Melbourne Is Now Officially Australia’s Biggest City

Thanks to the technicality

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After being the second largest city overtaken by Sydney, Melbourne has officially become the biggest city in Australia as the Victorian capital has slipped ahead on a technicality. 

According to the 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Melbourne’s Urban Area has been expanded to include the district of Melton on the city’s northwestern fringe, boosting the population of the Melbourne urban area to 4,875,390. 

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The total population of Melbourne is around 5.8 million, with 18,700 more people than Sydney. 

Despite the population of Greater Sydney remaining larger than Greater Melbourne, the official forecast is that the number will only last for a few years. 

The federal government has also predicted that Melbourne will overtake Sydney in January 2031. 

Andrew Howe, a demographer from the ABS’s Regional Population Unit, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the Sydney significant area had a higher population than Melbourne until the 2021 census definition. 

“However, with the amalgamation of Melton into Melbourne in the latest significant urban area classification, Melbourne has more people than Sydney and has had since 2018,” Mr Howe said. 

“The 2021 census told us that Melton and the rest of Greater Melbourne was now, statistically, one contiguous area,” he said. 

New South Wales’s population is expected to rise to 9.1 million by 2032 to 2033, remaining the most populous state in Australia.  

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17 April 2023

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