Melbourne or Sydney – who will win the race to be Australia’s number 1 capital city?
As long as I remember there’s been rivalry between our two super star cities which, interesting, are each bigger than every city in the USA other than New York.
Currently the population of Sydney is around 5,030,000 and that of Melbourne is 4,725,316, but Melbourne is catching up fast
Here’s some background
Melbourne was the last of the mainland state capitals to be settled in 1836, then usurped Sydney as Australia’s biggest city in the gold rush days of the 1850s.
By Federation both cities were about the same size: half a million people each.
But by the end of the 20th century Sydney took the lead with 600,000 more people.
However, in the 21st century Melbourne has overturned 100 years of demographic history and, currently growing at around 2.6% per annum, is set to change the balance of Australia’s largest cities, de-throning Sydney as the nation’s most populous capital city.
Demographers id.com.au’s recent population forecasts show a change in leader is in the not too distant future.
Recently updated Small Area Forecast information (SAFi) for Victoria forecasts that Melbourne will overtake Sydney by 2023, when Melbourne’s population is anticipated to top 5.53 million, exceeding Sydney’s expected population of 5.51 million.
The race winner continues to lead in the longer-term, with the gap forecast to widen by 2037 as Melbourne adds more than half a million more people than Sydney.
Forecast population, Melbourne and Sydney, 2017-41
Sources: .id (the population experts), SAFi Victoria, 2017, SAFi NSW, 2016
Of course…the devil is in the detail.
Like any good demographic analysis, geographic borders are central to the insight.
In this case, the geographic definition of the greater capital city area is important.
This analysis uses the Australian Bureau of Statistics official greater capital cities statistical area (GCCSA) geographic definition of metropolitan Melbourne and metropolitan Sydney.
The 2016 GCCSA definition of metropolitan Melbourne excludes Geelong and metropolitan Sydney includes the Central Coast.
Do people who live in Gosford and Wyong consider themselves Sydney-siders? Are people in Bacchus Marsh and Lancefield happy to be called Melburnians?
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