Sydney Population 2021

4,991,654
map placeholder

Sydney's 2021 population is now estimated at 4,991,654. In 1950, the population of Sydney was 1,689,935. Sydney has grown by 65,667 since 2015, which represents a 1.33% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Sydney, which typically includes Sydney's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Sydney is the largest city in Australia and, as host to the Olympic Games in 2000, is probably the country's most well known city. Although not the capital of Australia, it is the capital of New South Wales. In 2016, the population was estimated to be 4.92 million.

The results of the 2011 census, released in June 2012, showed that that the official population of Sydney was 4,391,674. In the five years since the last census, in 2006, it has grown by 6.6 percent. Estimates in 2016 place the population at 4.92 million, and this number is expected to exceed 5 million by the end of 2016.

Australia's population in 2016 is just under 22 million so, to put this into some perspective, it might help to think that roughly one in every five Australians lives in Sydney.

Growth in Sydney

Sydney is growing quickly - so quickly in fact that it might have as many as 7 million residents by 2060 - not much smaller than the population of London today. Rival Melbourne, however, is growing at a faster rate and is tipped by many to become Australia's largest city within the next 25 years. Read more in our article about the population of Melbourne.

Sydney is widely recognized as being one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the world - almost 45% of the people who live in Sydney today were born outside of Australia. The largest country of origin for Sydney residents in the United Kingdom (4.3% of Sydney residents, or about 175,000 people, are from the UK originally), closely followed by China (3.5% of residents).

Population Ancestry in Sydney

Looking at the ancestry of Sydney's residents gives plenty of clues about how the city's diverse identity has developed and changed over time. Although 25.7% of Sydney's inhabitants claim Australian ancestry (which is different from their country of birth), over 40% claim ancestry that is either English, Scottish or Irish, a legacy of Australia's colonial past. However, reflecting more recent waves of immigration into Australia, 8.2% of people in Sydney have Chinese ancenstry, 4.2% Italian ancestry, 2.5% have German ancenstry, and 2.6% have Greek ancestry.

Religious Demographics of Sydney

In terms of religion, Sydney is largely a Christian dominated city. According to 2011 figures, Roman Catholics comprise the single largest religious groups in Sydney (28.3%), follwed by Anglicans (16.1%), Eastern Orthodox (4.8%) and Islam (4.4%). A further 17.6% reported that they had no religion.

History of Sydney Population Growth

The area that is today's Sydney was home to many aboriginal people - perhaps as many as 8,000 - at the time of Sydney's founding as a penal colony in 1788, although with no kind of reliable data available it is difficult to be certain. It is believed, though, that within a year or two of the founding of Sydney an outbreak of smallpox decimated the local population, leaving under a thousand aboriginal residents and paving the way for the city to expand without any serious restriction.

By 1800, the new colony had become firmly established and had grown to around 3,000 people -- not just convicts and jailers but also emancipated convicts who had served their time and had been freed to live in Australia. The town soon began to develop like any other and banks, churches and other public institutions were soon being established. The population of the town of Sydney grew steadily, and by 1851, it had reached an estimated 39,000.

The advent of the Sydney Gold Rush in the 1850s saw the population rocket upwards, and by 1871 the population of Sydney was around 200,000. The increasingly confident city soon began lobbying against its great rival Melbourne to become Australia's capital city, although ultimately their dispute was settled by the decision to develop a neutrally located capital in Canberra instead.

By the early 1920s, Sydney had grown to over 1 million residents, and it has continued to grow steadily through the 20th century and into the 21st centuries as it attracted wave after wave of immigrants - firstly from England, then from other European countries and more recently from countries around the globe - to create the modern, multicultural population of Sydney that we see today.

Sydney Population 2021

Year Population Growth Rate Growth
20355,875,3091.06%61,400
20345,813,9091.07%61,539
20335,752,3701.09%61,761
20325,690,6091.10%62,060
20315,628,5491.12%62,431
20305,566,1181.14%62,862
20295,503,2561.16%63,275
20285,439,9811.18%63,582
20275,376,3991.20%63,758
20265,312,6411.22%63,853
20255,248,7881.23%63,892
20245,184,8961.25%64,002
20235,120,8941.27%64,323
20225,056,5711.30%64,917
20214,991,6541.33%65,667
20204,925,9871.37%66,555
20194,859,4321.40%67,151
20184,792,2811.79%84,131
20174,708,1501.79%82,654
20164,625,4961.79%81,203
20154,544,2931.78%79,668
20144,464,6251.78%78,271
20134,386,3541.78%76,794
20124,309,5601.79%75,656
20114,233,9041.64%68,166
20104,165,7381.64%67,050
20094,098,6881.63%65,881
20084,032,8071.64%65,000
20073,967,8071.64%63,865
20063,903,9420.75%29,117
20053,874,8250.75%28,767
20043,846,0580.75%28,632
20033,817,4260.75%28,380
20023,789,0460.75%28,169
20013,760,877-0.50%-18,827
20003,779,704-0.50%-19,103
19993,798,807-0.50%-19,174
19983,817,981-0.50%-19,271
19973,837,252-0.50%-19,341
19963,856,5930.98%37,333
19953,819,2600.98%37,074
19943,782,1860.98%36,714
19933,745,4720.98%36,307
19923,709,1650.98%36,055
19913,673,1101.13%41,170
19903,631,9401.13%40,740
19893,591,2001.13%40,227
19883,550,9731.14%39,886
19873,511,0871.13%39,383
19863,471,7041.14%39,269
19853,432,4351.14%38,774
19843,393,6611.15%38,440
19833,355,2211.14%37,954
19823,317,2671.14%37,524
19813,279,7430.85%27,632
19803,252,1110.85%27,423
19793,224,6880.85%27,154
19783,197,5340.85%26,926
19773,170,6080.85%26,663
19763,143,9450.84%26,039
19753,117,9060.83%25,785
19743,092,1210.83%25,572
19733,066,5490.83%25,326
19723,041,2230.84%25,186
19713,016,0374.27%123,560
19702,892,4774.29%119,011
19692,773,4664.29%113,960
19682,659,5064.30%109,573
19672,549,9334.29%104,917
19662,445,0162.29%54,792
19652,390,2242.28%53,368
19642,336,8562.29%52,319
19632,284,5372.29%51,078
19622,233,4592.29%49,936
19612,183,5232.29%48,850
19602,134,6732.29%47,889
19592,086,7842.29%46,749
19582,040,0352.29%45,702
19571,994,3332.29%44,618
19561,949,7152.29%43,739
19551,905,9762.29%42,699
19541,863,2772.39%43,461
19531,819,8162.39%42,394
19521,777,4222.39%41,519
19511,735,9032.72%45,968
19501,689,9350.00%

Sydney Population Data (Urban Area)

Name 2021 Population 2021 Growth
Melbourne5,061,4391.89%
Sydney4,991,6541.33%
Brisbane2,439,4671.38%
Perth2,067,3331.24%
Adelaide1,345,4450.68%
Gold Coast710,6501.63%
Canberra462,2131.07%
Newcastle453,5150.70%
Sunshine Coast353,2811.86%
Central Coast336,7140.54%
Wollongong307,4770.70%

Other Cities in Australia

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics - Regional population growth for New South Wales
  2. New South Wales Government - New South Wales population and household projections
  3. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations

Sources