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Melbourne has surpassed Sydney to acquire the title of the largest city in Australia by population. The area of Melton has been added to the Victorian capital boundaries, allowing Melbourne to surpass Sydney, according to CNN affiliate 9News.
The Australian federal government predicted that Melbourne would surpass Sydney as the country's largest metropolis in slightly under ten years, or in 2031-32. However, according to 9News, the newly recast Melbourne is home to 5.8 million people in total, about 19,000 more than Sydney.
“It’s because more people have been moving out of Sydney, going to other parts of Australia, than have been moving in the opposite direction. Whereas in the case of Melbourne, in some years more people have moved to Melbourne than have moved out,” said Nick Parr to radio station 2GB. Parr is a professor of demography at Macquarie University. However, Parr believes that immigration will "compensate" for low birth rates of the two major financial hubs of the Land Down Under.
The population statistics released by the Australian federal government states that Melbourne has a population of 44.8 million, which is 18,700 greater than Sydney.
Demographer Liz Allen from the Australian National University told CNN that over the last ten years, international and internal migration, as well as births, have all contributed significantly to Melbourne's population rise.
“Melbourne has become a highly attractive place among more recent waves of overseas migration to Australia, particularly among people born in India. Growing community networks pull subsequent new arrivals from India to the Melbourne area,” she told CNN.
Allen refutes Melbourne's claim to the title, stating that a factor known as the "Significant Urban Area classification" is what has pushed Melbourne's population over the line.
She noted that this geographic metric, however, "tends to be less stable over time," adding that "the more commonly used, and stable, standard geographic classification of greater capital city shows Sydney is still Australia’s most populous capital. At the current rate of population change, Melbourne will overtake Sydney to take out the top spot in the coming decade.”
“Australia loves a competition and the added beef to the Sydney versus Melbourne rivalry has excited many, but it’s all a bit of a storm in a teacup,” Allen added.