Harris Street

Harris Street village has seen subdued population growth in recent years despite strong growth previously supported by high density residential apartment developments.

Residents have comparatively high incomes due to the high proportion of professionals residing in the village, attracted by the inner city location and community atmosphere.

Recent population growth

Figure 3 shows population density throughout the village. The most significant areas of high population density include:

  • the area around Allen and Pyrmont streets towards the centre of the village
  • the north-western corner of the village, dominated by high density residential apartments
  • to the north and south of William Henry Street, along Jones Street and Bulwara Road.

Chart 2 – Estimated Resident Population

Chart 2 – Estimated Resident Population

Figure 3 – Population Density, 2011

Figure 3 – Population Density, 2011


The community of Harris Street village displays a mix of cultures and social backgrounds. There are an increasing number of young professionals as well as newly retired residents living in the village. Ultimo in particular has attracted a large Chinese-Australian population due to its close connection to Chinatown and nearby universities. Table 2 summarises some of the key demographic characteristics of the residents, from which the following key points are noted:

  • The median household income is 17% above the City of Sydney local area figure due to the large proportion of young professional and high-income retirees.
  • The average age is below the City of Sydney local area average, again to due to the high proportion of young professionals.
  • The proportion of couples with no kids is 6% above the City of Sydney local area average, which is unsurprising given the smaller housing stock and presence of young professionals. Interestingly the proportion of families is also above the City local area average.
  • The proportion of residents born overseas in the village (59%) is significantly higher than the City of Sydney local area average (49%). This is largely a result of the large Chinese population in the village, with 12% of residents being Chinese-born, compared to the City local area average of 6%.

Chart 3 shows the household income distribution for village residents compared to the distribution across the City of Sydney and the Metro Sydney area. Reflecting the high number of professionals living within the village, there are a higher proportion of households with incomes over $104,000 relative to the City of Sydney local area and Metro Sydney. 11% of village households have an income in excess of $208,000 per annum, which is the highest income bracket.

Chart 3 – Household Income Distribution, 2011

Chart 1 – Dwelling Types

Figure 4 shows average household incomes by block throughout the village. This shows that higher income areas are concentrated in the northern half of the village. More specifically, higher income households tend to be in areas of high density residential dwellings that offer harbour views.

Figure 4 - Average Household Income, 2011

Figure 4 - Average Household Income, 2011

Table 2 – Key Demographic Indicators, 2011

Harris Street City of Sydney Metro Sydney
Median Household Income $99,280 $84,941 $94,428
Av. Age 34.6 36.1 37.1
Av. Household Size 2.1 1.9 2.7
% White Collar Workers 87% 87% 74%
% Born Overseas 59% 49% 36%
Bachelor Degree or Higher* 53% 48% 27%
Studying at University/TAFE 16% 17% 8%
Housing Status      
Owner 14% 14% 31%
Purchaser 23% 24% 36%
Renter - Public 9% 10% 5%
Renter - Private 54% 51% 27%
Household Structure      
Couples with No Kids 34% 28% 24%
Families (inc single parent) 21% 18% 49%
Singles 31% 40% 23%
Groups 15% 14% 4%

*Proportion of population over 15 years old
Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2011 – ABS

Resident retail spending

Chart 4 graphically presents the estimated retail spending per capita for village residents in 2012 based on Marketinfo modelling. The chart shows that residents spend more in the food catering and apparel categories than both the City of Sydney local area and the wider Metro Sydney average. These categories, which refer to restaurant and clothing spending respectively are both more discretionary retail categories and higher spending would be expected among young professionals with high disposable incomes.

High spending in the food catering category has supported the growth of food and drink businesses in the village in recent years. The natural amenity and views of the harbour combined with the relatively high incomes of residents contribute to the strength of this retail category.

Chart 4 – Resident Retail Spending Per Capita, 2012

Figure 4 - Average Household Income, 2011

What does this mean for my business?

The local resident population is an important consideration for many local business owners. For many retailers and hospitality businesses local residents are a core part of their market and a key source of repeat business. For both retail and non-retail businesses local residents may comprise a significant portion of their workforce. Developing a profile of potential customers (or workforce) can assist in selecting an optimal location and/or developing an effective business plan.

Harris Street village has a high proportion of young professionals with high incomes. This translates to a significant amount of disposable income and this is particularly noticeable in the high average spending of residents on discretionary retail categories. This market will continue to support a number of businesses, particularly food and beverage establishments and entertainment venues. 


This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 June 2015