Changing Face of Sydney Transport

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

From high above, aerial images show Sydney un-earthed. These before and after images detail the changing face of Sydney’s suburbs. Major progress is being made on key Sydney infrastructure projects as the city prepares for ongoing population growth.

 Before After 

Sydney’s growing population

Sydney reached 5 million at the end of June 2016. While it took almost 30 years (1971 – 2000) for Sydney's population to increase from 3 million to 4 million people, it took only another 16 years to reach its next million. 

Growing by 83,000 people every 12 months (at 1.7%, above the national average of 1.4%), the city needs infrastructure to keep pace with this population growth.

NSW projections show that NSW will grow to 9.9 million people by 2036. Sydney is two-thirds of this number, so will reach 6.5 million in the next 20 years, and 8 million by 2050.

How we commute to work in Sydney

Almost 2 in 3 Australian commuters get to work by private car (65.5%, up from 65.3% 5 years ago) with just 1 in 10 relying on public transport. The 2011 Census showed that 58% of Sydneysiders commute to work by car, 9% by train, 5% by bus, and a further 4% walked. 

Social researcher Eliane Miles notes, "Sydney-siders are spending a significant amount of time moving each day. While the average work trip for a Sydneysider is around 35 minutes, for many Sydneysiders the journey to work takes much longer. Commuters in Sydney's outer suburbs are often spending five times this length (up to 2.5 hours) per trip each way. Sydney is investing more in infrastructure than other world cities of comparable population size, and it is critical that investment in both roads and public transport options continues." 

You can watch the full story on Nine News here

About Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the megatrends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth to social trends such as changing household structures, to generational change and the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

To have Eliane speak at your next event, feel free to contact Kimberley Linco on 02 8824 3422 or

Download Eliane’s professional speakers pack here

Sydney's Rising Star Suburbs

Monday, January 04, 2016

Analysis of the Urban Living Index shows the
top 3 growth areas to watch

The Urban Living Index rates each of Sydney’s suburbs based on five key liveability factors: Community, Employability, Amenity, Accessibility and importantly, Affordability.

While some of Sydney’s most glamorous suburbs such as Bondi, Neutral Bay and Manly did very well on the first four measures, they did not do well in the affordability category. The cost of living and the cost of housing are currently red-hot issues for Sydney siders and so affordability is in many ways the priority issue with the other lifestyle measures remaining purely theoretical for those priced out of an area.

The majority of Sydneysiders (51%) believe that their area will be even less affordable in three years’ time than it is today- which is almost five times as many as those who believe their area will become more affordable. And most strikingly, almost 9 in 10 Sydney residents (88%) state that housing affordability will be a massive or significant challenge for the next generation.

With this in mind, we have analysed the Urban Living Index data of all Sydney suburbs to find the areas that have excellent affordability- but also rate very well on the other lifestyle measures.

While there are 25 suburbs that score 15 or above (out of 20) for affordability, there are three areas in this list that have great results in the other liveability categories as well.

1st Lalor Park

Lalor Park and the adjoining Kings Langley toped our hot spotting list. The affordability score (15) was excellent, and these suburbs have an amenity score (a measure of the number of shops, restaurants, arts and recreation facilities and educational options in the suburb) which was very good. In fact these suburbs scored higher on the local amenity provisions than suburbs including Newport, Wahroonga and Frenchs Forest. Similarly Lalor Park and Kings Langley scored well on accessibility (a measure that looks at public transport, employment access and walkability of an area) and above beach and harbour side suburbs like Avalon and Rose Bay.

While the overall score for Lalor Park-Kings Langley is in the “Very Good” category, its excellent affordability ranking makes it a suburb likely to boom.

2nd Menai

Menai and the adjoining suburbs of Lucas Heights and Woronora are the next suburbs set to take off based on this analysis. Relative to other Sydney suburbs, the affordability is in the excellent category and this is matched by the employability category. So the combination of good employment numbers, a significant local economy and access to housing more affordable than much of Sydney, this area in Sydney’s south is a clear hotspot.

