Demographics of Sydney

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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 2011 census 4,627,345 persons declared themselves as residents of the Sydney Statistical Division - about one-fifth (19.38%) of Australia's total population. If contiguous urban areas are considered, Sydney's population was 3,641,421 persons. Sydney is also the most densely populated city in Australia.

The median age of Sydney residents was 35 years, and households comprised an average of 2.7 members.

The officially estimated population for the Sydney Statistical Division at 30 June 2010 was 4,575,532.[1]

History[edit]

Sydney
population by year
1796 2,953 [2]
1911 629,503 [3]
1954 1,863,217
1961 2,183,231
1971 2,807,828
1981 3,204,696
1991 3,672,855
1996 3,881,136
2001 4,128,272
2006 4,281,988
2010 4,575,532 (Estimate)[4]
2026 5,426,300 (Projected)[5]
2056 6,976,800

European settlement in Sydney began in 1788, and in 1800 Sydney had around 3,000 inhabitants. It took time for its population to grow - in 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.

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.[5]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Significant overseas born populations[6]
Country of Birth Population (2006)
 United Kingdom 175,166
 People's Republic of China 109,142
 New Zealand 81,064
 Vietnam 62,144
 Lebanon 54,502
 India 52,975
 Philippines 52,087
 Italy 44,563
 Hong Kong 36,866
 South Korea 32,124
 Greece 32,021
 South Africa 28,427
 Fiji 26,928
 Malaysia 21,211
 Indonesia 20,562
 Iraq 20,216
 Germany 19,364
 Sri Lanka 17,917
 United States 16,340
 Egypt 16,238
 Croatia 15,501

The principal ancestries of Greater Sydney's residents (as surveyed in 2011) are:[7]

  • 20.4% Australian
  • 20.4% English
  • 6.6% Irish
  • 6.5% Chinese
  • 5.0% Scottish


The principal countries of birth of Greater Sydney's residents (as surveyed in 2011) are:[8]

  • Australia (59.9%)
  • England (3.5%)
  • China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) (3.4%)
  • India (2.0%)
  • New Zealand (1.9%)
  • Vietnam (1.6%)

Aborigines were about 2% of all Sydney residents.

At the 2006 census respondents could nominate up to two ancestries they identified themselves as belonging to.

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%).[9]

Most common ancestries of
Sydney urban area (2006)[10]
Population  %
Australian 999,000 27.4
English 840,118 23
Chinese 287,952 7.9
Irish 277,545 7.6
Scottish 202,938 5.6
Italian 157,765 4.3
Lebanese 125,257 3.4
Greek 106,003 2.9
Indian 90,944 2.5
German 86,721 2.4
Total population 3,641,424

Some suburbs are associated with particular ethnic groups. The adjacent image shows concentrations of persons born in different regions of the world residing in particular parts of Sydney.

Religion[edit]

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.[9] 10.4% left the question blank, 3.7% were Buddhists, 1.7% were Hindu, 0.9% were Jewish

See also[edit]

References[edit]