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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]


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
2011 4,627,345
2026 5,426,300 (Projected)[4]
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.[4]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Significant overseas born populations[5]
Country of Birth Population (2011)
United Kingdom 155,065
China 146,853
India 86,767
New Zealand 77,297
Vietnam 69,405
Philippines 61,122
Lebanon 54,215
South Korea 39,694
Italy 39,155
Hong Kong 36,804
South Africa 31,681
Fiji 29,598
Iraq 28,594
Greece 28,192
Indonesia 24,707

The principal ancestries of Greater Sydney's residents (as surveyed in 2011) are:[6]

  • 20.3% Australian
  • 20.4% English
  • 6.6% Irish
  • 6.5% Chinese
  • 5.0% Scottish

Census respondents could nominate up to two ancestries they identified themselves as belonging to.

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

  • 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.

Sydney has a disproportionately large concentration of many of Australia's migrant communities. The Lebanese, Fijian, Korean and Nepalese communities have been called "large population groups".[8] Well over half of Australia's 25,000-strong Nepalese community,[9] for example, is concentrated in Sydney.[10] Seven out of every ten Lebanese migrants in Australia live in Sydney.[11] The Ghanaian community has been noted as being disproportionately visible in Sydney, with the number of Ghanaian churches being unusually large considering the relatively small number of Ghanaians in Australia.[12]

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%).[13]

Most common ancestries of
Sydney urban area (2006)[14]
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.


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.[13] 10.4% left the question blank, 3.7% were Buddhists, 1.7% were Hindu, 0.9% were Jewish.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2009–10". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "3105.0.65.001 - Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2006". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2011. Table 1. Population by sex, states and territories, 31 December, 1788 onwards
  3. ^ "Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2008". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 5 August 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "3222.0 – Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Where do migrants live?". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/1GSYD?opendocument&navpos=220
  7. ^ http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/1GSYD?opendocument&navpos=220
  8. ^ "Where do migrants live?". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "People in Australia who were born in Nepal". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 
  10. ^ "People in Greater Sydney who were born in Nepal". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 
  11. ^ "Where do migrants live?". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Patriotic to a fault". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  13. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Sydney (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 November 2011.  Map
  14. ^ "Cat. No. 2068.0 - 2006 Census Tables". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sydney — Please support Wikipedia.
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