Capital cities approach pre-pandemic population growth

Media Release

The population of Australia's capital cities grew by 205,400 people in 2021-22, with growth in the regions also strong (up 102,700 people) according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Beidar Cho, ABS head of demography said: “Australia's combined capital city population grew in 2021-22, after an unprecedented decline in 2020-21”.

“We saw capital city population decline by 47,300 people in 2020-21, due to COVID-19 related changes to migration patterns,” Ms Cho said.

“Before this, the combined capital city population increased by 217,000 in 2019-20 and 277,400 in 2018-19.”

Brisbane (up 59,200) and Melbourne (55,000) grew the most in 2021-22, with Sydney and Perth each increasing by more than 30,000 people.

Brisbane also had the highest growth rate (2.3 per cent) in 2021-22, followed by Perth (1.5 per cent) and Adelaide (1.1 per cent).

“Combined, Australia’s capital cities grew at the same rate as regional Australia, with both populations increasing by 1.2 per cent over the year,” Ms Cho said.

Capital CityPopulation change 2021–22 (no.)Population change 2021–22 (%) Population 30 June 2022
Sydney37,3000.7 5,297,100
Melbourne55,0001.1 5,031,200
Brisbane59,2002.3 2,628,100
Adelaide16,1001.1 1,418,500
Perth32,2001.5 2,224,500
Hobart1,6000.7 252,700
Darwin7800.5 149,600
Canberra3,1000.7 456,700
All capitals205,4001.2 17,458,300
Regional Australia102,7001.2 8,537,900

The largest growth areas in the country were mostly in outer-suburban parts of capital cities, where population growth was driven by people moving into these areas from other parts of Australia.

Over 2021-22, the area of Rockbank - Mount Cottrell in Melbourne's west grew by 5,000 people. Schofields - East in Blacktown (up 4,300) and Ripley in Ipswich (2,700) grew the most in Sydney and Brisbane respectively.

Capital CityLargest growing areaPopulation change 2021–22
SydneySchofields - East4,300
MelbourneRockbank - Mount Cottrell5,000
AdelaideMunno Para West - Angle Vale1,500
PerthAlkimos - Eglinton1,400
DarwinPalmerston - South760
CanberraDenman Prospect740

Outside the greater capital cities, the largest growth areas in Australia over 2021-22 were Caloundra West – Baringa (up 1,800) and Landsborough (1,600) in Queensland, Charlemont (1,500) in Victoria and Albion Park - Macquarie Pass (1,500) in New South Wales.

Media notes

  • Unless otherwise stated, capital cities mentioned in this release are Greater Capital City Statistical Areas and areas are Statistical Areas Level 2 as defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Canberra time Mon-Fri).
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