3rd Blaxland

The third most rated area from this affordability and liveability analysis is Blaxland at the foot of the Blue Mountains and the adjoining suburbs of Warrimoo and Lapstone. Just 8 minutes from the M4 motorway, and less than 10 minutes from the Western Sydney suburbs of Penrith and Emu Plains, this area has become part of Sydney’s greater west yet the affordability, along with the community and amenity scores lift it above many areas in the outer western Sydney ring.

As the urban living index data shows, liveability depends on more than just water views and beach access- the practical factors of educational options, employment access, public transport and other built amenity and of course affordability all make an area desirable and facilitate lifestyle. That is why each of these areas have rated on the Index above the well-heeled suburbs of Palm Beach, Belrose and Vaucluse and it is why they stand out as rising stars.

This research we conducted for Urban Taskforce Australia is an example of robust research generating significant media activity and reader interest. This particular piece was summarised in the Sydney Morning Herald here, and as you can see from the image below was in the top 5 most read columns on the day in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age and the Brisbane Times.

For more information

The Urban Living Index was developed by McCrindle for Urban Taskforce Australia. More information and interactive maps are available at

Mark McCrindle and The Changing Face of Sydney

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sydney, the place many of us call home, is Australia’s economic powerhouse. We are adding almost 90,000 people to our city every single year, and the 5 fastest growing areas in New South Wales are all located in Sydney. Back 50 years ago Sydney had just hit 2 million people, we are going to finish next year at 5 million people.

Sydney is a fascinating and complex landscape where old ways and old attitudes are disappearing. We used to have a cringe factor of, “this part of the city is better than that part of the city” and people would perhaps be embarrassed if they weren’t closer to where the action was. That’s all changed. People in Greater Western Sydney embrace that as their moniker, proud of being a Westie.

And when it comes to work the CBD is no longer the cities undisputed top dog. Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution, with entrepreneurial hotspots sprouting up just about everywhere. You’ve got the media and communications hubs around Surry Hills and Ultimo, and high-tech emerging in areas of Parramatta and even in Penrith. It’s not all just happening in the CBD alone.

NSW also has the highest migration of any Australian state, and Sydney – a global city, receives most of this growth. In this city of diversity, the city’s newest citizens form new tribes in its oldest suburbs.

Sydney has many faces, but what binds us, the one thing we all have in common is this often complex, always beautiful, ever-changing city.

The Changing Face of Sydney; Urban Sprawl Goes Vertical

The Changing Face of Sydney; A closer look at Parramatta

The Changing Face of Sydney; Is the Sutherland Shire the new boom town?

The Changing Face of Sydney; The Changing Face of Liverpool

The Changing Face of Sydney; The big Development Flying Under the Rader


Q: Just wondering how many have first language of English?

A: Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse places in Australia. Almost two in three households have at least one parent born overseas, and China may soon overtake England as the country Sydneysiders born overseas were most likely born in.

Q: My children – aged 11 and eight – and I just watched the Changing Face of Sydney. They would like to know how our suburb, Loftus, has changed over the years. Or anything exciting you can tell them about our great suburb.

A: Well it is a fascinating suburb – home to far more families with kids than the state and national average. Averaging two children per household (well above the average) and with more stay-at-home parents than average. Earning more, volunteering more, and with a higher proportion of children than most Sydney suburbs – sounds like a nice, family-friendly place to live.

Q: What does the future of Blacktown look like as a part of the changing face of the western suburbs?

A: Blacktown has consistently been the fastest growing areas in the whole of NSW over the last decade. The Blacktown City area is home to more than 300,000 people, which means it is home to more people than the whole of the Northern Territory!

Q: We have just moved to Mosman from Adelaide, what can you tell me about Mosman, its demographic and its history?

A: Mosman is home to far more females than males - average age is 40, well above Sydney’s 36 and the residents’ earn more and work longer than the NSW average. Three in five of those in the labour force in Mosman work more than 40 hours per week. It is also home to twice the proportion of professionals and managers than the state average.

