Melbourne has just 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 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.

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