Demographic analysts McCrindle Research discuss the heart of Australia (the population centre of our Nation) which currently lies in Western NSW. This analysis also looks at the population centres of Australia’s largest state and city.
Australia’s Population Centre: Ivanhoe NSW
The Centre of Population is the point that is the closest to the entire population, and so it marks the point that is the shortest distance to every person in the population. In other words there are as many people to the west as to the east of that point, and similarly, there are as many north as south of that point.
Currently Australia’s population centre is located in far west NSW, in the Central Darling area, near Ivanhoe, a small rural town with a population of 265 people. Central Darling is comprised mostly of desert land and representative of the typical Australian outback. Compared to five years ago, the centre of population has shifted about 12km north-west. This is due to the population growth in both Queensland and Western Australia which has pulled the focal point.
Australia’s Population Centre 2025: Wilcannia, NSW
Based on this annual shift, Australia’s population centre in 2025 will have shifted north-west to the town of Wilcannia, with a population of around 600.
The state of Western Australia has seen the fastest population growth rate in Australia over the last half decade, with a growth rate of 2.7% - almost double the current national growth rate! Unlike the other states, the growth rate of WA’s regional areas (3.7%) greatly exceeds the growth rate of its capital (2.4%). Mineral-rich and mining regions significantly added to the boom, with the South West the state’s fastest growing district.
In the last five years, Queensland has had the second fastest population growth rate nationally (2.3%), reaching 4.58 million. However, in total numbers it grew by more people than WA (74,849 compared to 55,838 in WA). Queensland’s growth can be attributed to a growing love of coastal regions, with the South-East coast of Queensland attributing for 69% of overall growth in the past year. These areas include Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and West Moreton.
NSW Population Centre: South Maroota in The Hills Shire
The centre of population for NSW is currently located north of Sydney in The Hills Shire, near South Maroota and not far from the banks of the Hawkesbury River. The centre of NSW population is north of Sydney, due to the population pull of the Central Coast, Newcastle and the North Coast however, in the last five years, the centre shifted 1.3 kilometres in a south-easterly direction, indicating the increasing population growth in Sydney, the South Coast and along the NSW coast generally compared to inland NSW.
Sydney’s Population Centre: Ermington
Currently, the centre of population of Sydney is located in Ermington, just north of the Parramatta River. While Sydney’s population centre had consistently been heading west due to the growth in both the North-West (Blacktown is currently NSW largest growing area and Parramatta is second) and the South West growth corridors (Liverpool and Bankstown are ranked fourth and fifth in NSW for growth), this has been balanced somewhat by the growth in the city (third largest growth area in NSW), and the Inner West and Eastern Suburbs.
The balance of urban sprawl in the Western suburbs with infill growth in the established suburbs is validated by the fact that Ermington has remained Sydney’s population centre for the last five years. The population of western Sydney is greater than the combined populations of Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.
Social demographer Mark McCrindle said “As Australia’s largest city, Sydney dominates the population accommodating 1 in 5 Australians and almost 2 in 3 NSW residents. It recorded Australia’s largest population growth of any city, and it also has the Nation’s highest population density of 380 people per square kilometre which is the same as that of all other Australian capital cities combined!”
Source: The Australian Bureau of Statistics. McCrindle Research.
For further analysis: For more information or to organise an interview with demographer and social analyst Mark McCrindle, please contact Francesca Dalton on 02 8824 3422 or email [email protected]