Q: What are your views on Sydney property growth in the short term? Is this boom likely to continue? NSW future infrastructure projects are encouraged by this strong stamp. What would be the result if the interest rates increase?

A: Yes Sydney’s property prices are no bubble. They are underpinned by more demand (population growth) than supply (new home builds). Not only is Sydney growing around 85,000 people per year, but households are getting smaller so the housing demand is even outstripping population growth. However, Sydney prices will no doubt plateau at some point, as they have before.

Q: Which suburbs have big potential for growth? Where will be more infrastructure developments?

A: Greater Western Sydney is where the population growth is and where there will be a lot of new infrastructure over the decades ahead. Plus prices are beginning from a lower base than the east. And keep in mind that by 2032 Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney (2.9m compared to 2.7m).

Q: My partner and I are planning to buy a house. What is the quietest place in Sydney?

A: The quiet suburbs on the urban fringes – Shanes Park, Cranebrook, Marsden Park, Badgery’s Creek – are acreage at the moment but will be development central in a few years. So the quiet may just be temporary.

Q: Where is the best place to invest, which suburb?

A: Really depends on budget and also having a long-term view. Suburbs change: Redfern, Balmain, Newtown, Campberdown were once not considered desirable suburbs and are now very expensive. So it is good to look at population growth trends and emerging infrastructure. A suburb not “hot” at the moment if it is in Sydney will be a winner long term.

Q: What are the reasons for different ethnicities to settle in the respective suburbs? (Chinese in Hurstville and Chatswood, British in Manly, etc.)

A: Often it is where they have connection/family and so various suburbs end up with strong ethnicities. For example, traditionally Greeks settled in Kogarah, many from Vietnam called Cabramatta home and more recently a strong connection of those from India to Harris Park.

Q: What proportion of the Hills district is evangelical and also now the Shire?

A: The ABS census data shows religion by denomination and it shows that for example the Hills have less than 19 per cent while the Shire has more than 25 per cent Anglicans.

The cost of work: What we pay to work

Monday, August 17, 2015

The unemployment rate is rising, but so are the costs of work. And while living costs and house prices have been rising faster than wages, the costs associated with work are also on the way up. From toll roads to public transport costs, a simple cup of coffee to updating work clothes. From childcare costs to tax increases, Australians are paying to work.

A recent 2015 McCrindle Research study of over 540 working Australians reveals that income doesn’t just generate wealth, it also consumes it. Australians are forking out more than ever on transport costs, clothing and food while they are working, significantly reducing their take-home pay. Incurring travel costs associated with work, work-related education expenses, child-care costs, and income tax all further reduce a full-time worker’s take-home pay to less than two thirds of their gross salary.


95% of working Australians spend their own money on food and beverages during work times, with almost 3 in 4 Australians (74%) purchasing lunch, morning tea, or coffees when at work or when travelling to/from work at least once per week. More than one fifth of Australians (22%) spend their own money on consumable food items every single day while they are at work.


Males tend to eat out more often, with 27% of male employees purchasing food or beverages at least once per day (compared with 16% of females). The frequency at which employees purchase consumables while at work decreases with age. While 78% of Generation Ys and 77% Generation Xs spend their own money on food and beverages at least once per week, this reduces to 60% for the Baby Boomer Generation.


The average Australian employee spends $18.52 on lunches, snacks, and beverages during their workday every week. This takes into consideration the 6% of Australians who don’t spend money on food while they are at work, and ranges to include those who go out more than once a day, some of whom spend over $100 on food and beverages while at work each week. Over a 48-week work year, this average weekly spend accumulates to $889 per year.


In an effort to keep up with the latest styles and fashions or simply to avoid wearing the same thing every day, employees spend hundreds of dollars on clothing per year. Australians report spending an average of $320 each year of their own money on clothes they require directly for work. This includes employees across all industries and factors into account those who spend very little, having uniforms supplied, as well as those who purchase corporate apparel.


