Melbourne is already Australia’s biggest city

The AFR reported that Melbourne’s population is projected to overtake Sydney’s population by 2026:

Higher growth is being driven by rising birth rates, strong international migration and people moving from interstate and regional hubs, pushing Melbourne’s and Sydney’s populations to about 6 million by mid-2026.

But Melbourne’s population will pass Sydney’s by the end of that year and the gap is expected to continue widening, according to Mark McCrindle, of McCrindle Research.

Melbourne’s population, which is expected to become home for 75 per cent of Victorians, is estimated to grow 28 per cent faster than Sydney over the next six years, according to the latest estimates…

“It is not luck that Melbourne was voted the most liveable city for seven years in the past decade,” said Mr McCrindle.

“The biggest population creates a gravitational pull that will begin to attract more global organisations, big events and the head offices of national and regional institutions. New institutions will also be drawn by being located in the nation’s largest city.”

The only reason why Sydney is currently Australia’s biggest city is because the official boundaries used to draw the city limits are bogus.

The official definition of Greater Sydney stretches all the way to Lake Macquarie, about 120 kilometres north of the CBD. Accordingly, Sydney’s population is bolstered by the inclusion of the heavily populated NSW Central Coast, which ranks as Australia’s 9th largest “significant urban area” in its own right, according to the ABS.

By contrast Melbourne’s official definition excludes adjacent Geelong, which is closer to Melbourne’s CBD than the central coast hub of Gosford is to downtown Sydney.

If the Central Coast was excluded from Greater Sydney’s population, it falls to 4,888,235 as at 2018, which is below Melbourne’s 4,963,349:

Alternatively, if Greater Melbourne’s population was to include Greater Geelong, its population would rise to 5,265,170, which is above Greater Sydney’s 5,230,330 as at 2018:

Thus, an apples-to-apples comparison reveals that Melbourne’s population is already larger than Sydney’s.

Not that any of this matters in the slightest. Both cities are experiencing excessive immigration-fuelled population growth, which is choking infrastructure, housing, water supplies and living standards:

Both cities’ populations are also projected to roughly double again to around 10 million people over the next half century on the back of endless mass immigration:

It’s a dystopian disaster in the making.

Leith van Onselen

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

Comments

          • HadronCollision

            Why can’t you?
            NNSW before it’s too late.
            God the prices in Ballina are bananas. We looked at East BNK, but madness, no thanks.
            Found somewhere else that I suspect may be +++ in 5 years. Money is creeping out from Byron/Suffolk outward

          • Chill, Lieth. You’re just back from holidays. It’s normal to hate being back
            It’s true that the expansionists are wrecking Melbs. But it still has wonderful amenities and easy access to the best hinterland of any city in Oz. Mountains, sea, snow, beaches. Appeciate all these while you can still jump in a car and drive there and back in a day. Not for long

          • Nah, I’ve hated Melbourne for a long time. The weather down here is poor for six months of the year (and that’s being generous), and it has become crowded and expensive.

        • Yeah it’s a dump stay away. Full of aggressive rasciialists like the ranger one. No jobs in Queensland don’t bother coming. 🙂

          What sh1ts me though is the holidaying prick who shut down the open borders offer with uk. Be interested on others thoughts on that one. All those polish and European birds would give the rice eater rub and tug joints good competition.

          See Queenslanders are rascialists don’t come.

  1. More lies about Melbourne being the world’s most liveable city. That Economist ranking is only for top flight international executives. Yet it has become the favoured choice of survey for the Big Australia liars. 17 is where Melbourne ranks on the Mercer index which is more accurate. 17,17,17 you never hear the Big Australia liars cry.

    • To anyone with half a brain and who has been paying attention, the whole “world’s most liveable city” thing has been utter bullsh*t for at LEAST a decade.

      • master of toilet paper

        it’s been bullsh1t since forever. that livability ranking is based on the experience of an overseas executive, i think, staying overnight in a hotel. it’s not supposed to be describing the everyday experience of city residents, but marketers got hold of it and started misrepresenting what it was measuring.

  2. I worry about plonking fires purely into the “climate” groove. Fires also question exceptional 21st century levels of population growth, profligate land-clearing and fossil-fuel extraction, and the override of our unique biodiversity and water regimes.

    The Melbourne fringe, that burnt 2009, is ready to go up again. But economists, “planners”, and government, are supremely confident of the sprawling urban plan for 8m by the mid century. Nothing much in the plan about fire and water.

