Greater Sydney

Greater Sydney


Geographically, Sydney is fringed by the Tasman Sea to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Woronora Plateau to the south. The Parramatta, Georges and Cooks rivers are some of the major tributaries that flow to the coastline of Sydney.

Greater Sydney (Greater Capital City Statistical Area), as classified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, extends from Wyong and Gosford in the north to the Royal National Park in the south and follows the coastline in between. Towards the west, the region includes the Blue Mountains, Wollondilly and Hawkesbury. Greater Sydney covers 12,367.7 sq km and is made up of 35 local councils.

These councils contain more than 650 suburbs that are largely linked by a complex transport network including heavy and light rail services, public and private bus services, ferry services, taxis and a road and cycle network.

Economic context

In 2015/16 Greater Sydney generated an estimated economic output of over $AUD 400 billion which represented 24.1% of Australia’s GDP.    

Greater Sydney population

In 2016 the Estimated Resident Population for Greater Sydney was 5,029,711. Based on a total site area of 12,367.7 sq km, the current population density of the Greater Sydney area is 407 persons per sq km which includes a number of surrounding national parks. The built urban area is estimated at 4,064 square kilometres which translates to a density of 1,237 persons per square kilometre.

According to the 2016 census, the Usual Resident Population of Greater Sydney was 4,823,991, made up of 49.3% males and 50.7% females, with 1.5% of the population being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The total population increased by 9.8% in the 5 years since 2011 and 17.1% in the 10 years since 2006.

The median age of the population is 36 years. In the 2016 census, 18.6% of the population were children aged between 0 to 14 years, and 24.7% were persons aged 55 years and over.

Sydney’s multicultural make-up is evident in the statistics relating to the country of birth for residents living in Greater Sydney. Of the total population, 39.2% were born overseas. The top 5 countries for residents born overseas were China (4.9%), United Kingdom (4.0%), India (2.9%), New Zealand (1.9%) and Vietnam (1.8%). 

Within the same area, 62% of the population speaks only English at home. The most common languages other than English spoken at home were Mandarin (5.0%), Arabic (4.3%), Cantonese (3.1%), Vietnamese (2.2%) and Greek (1.7%). 

The weekly income of residents in Greater Sydney is slightly higher than the weekly income for all Australian residents. In Greater Sydney, the median weekly individual income for persons aged 15 years and over was $719, compared with $662 across the nation. The median weekly household income in Greater Sydney was $1,750 compared with $1,438 nationally, while the median weekly family income was $1,988 compared with $1,734 across Australia.

During the 2016 census there were 1,623,872 occupied private dwellings counted in Greater Sydney: 57.1% were separate houses, 14.1% were semi-detached, row or terrace or townhouses, 28% were flats, units or apartments and 0.6% were other dwellings.

Of those occupied private dwellings 73.6% were family households, 21.6% were lone person households and 4.7% were group households. The most common languages other than English spoken at home were Arabic (4.1%), Cantonese (3.0%), Mandarin (3.0%), Vietnamese (1.9%) and Greek (1.8%).

Greater Sydney workforce

Sydney is the financial and business services hub of Australia. It also has a concentration of jobs within the multimedia and communications industries, tourism, hospitality and cultural industries.

During the 2011 census the total labour force for Greater Sydney was 1.87 million. The labour force represents nearly 19.2% of the total national workforce. A total of 67.3% were employed on a full-time basis, 28.1% were employed on a part-time basis, and 3.5% were employed but away from work at the time of the census.

The most common occupation for persons within Greater Sydney in 2011 were professionals at 27.2%. Clerical and administrative workers made up 17.1% of all employed persons, while managers accounted for 14.1%, followed by technicians and trades workers at 10.1%.

The most common industry of employment for Greater Sydney residents in 2011 was school education, accounting for 4.3% of all industries. The second largest industry of employment was cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (4.1%), followed by hospitals (3.4%), legal and accounting services (3.0%) and depository financial intermediation (2.6%).

Last updated: Thursday, 26 April 2018