Melbourne officially overtakes Sydney as Australia’s largest city for the first time in over 100 years
- Melbourne overtakes Sydney as Australia’s largest city
- Due to shifting boundaries to the city of Melton
Melbourne has overtaken Sydney as Australia’s largest city after the border of the Victorian capital was changed.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Melbourne has nearly 19,000 more residents than Sydney, with a population of 4,875,400.
The ABS measures a city’s significant urban area by including all adjacent suburbs with populations greater than 10,000, with Sydney holding the top spot for more than 100 years.
The rise in Melbourne’s population is due to a “technical problem” after the city limits were expanded to include the suburb of Melton, Australia’s Bureau of Statistics says.
“Until the definition of the 2021 census, the significant area of Sydney had a larger population than Melbourne,” explains Andrew Howe of the ABS’s Regional Population Unit.
“However, with the amalgamation of Melton into Melbourne in the last major classification of urban area, Melbourne has more people than Sydney – and it has since 2018.”
Sydney’s more than a century-long reign as the country’s largest city is over as Melbourne takes first place on a technicality after the city of Melton is incorporated into Melbourne’s major metropolitan area
Demographer Professor Nick Parr of Macquarie University says Sydney’s growth is slowing as more people choose to live in other cities and towns.
“Sydney’s growth has been held back by the significant net loss of people due to internal migration,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Many more people have moved from Sydney to other parts of Australia, especially the rest of NSW, Queensland and Victoria, than have moved to Sydney from elsewhere in Australia.”
But when looking at the aggregate size of the greater Sydney and Melbourne regions, Sydney remained the largest with a total population of 5.26 million in June 2021, compared to Melbourne’s 4.98 million.
The larger region metric represents populations that regularly socialize, shop, or work in the city, but may live in small towns and surrounding rural areas.
But in another blow to Sydney, the federal government predicts that Greater Melbourne will overtake Greater Sydney between 2031 and 2032.
As Melbourne continues to grow, the state of New South Wales is still expected to remain Australia’s largest, with NSW’s population of 8.23 million compared to VIC’s 6.72 million.
Melbourne’s Significant Urban boundary has now been extended to include Melton (pictured)
Sydney’s Significant Urban Area includes the Sydney watershed and suburbs in the Blue Mountains, but not the Central Coast (pictured)