2016 Census shows Aussies choosing urban living: Chris Johnson

2016 Census shows Aussies choosing urban living: Chris Johnson
2016 Census shows Aussies choosing urban living: Chris Johnson


The results of the 2016 Australian Census clearly demonstrate the swing to urban living across the country.

In the five years between the 2011 census and the 2016 census Australia’s capital cities have grown by 10.5 percent compared to the rest of the country at 5.7 percent.

Two thirds of Australians now live in our capital cities with Sydney and Melbourne being the largest cities.

The swing to a more urban population is also demonstrated by the growth in the number of people now living in urban apartments. In 2011 Sydney’s apartment dwellers were 25.8 percent of home dwellers and this has grown to 28.1 percent in the 2016 census.

With around 70 percent of all dwellings constructed in Sydney over the last year being apartments the percentage of dwellings that are apartments will continue to grow.

Another growing trend is towards renting apartments in cities. In 2011, 31.6 percent of residents were renters in Sydney and this has grown to 34.8 percent in the 2016 census.

As cities like Sydney and Melbourne increase their populations over the next 40 years both will become cities of 8 million people.

This is the same size as the current populations of London and New York so we must plan for this type of city in the future.

The swing to apartment living will inevitably lead to greater densities in cities like Sydney and these will be mainly in apartment buildings located around railway stations. Just like the impressive Metro and Subway rail systems of New York and London, Sydney and Melbourne will need to develop sophisticated metro rail networks to underpin where future densities are located.

An interesting statistic in the census data is that for the first time in our history the majority of people born overseas are from Asia not Europe. This is a trend that will continue and this is likely to increase the swing towards more urban living in higher densities.

The Urban Taskforce developed an Urban Living Index with McCrindle Research based on the 2011 census to measure the quality of urban living across Sydney. We will be updating the index with the 2016 census data to see which suburbs of Sydney rate highest in terms of urban living.

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here.

Home Ownership Census

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