After childcare and tax costs, transport is the greatest expense when it comes to work, with the average Australian spending $99.88 each week on work-related petrol costs, tolls, and/or public transport tickets. While public transport cost increases have been modest, the big challenge for workers has been the rising cost of petrol, tolls and car ownership, and this is particularly relevant for the 2 in 3 Australians (65.5%) who travel to work by private vehicle. The average full time worker spends almost $4,800 per year just on getting to and from work.


30% of working Australians spent their own money last year on education and training directly associated with their line of work, averaging to $1,936. Overall (accounting for the 70% who didn’t spend any of their own money on employment-related learning), the average Australian worker spends $588.60 per annum of their own money on training, and much of this, where it is retraining for a new career or role, is not tax deductable.


The Productivity Commission Study into childcare shows the median childcare costs are $7.40 per hour ($74 for a 10 hour day). For those requiring full time childcare for 50 hours per week, this would cost them $370 per week which equates to 22% of the average full time weekly earnings.


The current average full time weekly earnings is $1539.40 per week ($80,049 per annum) which brings this average wage into the third tax bracket (a tax rate of 37 cents per dollar). Based on the 2015-2016 tax schedule this average annual earnings package would attract a tax bill of $16,768.


The average full-time Australian worker who earns $80,049 per annum (current full time adult weekly earnings) is spending $889 of that on lunches, $320 on wardrobe changes, $4,794 on transport costs, $587 on education, $17,760 on child-care (based on 70 hours at average costs) and $16,768 on tax (not including tax deductions). These total work costs add up to $41,118, which is 51% of the average annual gross.


Sydney Vs Melbourne Rivalry [infographic]

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Sunday 7 December, 2014 – Melbourne has been named the world’s most liveable city for the fourth year in a row, but what is it about this city that make’s living there so wonderful, and how does Sydney, which ranked 7th on the same list, compare?

Off the back of the rivalry that exists between these two cities, McCrindle Research decided to gather, analyse, compare and present the most significant data of Sydney and Melbourne in a visualised infographic to show how these global cities measure up.

Sydney Vs Melbourne Infographic

Sydney is larger, but Melbourne is growing faster

While Sydney is larger, with a population of 4,879,000 Melbourne is growing at a rate that is 18% faster, meaning it will be Australia’s largest city by 2050.

“While people tend to think that Sydney is by far Australia’s largest city, its population is only 9% larger than that of Melbourne and the gap is closing. Melbourne added 70,000 more people than Sydney did over the last 5 years and based on the current growth trends, soon after mid-century, Melbourne will be Australia’s largest city”, said Mark McCrindle.

Sydney - home to more international guests

Sydney is more culturally diverse than Melbourne – less Sydneysiders (58.1%) were born in Australia than Melbournites (62.6%). Ancestry also comes into play here, with slightly less Sydneysiders being of Australian ancestry than those living in Melbourne.

Tourism is also more popular in the city of Sydney, with 12,753,000 international arrivals last year, that’s almost twice as many as recorded to have visited Melbourne (7,000,000).

Iconic landmarks and transport

While driving is the most popular commute option for both cities, more Melbournites drive to work than Sydneysiders – an extra 105 025 to be exact. Comparatively, more Sydneysiders walk to work than their fellow Melbournites.

Cycling is more common amongst those living in Melbourne, with 18% less Sydneysiders using this form of transport in their commute to work.

The harbour is a huge feature of Sydney – home to the Sydney Opera House and facilitating the harbour Bridge as well as ferry transportation in and out of the city, it is iconic both visually and practically.

While Sydney’s iconic landmark and mode of transport are facilitated by water, Melbourne’s are firmly set on the ground and have a much older history. Flinders Street Station opened in 1854, 119 years before the Sydney Opera House. On census day, 72,862 Melbournites caught a tram to work, becoming Melbourne’s second most popular commute option (with driving a car being the first).

The weather debate

Perhaps one of the most contentious issues around the Sydney vs. Melbourne debate is the weather. Despite varying temperatures and public perception that Melbourne is worse for the weather, Sydney is the city that receives more rainfall – a total of 1223 mm on average while Melbourne receives less than half of that (603 mm).

