Melbourne dethrones Sydney as Australia’s largest city, thanks to a technicality
A technicality led Melbourne to dethrone Sydney as Australia’s largest city by population. For at least 100 years, Sydney held the title with aplomb. But after the officials redrew the borders the Melbourne, which is the capital of the state of Victoria, to include Melton district, Sydney was relegated to second place.
According to Australia’s federal government’s latest population figures, Melbourne's population is 44.8 million, which is 18,700 more than Sydney's.
"With the amalgamation of Melton into Melbourne in the latest... classification, Melbourne has more people than Sydney - and has had since 2018, " the ABS's Andrew Howe told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper - which described the redrawn boundary as "a technicality".
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a city is defined as a "significant urban area", which is connected to all suburbs with more than 10,000 people.
It is estimated that Melbourne will reach 6 million population by mid-2031 – rising to 6.1 million the following year. While Sydney is forecast to pass the 6 million mark in 2032-33.
One of the primary reasons attributed for this change in demography is the net internal migration from within and outside of the country.
“It’s because more people have been moving out of Sydney, going to other parts of Australia, than have been moving in the opposite direction. Whereas in the case of Melbourne, in some years more people have moved to Melbourne than have moved out,” Nick Parr, a professor of demography at Macquarie University, explained to Sydney radio station 2GB.
“But the projections show that Sydney’s population will continue to grow, and also the Melbourne population will continue to grow,” he said, adding that immigration will “compensate” for the effects of low birth rates in both cities.
Australian National University demographer Liz Allen told the BBC that Melbourne's rapid growth is largely thanks to international migration.
He noted that unlike Sydney, which has a "historical hangover" of a time when "it didn't want to be seen as anything other than white", Melbourne has a reputation for celebrating diversity.