Sydney at 5 million and the growth of The Hills Shire

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sydney has now officially hit a new population milestone of 5 million, and almost half of the population (2.2 million) reside in the 14 local government areas that make up Western Sydney of which The Hills is one.

If Western Sydney was a city in its own right, it would be the 4th largest city in Australia after Melbourne, the rest of Sydney, and Brisbane. While Western Sydney is just slightly smaller than Brisbane’s population of 2.3 million, it is growing 30% faster than Brisbane.

The population of The Hills is greater than the population of Darwin, and the two local government areas of Blacktown and The Hills have a combined population almost the same size as the entire state of Tasmania. This growth is evident in the increasing development seen around the Hills. The increasing urbanisation has raised the density of The Hills to 4.15 people per hectare, above Hornsby Shire’s 3.69 and well above Hawkesbury’s 0.24.

What differs the hills to the rest of Sydney?

The Hills Shire is now almost 10% larger than that recorded in the 2011 Census. Not only is the Hills population growing faster than the national growth rate, but the average household is significantly larger than the Australian average (3.1 compared to 2.6 people per household) and the district is home to a higher proportion of students, university educated adults and full time workers than both the national and state averages. The region is more culturally diverse with 3 in 5 residents having at least one parent born overseas compared to less than half of Australians nationally. The proportion of school-age children locally is 20% higher than the Sydney average, and those in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are similarly well above the greater-Sydney average.

Age gap in the Hills Shire

There is a hole in the Hills’ demographic, a 15-year gap in the numbers of locals aged 23 to 38. This missing group, neatly lining up with Generation Y, is a staggering 20% smaller than is average across the rest of Sydney. In fact, while there has been an increase in numbers of almost every age group over the 5 years between the last two Census reports, for the mid 20’s to mid-30’s there has actually been a decrease in numbers.

Entrepreneurial hotspot

The Sydney Hills is also an entrepreneurial hotspot, with 32,191 actively trading local businesses. So while the local population represents less than 0.7% of Australia, the number of businesses is more than twice this share at 1.5% of all Australian businesses. And with the new transport infrastructure, commercial constructions and emerging urban centres, the number of new business start-ups in the Hills will only grow.

The future of the Hills Shire

The future for the Hills will include more pockets of urbanisation which will create options for those looking for apartment living, walkable communities and a café culture. However, the size and diversity of the area will mean that the suburban and semi-rural nature of other parts will remain and the overall density will never reach the highs of local government areas like Parramatta which currently has 27.48 people per hectare. Not too many parts of Australia offer high-density living options just 10 minutes’ drive from acreage. Little wonder The Hills is one of the fastest growing regions in NSW.


Mark McCrindle will present the results of the 2017 Hills Business PSI, the third year of this study this Friday at the Sydney Hills Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Lunch at which the Premier will deliver the keynote address.

If you would like a copy of the full Hills PSI Report please let us know and we will make it available after Friday’s launch.

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