However, it seems the perceptions aren’t entirely false as Sydney has hotter temperatures, less cloudy days and a greater number of clear days on average than Melbourne.

Melbourne - home to more passionate sporting fans

It would seem that Melbournites are more involved with their sport, considering Melbourne has larger stadiums and more passionate club members! While Sydney’s largest club is the Sydney Swans with just over 40,000 members, Melbourne’s Collingwood club has double that number of memberships (80,793).

Melbourne and Sydney also play different sports, with 9 Melbourne AFL teams compared to Sydney’s 2, and 9 Sydney NRL teams compared to the one Melbourne Storm team.

Sydney home to ‘the best Olympic games ever’

Melbourne hosted Australia’s first Olympics in 1956, however Sydney’s was dubbed ‘the best Olympic games ever!’ The 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney also gained 23 more medal placing’s than Melbourne’s Summer Olympics, held 44 years before.

Sydney more expensive than Melbourne

While Sydneysiders earn more on average than Melbournites, they also pay 37% more for their houses, with the average house price in Sydney costed at $843,994 compared to just $615,068 in Melbourne.

While the debate for who makes the best coffee is strong between the cities, Melbournites are paying an extra 9 cents per cup than the average Sydney-sider.

The verdict

“Few nations have two cities which dominate the national demographic and economic landscape as Australia has in Sydney and Melbourne. 1 in 5 Australians live in Sydney and another 1 in 5 call Melbourne home. There are as many Australians who live in the two cities of Sydney and Melbourne as there are people in the whole of the states of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory combined”, states social demographer Mark McCrindle.

But regardless of the rivalry, one thing we can all agree on is that both Sydney and Melbourne are global cities, with a rich history, diversity, opportunity and amenity of which all Australians can be proud.

McCrindle in Melbourne

From our base in Sydney, McCrindle has worked with clients from across Australia and the world. Knowing the constantly changing nature of society today we are always looking for ways to increase our capacity to provide innovative social research solutions to our clients, spanning a multitude of sectors and locations.

With that in mind, we at McCrindle are excited to have extended our offering to our clients by establishing an office in Melbourne.

Sydney Vs Melbourne Infographic


Please see the infographic for a visual representation of the data.

For further information, interviews, or images, please contact the McCrindle Research office at 02 8824 3422 or

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Meteorology, McCrindle Research

How do Australians get to work? [in the media]

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mark McCrindleAustralia is growing by 300,000 cars each year and is currently home to 13.3 million registered passenger vehicles – an all-time record high.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle joins ABC’s News Breakfast to talk through the latest social analysis on transport and how Australians get to work.

9 in 10 Australians use a car for some purpose, and 7 in 10 Australians use a car to get to work. Just 1 in 10 Australians use some form of public transport to get to work.

When asked why Australians don’t use public transport, 54% say it’s because public transport options are not readily available to them. In fact, for 1 in 5 that do use public transport, they also use a car to access their bus or train stop.

These figures explain why Australians place such an emphasis on government tax dollars being spent on improving road systems rather than investing in public transport infrastructure.

The urban sprawl that has marked our cities is evident in these figures. Tune in to the segment as Mark discusses the latest social analysis:

ABC News Breakfast also takes an in-depth look at McCrindle's Getting to Work figures across the nation's capitals.

When comparing cities and regions, Sydney has 1.1 million drivers on the road, and while Melbourne has less commuters, it actually has more car drivers than Sydney.

Almost 40% of all female cyclists get to work in Melbourne.

Sydney has declined in the number of people taking passengers to work, whereas Hobart leads the charge with people dropping someone to work.

The Northern Territory is the place where people are more likely to walk to work than any other state or territory with 1 in 10 walking to work.

Queenslanders are most likely to use a motorcycle than any other city, and Canberra is also big in push bike riding.

Tune in to ABC reporters as they discuss how Sydney and Melbourne commuters compare in the way they get to work:

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