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3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/03/2010   
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State summary

Population change in Sydney

Population change in the remainder of NSW

Population density

Centre of population

Local government area populations


At 30 June 2009, the estimated resident population of New South Wales (NSW) reached 7.13 million people, representing about a third of Australia's population. NSW experienced the largest population growth of all Australian states and territories, with an increase of 119,500 people since June 2008. The NSW growth rate of 1.7% in 2008-09 was higher than the average annual growth rate of 1.2% for the five years to June 2009.

SLA POPULATION CHANGE, New South Wales - 2008-09
Diagram: SLA POPULATION CHANGE, New South Wales—2008–09


In the year to June 2009, the population of the Sydney SD increased by 85,400 people to 4.50 million. The Sydney SD represented about 63% of the total NSW population, and had the highest annual growth rate (1.9%) of any SD in NSW.

The ten LGAs with the largest growth in NSW were all within the Sydney SD in 2008-09. Blacktown (C) in Sydney's west recorded the largest increase (6,900 people), followed by the neighbouring LGAs of Parramatta (C) and The Hills Shire (A) (both 4,800). Liverpool (C) (4,600) in the south-west and the inner-city LGA of Sydney (C) (4,500) had the next largest population increases. All 43 LGAs in the Sydney SD increased in population, though Hunter's Hill (A) and Mosman (A), both in lower northern Sydney, and Burwood (A) in the inner west grew by 310 people or less.

In 2008-09, almost half of all Sydney's LGAs had an annual growth rate equal to or higher than the NSW average of 1.7%. The five fastest growing LGAs in NSW were all within the Sydney SD, including the adjacent LGAs of Canada Bay (A) (4.7%) and Strathfield (A) (3.4%) in the inner west, and Auburn (A) (3.7%) in central western Sydney.


ERP at 30 June
Population Change


Blacktown (C)
299 800
6 900
Parramatta (C)
167 400
4 800
The Hills Shire (A)
176 500
4 800
Liverpool (C)
182 300
4 600
Sydney (C)
177 900
4 500


Canada Bay (A)
76 000
3 400
Auburn (A)
76 500
2 700
Strathfield (A)
36 500
1 200
Camden (A)
55 200
1 600
Parramatta (C)
167 400
4 800


At June 2009, the population in the remainder of NSW was 2.63 million people (37% of the NSW population). The population had increased by 34,100 people (or 1.3%) since June 2008. The Hunter SD, on the coast north of Sydney, experienced the largest population increase of all SDs in the remainder of NSW (up 8,600 people). The coastal SDs of Illawarra (5,800), Mid-North Coast (3,900) and Richmond-Tweed (3,500) also recorded large increases. The Far West was the only SD in NSW to experience a population decline, losing 100 people.

The fastest growing NSW SDs outside Sydney were South Eastern (1.6%), Richmond-Tweed (1.5%), Hunter and Illawarra (both 1.4%). The Murray and Far West SDs both recorded annual growth rates below 1.0%.

Coastal Change

At June 2009, around 20% of the NSW population (1.41 million people) lived in coastal LGAs (LGAs with a boundary adjoining the sea) outside the Sydney SD. Combined, the population of these coastal LGAs grew by 18,400 people (1.3%) between June 2008 and June 2009.

All 21 NSW coastal LGAs outside the Sydney SD experienced population increases, though only Tweed (A) exceeded the state average of 1.7%. Lake Macquarie (C) in the Hunter region had the largest growth, with an increase of 2,900 people. Large population increases were also recorded in Wollongong (C) (2,200) in the Illawarra region and Tweed (A) (1,800) on the far north coast of the state.

The fastest population growth occurred in Tweed (A) with an increase of 2.0%, followed by Clarence Valley (A) on the mid-north coast, and Shoalhaven (C) and Shellharbour (C) in the Illawarra (all 1.6%). Port Stephens (A) and Lake Macquarie (C) in the Hunter region and Byron (A) on the far north coast all grew by 1.5%

Inland Population Change

At June 2009, about 17% of the NSW population (1.22 million people) lived in inland LGAs (outside the Sydney SD and coastal NSW). The combined population of these inland LGAs grew by 15,800 people (1.3%) between June 2008 and June 2009.

Approximately four in five inland LGAs experienced population growth in 2008-09. Maitland (C) in the Hunter region experienced the largest population increase for an inland LGA in 2008-09 (up 1,200 people). Other LGAs with large population increases included Tamworth Regional (A) (1,100), Wagga Wagga (C) (980), Queanbeyan (C) (880) and Bathurst Regional (A) (840).

Over one-fifth of the 88 inland LGAs in NSW had growth rates higher than the 1.7% recorded for the whole of NSW. Some of the fastest growing inland LGAs in NSW were Palerang (A) (2.9%), Yass Valley (A) (2.3%), and Queanbeyan (C) (2.2%), which all share borders with the Australian Capital Territory. Fast growth rates also occurred in Junee (A) (2.4%) in the Murrumbidgee region, and Blayney (A) (2.3%) in central west NSW.

All population decreases in NSW occurred in inland LGAs, with the largest decline in Broken Hill (C) in the far west, followed by Brewarrina (A) in the north-west.


The population density of NSW at June 2009 was 8.9 people per square kilometre (sq km), the third highest of all states and territories. The population density of the Sydney SD was 370 people per sq km, equal to all Australian capital cities combined.

Six of the ten most densely populated SLAs in the country were located in the Sydney SD. Sydney (C) - East had the highest population density in Australia (8,600 people per sq km). Sydney (C) - West (7,700) and Waverley (A) (7,400), which contains the beach-side suburbs of Bondi and Bronte, were the third and fourth highest in Australia.

The SLAs with the lowest population densities within the Sydney SD were the outlying areas of Wollondilly (A) (16.9 people per sq km) to the south west, followed by Hawkesbury (C) (22.9) to the north-west and the Blue Mountains (C) (54.3) to the west. These three SLAs combined comprise 56% of the total area of the Sydney SD and include several state forests, conservation areas and national parks.

In 2008-09, the SLA with the largest increase in population density was Sydney (C) - Inner, which increased from 5,700 people per sq km to 6,000 people per sq km an increase of 240 people per sq km. The next largest increases in density occurred in Canada Bay (A) - Concord (up 230 people per sq km) and Sydney (C) - East (200).

Diagram: POPULATION DENSITY, Sydney SD—June 2009


The centre of population for NSW at June 2009 was on the banks of the Hawkesbury River in the LGA of The Hills Shire (A). Between June 2004 and June 2009, the centre moved approximately 1.2 kilometres east. This reflects strong population growth along the NSW coast.

At June 2009, the centre of population of the Sydney SD was just north of Parramatta River in the suburb of Ermington.


For a full list of LGA populations, see the Downloads tab.

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