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Sydney is getting larger and increasing its share of the NSW population. Over the past ten years, the city’s population increased by 18 per cent, bringing it up to 60 per cent of the state’s population. In the same time, regional NSW grew by 9 per cent.

Sydney’s households are not just growing in number- they are changing in other ways too, as seen in the 2016 Census. 


Households are getting larger… just


For the first time in a decade, the average number of people per household in Sydney increased from 2.8 (2011) to 2.9 (2016). 

Half this growth is because family households with children grew, from 3.1 people to 3.2 people. This was due to more children being born into existing family households. 

Just over 15 per cent of the growth was a result of a marginal increases in multiple family households (up from 5.5 people per households to 5.6). Ten per cent was due to growth in group households (think the TV show Friends), which got marginally larger.


Couple families with children living in separate houses dominate housing demand


More than one in four households living in Sydney are made up of mum, dad and kids living in separate houses, with numbers up by 10,200 to 415,700 households. 


The push for the missing middle: families with children in higher density housing on the rise


Just over 38,400 families with children were living in higher density (four or more storey) apartment blocks. This is an increase of 14,500 (60 per cent) from 2011. The overall supply of higher density grew by just over a third.

In comparison, 74,100 families with children now live in semi-detached, terrace or townhouses, a 43 per cent increase from 2011. The supply of these types of homes increased by 33 per cent from 2011. 


Sydney’s housing supply is changing


Over the last five years, the overall share of Sydney’s properties with two bedrooms remained steady at around 26 per cent of all stock; increasing from 360,000 to 383,000. One-bedroom properties increased in share from 8.1 per cent (2011) to 8.8 per cent (2016). Properties with four or more bedrooms saw an increase in overall share; up from 29.1 per cent (2011) to 31.2 per cent in 2016. There are, currently 462,000 properties with four or more bedrooms in Sydney. 

Three bedroom properties, while remaining the largest overall property form in Sydney declined in share, from 36.9 per cent to 34 per cent over the last five years. 

To find out more about NSW household types, click here

The Department’s Economics, Population and Land-use Analytics Branch provides advice, analysis and insights on population, household and home projections. The branch also provides advice on economic issues related to the land-use planning system, economic analysis on housing and employment markets and monitoring and forecasting of land and housing supply and targets, employment land and jobs targets.