The rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne has always run deep. But now we’ll know when Melbourne will claim the title as the biggest city.
Melbourne is expected to overtake Sydney as Australia’s largest city by 2026.
New modelling from the Centre for Population has revealed 6.2 million people are expected live in the Victorian capital by 2030 – surpassing the 6 million projected in Sydney.
The report has also revealed the devastating affects of the COVID-19 pandemic with 2020 expected to have the slowest population growth since the first world war.
“We all know the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, but the impact on our population has been equally extraordinary,” Population Minister Alan Tudge said.
“This has largely been due to closing the international borders and the resultant change in net overseas migration.”
Australia’s population is expected to have about 1.1 million fewer people over the next decade than it would have in the absence of the coronavirus.
The Lucky Country had averaged intakes of more than 200,000 people a year over the past decade.
However, the nation is projected to have more people leave the nation than enter over the next year.
Internal migration also took a hit with states locking down their borders to stop the spread of coronavirus.
This is expected to result in the largest year-on-year drop in interstate migration in 40 years.
It will also contribute to a lower fertility rate – 1.58 babies per woman – next year, and an older population, as some people delay decisions to have children.
Australia’s population stands at 25.7 million people and is expected to increase to 28.8 million by June 2031, three years later than estimated due to COVID-19.
However, the impact of the pandemic will not be felt evenly across the country given Victoria’s second coronavirus wave.
“This is expected to lead to a short-term increase in out-migration from Victoria, and Greater Melbourne in particular, relative to other jurisdictions,” the report states.
Some areas outside of the capitals in South Australia and Tasmania are also projected to have more deaths than births over the next few years, with this occurring in parts of NSW in 2030 too.
The report is the first statement from the Centre for Population, which was established in 2019.