How is NSW growing? – part 1: Sydney metropolitan area

Recently the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the estimated resident population figures for states, local government areas (LGAs) and statistical local areas (SLAs) as at 30 June 2008 (see ABS publication 3218.0). These figures have major implications for governments, councils and community organisations.

The ABS reported that the NSW population in 2008 was 6.98 million people, an increase of 79,200 people, with a growth rate for 2007-08 of 1.1%. This was higher than the average annual growth rate for the five years to June 2008 (0.9%). Most of this growth occurred in Sydney with the population increasing by 55,000 people (or 1.3%) to 4.4 million people. Sydney now has around 63% of the state’s population.

SLA POPULATION CHANGE, SYDNEY – 2007-08 (source ABS)

sydney-popn-growth-2007-08-v2 

The ABS figures indicate that almost all local government areas in Sydney experienced growth and that nine of the ten LGAs with the state’s largest population growth were also in Sydney (see map and Table 1). The top four were all in Greater Western Sydney: Blacktown (5,300), Parramatta (4,000), the Hills (formerly Baulkham Hills – 3,300 people) and Liverpool (3,200). 

The ABS also reports that over half of Sydney’s LGAs experienced a growth rate higher than average NSW rate of 1.1%, with around one in five recording rates of 2.0% or more. The top two were in Greater Western Sydney: Auburn, (3.1%) and Parramatta (2.5%). 

TABLE 1: LGAs WITH LARGEST POPULATION GROWTH, SYDNEY (source ABS)

LGA

ERP at 30 June 2008p

Population Change 2007r-2008p

Blacktown

291,600

5,300

1.9%

Parramatta

161,900

4,000

2.5%

The Hills

171,000

3,300

2.0%

Liverpool

176,900

3,200

1.9%

Sydney City

172,700

2,500

1.5%

From a strategic planning perspective, the population growth estimates make interesting reading. Despite the majority of Sydney’s population living in eastern Sydney, a majority of the growth occurred in the three sub-regions that comprise Greater Western Sydney (GWS), which increased by 29,781 compared to eastern Sydney’s 25,266. The top two and fourth sub-regions in terms of total growth were in GWS: West Central (12,227), North West (11,664) and South West (5,890). The third, South (8,097), was in eastern Sydney (see table 2 and graph).

In terms of growth rates, GWS grew by 1.6% compared to eastern Sydney’s 1.0%. At the sub-regional level West Central grew the fastest, at 1.8%.

 TABLE 2: SUB-REGIONAL POPULATION GROWTH, SYDNEY (based on ABS data)

SUB-REGION

2003

2007r

2008p

Growth 2003-08

Growth 2007-08

Growth % 2007-08

Central Coast

301,205

307,136

310,546

9,341

3,410

1.1%

East

279,191

285,514

288,517

9,326

3,003

1.1%

Inner North

296,877

306,865

308,359

11,482

1,494

0.5%

Inner West

217,916

232,553

235,735

17,819

3,182

1.4%

North

262,874

264,227

267,346

4,472

3,119

1.2%

North East

231,727

237,922

238,371

6,644

449

0.2%

South

646,973

659,531

667,628

20,655

8,097

1.2%

Sydney City

146,108

170,173

172,685

26,577

2,512

1.5%

Eastern Sydney Total

2,382,871

2,463,921

2,489,187

106,316

25,266

1.0%

North West

743,791

771,226

782,890

39,099

11,664

1.5%

South West

403,011

415,875

421,765

18,754

5,890

1.4%

West Central

661,201

693,653

705,880

44,679

12,227

1.8%

Gtr. West. Sydney Total

1,808,003

1,880,754

1,910,535

102,532

29,781

1.6%

Sydney Metro. Total

4,190,874

4,344,675

4,399,722

208,848

55,047

1.3%

Non Metropolitan Total

2,480,530

2,559,151

2,583,334

102,804

24,183

0.9%

NSW Total

6,671,404

6,903,826

6,983,056

311,652

79,230

1.1%

popn-growth-by-subregion

The upshot of this is that population growth has accelerated in Greater Western Sydney over the 12 months to June 2008 with over 54% of Sydney’s growth, compared to just under half of total growth in the five-year period to 2008 (table 3).

Growth rates were particularly low in the Inner North (0.5%) and North East (0.2%) which had a combined growth of less than 2,000 people. All eastern Sydney sub-regions had growth of less than 3,000 people each, with the previously-noted exception of South Sydney which grew by more than 8,000.

 TABLE 3: EASTERN AND WESTERN SYDNEY GROWTH RATES (based on ABS data)

 

2003

2007r

2008p

Growth 2003-08

Growth 2007-08

Eastern Sydney

56.9%

56.7%

56.6%

50.9%

45.9%

Western Sydney

43.1%

43.3%

43.4%

49.1%

54.1%

However, a significant proportion of this growth has occurred as urban consolidation in the well-established suburbs of the West Central LGAs, particularly Auburn and Parramatta but also Bankstown, Fairfield and Holroyd which experienced growth of around 2,000 people each. Growth also occurred in the North West sub-region LGAs which have a mixture of established and new release areas, such as Blacktown, Baulkham Hills and Penrith, as well as in Liverpool in the South West.

These results need to be carefully considered by everyone involved in planning and providing infrastructure and services, not to mention those seeking to increase densities in established areas, particularly in eastern Sydney. GWS has done much of the “heavy-lifting” in accommodating Sydney’s growth and if this pattern continues, the point at which Greater Western Sydney surpasses eastern Sydney’s population will occur sooner rather than later.

 In future posts I will look at rural growth patterns as well as the implications of these figures in the context of changes in employment patterns and infrastructure provision.

Alex Gooding

If you want further analysis of current ABS demographic and other data and its implications for strategic planning, please contact the author at info@goodingdavies.com.au.

This entry was posted in Growth, Local Government, Planning, Population, Sydney metro area, Western Sydney and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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