Here’s the full list:
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Sydney regains the top spot as Australia’s largest city for 2021, but Melbourne is close on its heels.
There are just 57,000 people separating Sydney from Melbourne – 4.959 million compared to 4.901 million – according to the latest ABS data.
Last year it was Melbourne which wore the crown for the highest population, but thanks to the Covid-19 lockdowns which saw the city’s population dip (of a huge 65,000 people over the year), Sydney once again has stepped to the top of the annual list of urban area populations put together by id.com.au demographers using ABS data.
And that’s not the only change.
Covid-19 border closures, lockdowns, and associated population movements have shifted things around throughout the whole of country.
The data shows that our largest cities and established urban areas have declined (particularly Sydney and Melbourne with a population fall of 0.1% and 1.3% year-on-year respectively) while places, where people look for lifestyle change within 2 hours drive of the capitals, have tended to boom.
This is unsurprising given we already know that seachange and tree change markets have seen immense price growth over 2021, as the prevalence of remote work amid the pandemic, the relative affordability of regions and the potential for retirement decisions being brought amid labour market disruptions contributed to elevated levels of migration to regional Australia through 2021.
Plenty of areas have grown or shrunk in population but surprisingly, themajority have maintained their position on the list.
In fact, 42 out of the 50 places are unchanged from 2020.
The data shows that 12 of the top 50 urban centres recorded a populationdrop in 2021.
The total for the top 50 was an increase of 9,702 people – just 0.05%,although this was mainly due to Melbourne’s large 65,000 population fall.
Areas that have climbed the list represent ‘fleechange’ locations around 100km or so from our capitals.
For example, Warragul-Drouin in Victoria rose two places to position 36,Nelson Bay NSW is up to position 48 and (just off the list) Victor Harbor– Goolwa in SA rises 2 places to number 51.
Australia is still an urbanised country
The list of the top 50 urban areas in Australia contains 21,423,279 people in 2021 – which is 83.2% of the country’s total.
The top 100 urban areas make up 86.9%.
Of course, the top 5 alone – the only cities with over 1 million – makeup 61%, which shows that Australia is still a very urbanised country.
The data also shows that more than two-thirds of Australia’s populationgrowth occurred in the “Not in a significant urban area” category.
This makes up only 13.1% of Australia’s population, but increased byalmost 31,000 people for the year, representing a 0.9% increase, thedemographers found.
This is by far the largest growth in this category since records beganin the 1980s.
These include all rural areas outside of major centres, as well assmaller towns of less than 10,000 population (and not near the outskirts of alarger urban area).
Australia’s population is expected to surge
While the country’s population temporarily stalled or even fell, during the Covid-19 pandemic, now our borders have reopened and migration has resumed, we can expect Australia’s population to begin rising strongly again.
Australia’s population is projected to reach between 37.4 and 49.2 million people by 2066 and then grow to over 50 million people by 2101.