Oxford Street

Oxford Street village has pockets of purely residential dwellings, housing a population of nearly 19,000 in 2014.

Households within the village have a high concentration of white-collar workers and an average income that is over 20% above the Metro Sydney average.

These households are predominantly made up of singles and couples without kids resulting in higher disposable incomes and higher retail spending per capita. 

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Recent population growth

The population of Oxford Street village was estimated to be 18,998 in 2014. Based on the population estimate provided by id Forecast (see Chart 2) population growth in the village was 1.1% per annum between 2006 and 2011, and 1.3% per annum between 2011 and 2014. This compares to City of Sydney local area figures of 2.1% for 2006 to 2011 and 1.6% for 2011 to 2014. While this makes population growth in the village look relatively slow, it should be noted that the City of Sydney local area is growing quite rapidly, and the growth rate experienced by Oxford Street village is fairly normal for an established urban area.

Chart 2 – Estimated Resident Population

Chart 2 – Estimated Resident Population

Figure 3 illustrates population density across the village. It shows that the majority of the population is concentrated in the northern portion of the village closest to the city centre. The highest population densities occur along Oxford, William and Liverpool streets.

Figure 3 – Population Density, 2011

Figure 3 – Population Density, 2011


Oxford Street village is a dynamic urban environment with a diverse resident community. The area is well-known for its strong gay and lesbian community which remains an important characteristic of the village. Table 1 summarises some of the key demographic characteristics of Oxford Street village residents, from which the following points are noted:

  • median household income of the village is high, sitting 28.5% above the Metro Sydney average
  • average household size of 1.7 persons per dwelling is relatively small, reflective of inner city living with smaller housing units
  • there are a higher proportion of residents with a bachelor degree or higher (56%) than the City of Sydney local area (48%) and Metro Sydney (27%)
  • proximity of this village to the city centre has made it a desirable location for white-collar workers who make up 89% of the population
  • majority of residents within the village are renters with a low proportion of public renters (3%)
  • smaller housing stock and a high concentration of white-collar workers means that the most common household structure in Oxford Street village is single households, which make up 46% of all households.

Table 1 – Key Demographic Indicators, 2011

Oxford Street City of Sydney Metro Sydney
Median Household Income $96,986 $84,941 $75,451
Av. Age 37.6 36.1 37.1
Av. Household Size 1.7 1.9 2.7
% White Collar Workers 89% 87% 74%
% Born Overseas 44% 49% 36%
Bachelor Degree or Higher* 56% 48% 27%
Studying at University/TAFE 12% 17% 8%
Housing Status
Owner 17% 14% 31%
Purchaser 24% 24% 36%
Renter - Public 3% 10% 5%
Renter - Private 56% 51% 27%
Household Structure
Couples with No Kids 29% 28% 24%
Families (inc single parent) 12% 18% 49%
Singles 46% 40% 23%
Groups 12% 14% 4%
Source: Census of Population and Housing, 2011 – ABS

Chart 4 shows the household income distribution for Oxford Street village compared to the City of Sydney local area and Metro Sydney. The distribution of household incomes in the village is skewed towards the higher end of the scale, with a lower proportion of households on incomes below $52,000 per year and higher proportions in the categories above $104,000 per year. Over 10% of households in the village have incomes over $208,000 per year, which is well above the figure for the City of Sydney (8%) and Metro Sydney (6%).

Chart 4 – Household Income Distribution, 2011

Chart 4 – Household Income Distribution, 2011 

Figure 4 shows the distribution of household incomes by block across the village. This map shows high average household incomes are dispersed across the village, with the most significant clusters occurring to the east of Victoria Street, and around Moore Park Road and Land Road in the south-eastern section of the village. There are also pockets of high income households closer to central Sydney between Oxford and William streets.

Figure 4 – Average Household Income, 2011

Figure 4 – Average Household Income, 2011

Resident retail spending

Chart 5 illustrates the estimated retail spending per capita for village residents in 2012 based on Marketinfo modelling. It shows that residents spend more than average on all retail categories. The food retail category includes groceries and other supermarket-type goods and this is where the retail spending of the Oxford Street village residents is the highest. The restaurant, café and takeaway food culture evident within the village, particularly along Oxford Street itself has resulted in local residents spending more than average in the food catering category as well.

The high proportion of singles and couples without kids, coupled with the high white-collar worker population within the village results in most residents tending to have higher disposable incomes per head. This supports higher retail spending across discretionary categories such as bulky goods and leisure, providing positive signs for retailers in the area.

Chart 5 – Resident Retail Spending Per Capita, 2012

Chart 5 – Resident Retail Spending Per Capita, 2012

What does this mean for my business?

Understanding the characteristics of the local resident population is important for both retail and non-retail businesses. For retailers, local residents usually make up a core part of their market, and are a key source of repeat business. Local residents also often make up a large part of the workforce of local businesses.

Residents of Oxford Street village tend to be white-collar professionals with high disposable incomes. This supports a significant amount of retail and dining activity within the village – in particular cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars thrive along Oxford Street and through the back streets of Darlinghurst and Paddington.

On the non-food side, it has been noted that the traditional high street retail in Oxford Street is currently in a transitionary phase, with new competitive retail centres in the city centre and Bondi Junction triggering a shift in the composition of retailers along the main strip. This changing landscape presents an opportunity for new and innovative retailers to move in, serving niche markets and the needs of local residents that are not otherwise catered for in the major centres.

The strong gay and lesbian community in Oxford Street village is another factor influencing local businesses. Many businesses provide support for the community and enjoy significant loyalty as a result.


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