Milestone Sydney reached Melbourne reached Difference
2 million 1959 1975 16 years
3 million


1988 14 years
4 million 1999 2009 10 years
5 million 2016 2018 2 years
6 million 2025 2025 0

What’s ahead:

Clearly there are going to be many more of us in the futur

Australia’s population has doubled since 1970 and increased by around six times since Federation in 1901, rising from 3.8 million to nearly 25 million today.

And while we’re living longer, the changes in our migration policy over time have been a major contributor to our population growth Melbourne

Today immigration accounts for close to two thirds of our population growth.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) tells us we have:

  • one birth every one minute and 42 seconds
  • one death every three minutes and 16 seconds
  • one person arriving to live in Australia every one minute and one second
  • one Australian resident leaving Australia to live overseas every one minute and 51 seconds leading to
  • an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 23 seconds.

We are expected to hit future milestones fairly quickly.

Australia’s population is likely to be population growth26 million by 2020, at 30 million by 2030 and at a whopping 40 million by the year 2048.

Population Growth

Source: McCrindle

Better town planning required

Of course, this strong population growth is going to underpin the strength of our property markets, especially as the bulk of these new people are going to move to our 4 big capital cities. Melbourne Suburbs

And inevitably this will cause challenges as our cities were not designed to accommodate such large volumes of people, who in general will be living in medium and higher density accommodation in the future

Our infrastructure will have to catch up and our governments will have to get their acts into gear if we wish to maintain our status of the best cities in the world to live.

If you’d like to know a bit more about how to find investment grade properties in Melbourne please give the Metropole Melbourne team a call on 1300 METROPOLE or click here and leave your details.


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'Melbourne hits the 5 million people milestone today' have 2 comments


    August 29, 2018 David

    Is it just me or is this terrible?

    Melbourne is becoming less and less livable with this unsustainable population increase.


      Michael Yardney

      August 29, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Clearly there is good and bad to this – but I enjoy living in a vibrant city


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