Sydney’s population of four and a half million people enjoys living in a dynamic, multicultural city with a balmy climate.
They also suffer some of the downsides of big city life, such as traffic jams, frustrations with public transport and concerns about crime.
Sydney attracts more immigrants than any other Australian city. Large numbers of relocating Australians are also drawn by career opportunities in Sydney.
In quality of life surveys, Australian cities score consistently well compared with cities in other countries. As you might expect, Sydney rates very well but its overall score is lower than it might be because crime rates are similar to London’s and New York’s. Fortunately, there are plenty of areas in Sydney with low crime rates.
It’s fair to say some families with children have found other cities meet their lifestyle requirements better than Sydney does. Nevertheless, many migrants with children are happy they chose Sydney.
If you don’t have children, and you want to live in an exciting city, Sydney is almost certainly your ideal Australian location.
Around 40,000 new people move to Sydney each year and around 15,000 new homes are built to accommodate them.
According to the Bureau of Statistics, almost forty percent of Sydney’s residents were born overseas.
People from the UK are Sydney’s biggest migrant group, making up 5 percent of the population.
The next biggest groups are Chinese (2%), New Zealanders (2%), Vietnamese (1%), Lebanese (1%) and Italian (1%). Many smaller migrant groups, such as people originating in Hong Kong, The Philippines, Greece, India and Korea also contribute to Sydney’s population.
Around 11% of Sydney’s population is Asian, 3% come from the Middle East or North Africa and 1% from the rest of Africa – mainly South Africa. Aboriginal Australians represent about 1% of Sydney’s population.
People from Sydney are known as Sydneysiders.
Getting Around Sydney
For many migrants, getting around Sydney is one of the biggest gripes they have.
They like where they live. The like the places they visit. They just don’t like travelling between them.
In a Sydney Morning Herald poll, an astonishing 52 percent of readers identified Sydney’s public transport system as the biggest issue facing the city. (The next biggest issue, at 28 percent, was the city’s water supply.)
The transport problems are largely a result of government indecision and inaction. An example of the paralysis facing Sydney’s public transport system is that for years the north west suburbs, where much of Sydney’s growth is taking place, have been badly served. Despite a succession of government promises, there is still no rail service and most residents need to use cars to get to work. The latest government plan envisages building a north west rail service by 2017.
A large number of journeys by public transport arrive noticeably late and the trains seem to be getting dirtier each year. Sydneysider’s public transport use has fallen to around 10 percent for journeys to work.
Driving in Sydney
Sydney is a city of 4 million people and the vast majority of them use their cars to get to work. Predictably, Sydney suffers badly from traffic congestion and jams. If you have a strong dislike of driving in these conditions, you would be well advised to live within walking distance of your work or to get a house close to a bus stop or a train station.
If you are unaccustomed to hectic driving in a big city, adjusting to Sydney’s driving conditions can be somewhat alarming. Many migrants are amazed at the poor driving standards they see in Sydney and the risks Sydneysiders take with their own and others’ lives when they’re behind the wheel of a car.
There are a number of toll roads in Sydney and more are being built – you can get an electronic tag fitted to your car that automatically deducts the toll with no need for you to stop. Tolls vary between around $2 and $7. For example, the Harbour Bridge and Tunnel cost $4 southbound at peak times and are free of charge northbound.