Sydney, located on the southeastern coast of Australia in New South Wales, overtook Melbourne as Australia’s most populous city in the early twentieth century. Today, Greater Sydney consists of 35 local council areas covering 12,367 sq km. The City of Sydney is a small part of the greater metropolitan area (only about 0.4%) geographically, but it is the economic and financial center of Australia. As of 2016, the population of Greater Sydney was greater than 5 million, thus more than one of every five Australians live in The Sydney metropolitan area.  Economically, Sydney’s influence is even greater. Its estimated GDP as of 2016 was over $400 billion AUD, or approximately one quarter of Australia’s total output.

The region is culturally and linguistically diverse with close to 40% of the population born overseas. In the 2016 census, Sydney’s most common ancestries, as a proportion of persons who listed their ancestry, were English (27%), Australian (25%), Chinese (10.8%), Irish (9.2%), Scottish (6.8%), Italian (4.5%) and Indian (4.3%). Sydney has been a hub of a number of migrant communities. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, people came from England, Ireland and China. Today, Sydney has notable Fijian, Ghanaian, Lebanese, Korean and Nepalese immigrant communities.

Greater Sydney is home to 6 major universities: the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Macquarie University, and the University of Western Sydney.  

The region is located in the state that hosts the largest number of registered charities in Australia. According to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC), there were 8,680 registered not-for-profits in 2015. Similar to many charitable organizations in Australia, most of the registered non-for-profits were small, with 4,529 having no paid employees. The Sydney team will use this research to explore the nonprofit sector with a particular interest in cross-sector collaboration, social enterprise and impact investing, and the role of government in shaping performance. 





  • Number of residents: 4.8 million
  • Race: 19% English, 18% Australian, 8% Chinese, 7% Irish, 5% Scottish
  • Median annual income: $91,000 AUS ($64,000 USD)
  • Poverty rate: 15%

Nonprofit Sector


Area: 4,775 sq. mi (12,367 sq. km)

Population density: 1,070/sq. mi (415/sq. km)

Founded: 1788