Key facts about NSW

Information about the population, culture, geography and regions of NSW.

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Sydney is the capital of NSW. The city of Sydney is located on the eastern coast of NSW.



NSW has the highest population of any state in Australia, with 8,153,000 residents as of 30 June 2022.

Nearly a third of all Australians live in NSW, with most living in the Greater Sydney region.

Roughly 66% of the state's population live in Greater Sydney. Greater Sydney spans 55,000ha and includes metropolitan Sydney and surrounding areas up to and including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollondilly and Sutherland areas.

NSW has the fastest growing population in Australia growing by roughly 59,000 people annually (0.7%). Greater Sydney has 423 people per square kilometres.


More than 275 different languages are spoken and 144 religions are practiced in NSW. Just over a quarter (26.7%) of NSW residents were born overseas and the top 5 countries of birth are England, India, China, New Zealand and the Philippines. NSW's top 5 fastest-growing migrant groups are from Asia.

Languages spoken at home in NSW


Number of people

















English only used at home5,457,98267.6%
Households where a non-English language is used856,91129.5%


Sources: ABS Census 2021 QuickStats and ABS Census 2021 Cultural Diversity

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NSW

NSW has Australia’s largest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They make up 3.4% of the NSW population. 
In 2021, there were 278,043 people living in NSW who identified as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. 

Of the 278,043 people who identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin: 

  • 96.1% identified as Aboriginal 
  • 1.8% identified as Torres Strait Islander 
  • 2.1% identified as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Find out more about Aboriginal culture and heritage

Geography of NSW

The state of NSW is divided by natural features into 4 distinct geographical sections.

The Coast

A thin coastal strip stretching along 1460km from the subtropical Northern Rivers region near Queensland, through the mid-north Coast, Hunter, Sydney, Illawarra and Shoalhaven down to the cooler Far South Coast.

The Mountains

The Great Dividing Range, which includes the Snowy Mountains, the Northern, Central and Southern Tablelands, the Southern Highlands, and the South West Slopes. Although these mountains aren't steep, many peaks rise above 1000m high, and they are one of the oldest mountain chains on earth.

The Central Plains

The cultivated central plains spread 500km from east to west and are the agricultural powerhouse of the NSW economy due to the rich, fertile soil and adequate water supply.

The Western Plains

The arid Western Plains cover more than two thirds of the state, though they are sparsely populated compared to the coastal regions. The land is fertile but has low levels of rainfall and inadequate river systems.

Find out more about visiting and exploring NSW regions

Learn more about the geology of NSW

Regions in NSW

To look after agricultural production advice, biosecurity, natural resources and emergency management, the NSW Government has a dedicated Local Land Services (LLS) agency. LLS set 11 regional boundaries after consulting with the community. The regional areas set by LLS are:

To find your region visit Local Land Services


Councils in NSW

There are many local government councils within NSW. Each local council provides a range of services to you every day. This includes roads and footpaths, rubbish collection services, libraries and community centres, water and sewer, community services and events, planning and infrastructure, and recreation facilities.

Find out more about local government councils



At almost 700 billion dollars, NSW is Australia’s largest state economy. The state has a diversified, service driven economy.

The industries that are the largest contributors to the economy are:

  • administrative and support services 
  • construction 
  • financial services
  • health
  • information media and telecommunications 
  • professional
  • property services
  • scientific and technical services.

The largest areas of employment are:

  • construction 
  • education
  • health and social care 
  • professional
  • retail trade
  • scientific and technical services.

NSW has the largest labour force in Australia with almost 4.5 million people either employed or seeking employment. 

Find out more about the NSW economy

Credit rating

NSW has been assessed to have the highest possible credit rating, triple-A, by global ratings agencies Moody’s Analytics and Fitch Ratings.

NSW has a strong institutional framework and a diverse economy. It is focused on investing in areas where it is most needed strengthen our economy further. 

Find out more about the triple-A credit rating and what it means for the state's economy on the NSW Treasury website.


Aboriginal family of 3 with baby son, looking very content, in the middle of Mum and Dad

Aboriginal culture in NSW

NSW has Australia's largest population of Aboriginal Australians.


4 people standing for a picture in Parramatta showing the diversity of NSW

Our multicultural communities

NSW is one of the most culturally diverse states in the world. More than 2 million of our citizens were born overseas and our people come from more than 300 cultures.

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