The results of the 2016 Census today revealed Greater Sydney continues its push out west.
It has been less than 10 months since the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) took the pulse of the nation to find out who we are, how we live, what we do, and where we’re headed.
The Census was used to update NSW’s estimated resident population, which at December 31, 2016 had grown to 7,797,791 people.
The 2016 Census counted 7,480,228 usual residents of NSW on Census night, an 8.1 per cent increase from 2011. The State’s capital also retains its crown as Australia’s largest population centre, with 4,823,991 people now calling Greater Sydney home – an increase of 9.8 per cent.
The fastest growing regions in NSW reflect the ever-expanding geographic footprint of Greater Sydney. Bringelly – Green Valley in the city’s south-west experienced the greatest population growth since 2011, with an increase of 23,000 people (28 per cent) to 103,000 people.
Approximately 34 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD, North Blacktown was the next fastest growing region, with its population increasing 18,000 people (24 per cent) to 93,000 people.
Outside the hustle and bustle of Greater Sydney, Maitland is the fastest growing region in NSW, with a population growth of 15.5 per cent, followed by Port Macquarie (8.1 per cent) and the Southern Highlands (7.8 per cent).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples made up 2.9 per cent of the State’s population, an increase of 43,556 people since 2011. NSW has the highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of all Australian States with 216,176 people, followed by Queensland and Western Australia.
The Census once again shows the diversity of NSW, with more than a one in four (27.6 per cent) of the State’s residents born overseas, up from 24.3 per cent in 2011.
In the past five years, there has been a dramatic shift in the most commonly reported country of birth by NSW residents. In 2016, China (234,508 people) was the leading country of birth outside Australia, followed by England (226,564 people) and India (143,459 people), a swing from the previously ranked England, China and New Zealand in 2011.
Despite this shift, more than two thirds of NSW residents (69 per cent) only speak English at home – down from 73 per cent in 2011. The most common languages other than English spoken in NSW homes were Mandarin, Arabic and Cantonese. Only 4.5 per cent of NSW residents reported that they spoke English not well or not at all.
Christianity remains the most commonly reported religion in NSW, accounting for more than half the State’s population – approximately 4.1 million people. However, one in four people (25.1 per cent) reported they had ‘No religion’, up from 17.5 per cent in 2011.
The State’s median monthly mortgage repayment actually decreased slightly (0.4 per cent) to $1,986 per month. Over the same period, the median weekly rent for a dwelling in NSW increased by 27 per cent over the past five years to $380 – the joint highest figure in the country.
The median weekly personal income in NSW increased from $561 in 2011 to $664 in 2016, an 18 per cent rise. North Sydney was the Local Government Area with the State’s highest median income at $1,386.
Australian Statistician David W. Kalisch said Census data is high quality, thanks to the participation of Australians.
“The Independent Assurance Panel I established to provide extra assurance and transparency of Census data quality concluded that the 2016 Census data can be used with confidence,” Mr Kalisch said.
“The 2016 Census had a response rate of 95.1 per cent and a net undercount of 1.0 per cent. This is a quality result, comparable to both previous Australian Censuses and Censuses in other countries, such as New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
“Furthermore, 63 per cent of people completed the Census online, embracing the digital-first approach and contributing to faster data processing and data quality improvements.
“2016 Census data provides a detailed, accurate and fascinating picture of Australia, which will be used to inform critical policy, planning and service delivery decisions for our communities over the coming years.”