New Population forecasts highlight primacy of Sydney and widening City Country population divide

This week the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment published an updated population forecast for NSW. The forecast highlights the ever widening gap in the growth and vitality between Sydney and regional NSW. Sydney will maintain its position as one of the fastest growing major developed cities in the world, growing on average by 110,000 people per annum to reach almost 9 million people (in Greater Sydney) by 2041, placing it in a similar league to major European and US cities. Within Greater Sydney, the LGAs with the youngest population are those with larger proportions of recent international migrants, such as Cumberland, Parramatta and Sydney – with young professionals and university students comprising a significant proportion of those migrants.

In contrast to Sydney, many inland and remote regional communities are showing signs of population stagnation or decline. Whilst the ‘sea change’ and ‘tree change’ effects are particularly visible in the coastal and border LGAs with a much higher proportions of older population compared to Greater Sydney, an on-going trend appears to be occurring whereby younger residents moving to larger urban areas for access to opportunities such as employment and tertiary education which in turn impacts the economic vitality of rural areas.

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