Population growth

With almost one third of the total national population, or 7.7 million residents in 2015–16, New South Wales is Australia's largest domestic market.

The state's resident population increased by 82,600 people in the year to June 2016, or 1.4%. 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 2016, accounting for 65% of the New South Wales population.

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

  • Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region—65 kilometres to the north of Sydney, with 374,227 people
  • Illawarra region—85 kilometres to the south of Sydney, with 303,590 people.

While the western, south west and inner city suburbs of Sydney have been the major contributors to NSW's growth in the last five years, the Hunter, Illawarra and South Eastern regions have also recorded strong population growth over this period.

Population Estimates - Australian States, Territories and Capital Cities1,2
State/territory State/territory population % Aust. pop. Capital city Capital city pop.3 % of State/
territory pop.
New South Wales 7,726,924532.1 Sydney 4,672,619 64.0
Victoria 5,629,122 24.8 Melbourne 4,248,344 75.5
Queensland 4,565,529 20.1 Brisbane 2,192,065 48.0
Western Australia 2,432,706 10.7 Perth 1,899,999 78.1
South Australia 1,656,299 7.3 Adelaide 1,278,432 77.2
Tasmania 512,333 2.3 Hobart 216,981 42.4
Australian Capital Territory 374,912 1.7 Canberra 374,912 100.0
Northern Territory 235,182 1.0 Darwin 131,938 56.1
Australia4 22,710,352 100.0 Total 15,015,290 66.1


  1. Estimates of resident population are based on Census counts by place of usual residence adjusted for Census undercount, to which are added the number of Australian residents estimated to have been temporarily overseas at the time of the Census. Overseas visitors are excluded. Estimates are then    backdated from Census night to the 30th June by adjusting for births, deaths and migration (both internal and overseas) during this period.
  2. Revised estimates, as at June 2012
  3. Based on the ABS' Greater Capital City Statistical Areas structure of the 2011 ASGS classification
  4. Includes Other Territories, i.e. Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay
  5. ABS Cat. 3218.0 Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2015–16

Source: Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 3218.0)