Population growth

With almost one-third of the total national population (8 million residents in 2016–171), New South Wales is Australia's largest domestic market.

The state's resident population increased by 134,144 people in the year to 30 June 2017, or 1.7%. Overseas migration continues to play an important role in the state's population growth, as well as deepening the base of skills and languages.

Sydney is Australia's largest city, with the greater metropolitan area home to more than 5 million people as at June 2017, accounting for 64% of the New South Wales (NSW) population.

Together with Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong account for almost three-quarters of NSW's population2:

  • Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region—65 kilometres to the north of Sydney, with 359,106 people
  • Illawarra region—85 kilometres to the south of Sydney, with 293,494 people

In 2016–173, the largest population increases in NSW were all within Greater Sydney. The outer south-west, Cobbitty–Leppington had the largest growth in terms of absolute numbers, increasing by 4,100 to reach 22,600 people. Large growth also occurred in Riverstone–Marsden Park (3,800) in north-west Sydney, and the inner-city, Waterloo–Beaconsfield (2,600).

In Greater Sydney, Cobbitty–Leppington also had the fastest growth (22%). This was followed by Riverstone–Marsden Park (21%), Arncliffe–Bardwell Valley (8.6%), Homebush Bay–Silverwater (8.0%) and Waterloo–Beaconsfield (7.4%).

Population estimates - Australian states, territories and capital cities3
State/territory State/territory population % Aust. pop. Capital city Capital city pop.3 % of State/
territory pop.
New South Wales 8,023,70031.9Sydney 5,131,32663.9
Victoria 6,497,70025.8 Melbourne 4,850,74074.6
Queensland 4,565,529 20.1 Brisbane 2,408,22347.8
Western Australia 2,602,40010.3 Perth 2,403,13878.5
South Australia 1,740,7006.9 Adelaide 1,333,92776.6
Tasmania 529,9002.1 Hobart 226,88442.8
Australian Capital Territory 422,5001.6 Canberra 422,500100
Northern Territory 247,2000.9 Darwin 146,61259.3
Australia 22,710,352 100.0 Total 15,015,290 66.1


  1. ABS 2016 Census.
  2. ABS 3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Sep 2018. Includes Other Territories comprising Jervis Bay Territory, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.
  3. ABS 3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016-17. Estimated Resident Population (ERP) at 30 June 2017, States and Territories - Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs). Capital cities mentioned in this release are Greater Capital City Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2) as defined in the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).