    • I’m going to Melbourne in March for the F1 Grand Prix, Will be interesting to see the change in vibrancy from March 2019 and how much better it is for all of us.

      • Your vibrant taxi driver. To your vibrant check-in at the hotel. To your vibrant security guard at the Grand Prix. As you are served by vibrants at the bar and you watch vibrants clean away the rubbish as you sit next to non-vibrants. Then rinse and repeat on the way home. Welcome to Melbourne.

  3. Good luck to Melbourne with such a rampant population growth. I hope Sydney loses at least a million in next recession.

    But to be correct: distance has nothing to do with what constitutes part of the city. It’s formation and dependency/independence that makes a difference.
    Geelong has been a separate city since the very begging (150 years ago Geelong was 1/4 of Melbourne population) and it’s separated from Melbourne by large areas of uninhabited land that is used for other purposes (agriculture), while no town in central coast even existed as a town 50 years ago and it grew as a suburb of Sydney. These suburbs are not separated from Sydney by water, protected areas or inhabitable land. In 1961 all of Central Coast (now at 350k people) had just over 10000 residents. Same year Geelong had almost 100k.

    If one wants to count Geelong as part of Sydney, he/she would need to count Wollongong and even Newcastle as part of Sydney, because they are equivalent satellite cities. Central Coast is to Sydney what Mornington is to Melbourne (Mornington peninsula is part of Greater Melbourne despite being further from CBD than Geelong).

  4. “It is not luck that Melbourne was voted the most liveable city for seven years in the past decade,” said Mr McCrindle.

    LOL these people are claiming that population size and growth make a city livable LOL
    imagine how livable Kolkata must be 🙂

    • There is also the argument that “lots of people are moving to Melbourne so it must be really attractive and great.”

      What they fail to mention is that most people now moving to Melbourne are from the Third World. So yes, while the place is still better than the Third World cities they are moving from, that’s not saying much.

  5. The population change 2004-2018 chart translates to around 260 more people in Melbourne PER DAY for 14 years. 260 more everyday. I’m glad I left 2 years ago – when it was horrendous then. I have absolutely no intention of returning.

  6. GunnamattaMEMBER

    if Greater Melbourne’s population was to include Greater Geelong

    There are a few points to make here. It should be the other way around. If the peripheral regions around the other side of Port Phillip were included Geelong would be Australia’s largest city.

    It is also worth noting that from say 25 years ago – when Melbourne plausibly could make a serious claim to being the worlds most pleasant urbs to live in – Melbourne has crafted a niche as the gridlocked, air pollutant circulating, ethnic ghetto metastasizing, ennui inducing urbs in Australia.(not to mention the fact that absolutely nothing done in Melbourne is of any lasting economic value – Melbourne got out of that game finally about ten years ago).

    The real estate agents in Geelong refer to the people moving down from Melbourne as ‘refugees’. There are so many of them that there are new housing estates all over the place down on the Bellarine, and around the periphery of Geelong. The attraction I have been told recently, is that parts of Geelong apparently feel a lot like parts of Melbourne did before they adopted policies to shave a little something off Melbourne’s ‘liveability’ in order to build some margin into real estate sales. Apparently the Belmont/Highton/Grovedale area (just South of the Barwon) feels just like the way Box Hill Balwyn and Templestowe once felt, and Newtown is arguably better than than Toorak because it is up on a hill and really does enable looking down on everyone else. From Bell Post Hill and Bell Park you can almost see and reach out and touch real shells of factories that almost give the feel that someone really did something productive in this vicinity once upon a time (and you dont just have to take the words on the for sale signs).

    Geelong needs to lift its eyes…….

  7. The90kwbeastMEMBER

    Even if Melbourne is or will become larger it has a long way to go attracting more corporate head offices and ASX listed head offices compared to Sydney. Can’t see any of the existing business in Sydney shifting their head offices in the next 10-20 years either, because why?

    • In the late 80’s and 1990’s businesses in NZ decided that Ackalofa (Auckland) was the place to be… Wellington is now a corporate ghost town except for the Beehive…

      My view was that Melbourne when I arrived was old money and just like Welly, but the coffee in welly is better.

      Sydney was Ackalofa… you can keep it, crap PT, lousy motorways, expensive and like a doughnut ion the weekend… Bugger all to see unless you have a yacht and Big Banker mates.

      Lately I miss Wellbourne. 🙁

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