Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Population Race

There was a wealth of interesting information in the Census release yesterday. The snippet that caught my eye was the population race between Sydney and Melbourne.

From The Guardian (emphasis is theirs):
Sydney maintains its position as the most populous city in Australia. There were 4,823,991 residents in greater Sydney on census night, and it grew by about 1,656 every week since 2011.  
Melbourne is growing at a higher rate. Greater Melbourne had a population of 4,485,211 on census night, and was increasing by about 1,859 people each week in the past five years. 
Should those trends remain stable, Melbourne will eventually become Australia’s most populous city.

There are two pressing questions from this:
1. When will Melbourne overtake Sydney?   
2. What will be the impact of this change?
Fortunately, I have calculated the answers for everyone.

1. When will Melbourne overtake Sydney?
Using the stable trend assumption, where the average weekly growth between Census 2011 and Census 2016 holds indefinitely, and making a further assumption that the reported population for each city was at 8pm on Census night, Melbourne becomes more populous than Sydney on Monday 3rd August 2048 at about 9:43pm.

Set your alarms now.

2. What will be the impact of this change?
I expect once Melbourne outnumbers us, they will be taking no prisoners, and life as we know it will cease to exist.

Sydney Harbour will need to be dyed brown, to match the Yarra. The harbour bridge and opera house will be demolished so Sydney can resemble the dull, featureless landscape of the Melbourne CBD. The only form of entertainment will be seagulls fighting over a hot chip. We will have to pretend Sydney never had good coffee and small bars, and that saying a place is cultural and European is the same as it actually being those things. Also, potato scallops will be replaced with potato cakes. 

Or, maybe the impact will be nothing?

I don't know, it's really quite difficult to model accurately.

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