Skip to main content

Suburbs and residents

The City of Whittlesea is located in Melbourne’s north, about 20km from the Central Business District (CBD). The Metropolitan Ring Road provides direct freeway links to airports, docks and central Melbourne.

Suburbs and geography

We are one of the largest municipalities in metropolitan Melbourne, covering an area of approximately 489 square kilometres.

About 70 per cent of the City is rural area, with the other 30 per cent being urban area, comprising houses, shops and factories.

Our urban area includes:

Our rural north includes:


We are one of the fastest growing municipalities in Australia. In the 2016/17 financial year, the City of Whittlesea was the fourth largest growing local government area in Victoria.

We currently welcome around 8,000 new residents per year (about 156 a week). On average there are 76 babies born every week in the City of Whittlesea.

Our current population is approximately 229,396. This is expected to grow to 382,896 by 2041.

Between 2018 and 2038, our three fastest growing precincts are Donnybrook (an additional 49,712 people), Wollert (an additional 31,005 people) and Epping North (an additional 24,198 people).

Our growth is not just taking place in our newer suburbs, but there is also strong growth and redevelopment set to take place in our established areas - such as Epping, Thomastown and Lalor.

You can view detailed demographic information in our Place Profiles report.

View population forecasts for the City of Whittlesea to the year 2041.


Age profile

Our community is slightly younger than average, with a median age of 35, compared to 36 throughout Greater Melbourne.

By 2038, our city will have approximately 37,000 more children aged under 17 years than in 2018 and almost 19,000 more residents aged over 70 years.


We are one of the most multicultural municipalities in Victoria. In 2016, almost half of all local residents (over 86,000 residents) spoke a language other than English at home.

In previous decades, a higher proportion of our overseas-born residents were of European heritage, particularly Italy, Republic of North Macedonia and Greece. Between 2011-2016, emerging communities in the City of Whittlesea included residents born in India (+5,866 persons), China (+1,780), Iran (+1,300) and Sri Lanka (+1,211).

In 2021, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was 2,270 people, the second largest in Metropolitan Melbourne.


In 2018, the 77,000th home was built in the City of Whittlesea. This figure is expected to almost double by 2038 to about 127,000 dwellings. Currently:

  • 86% of homes are separate dwellings, compared with 73% across Victoria.
  • The average household size in the City of Whittlesea is 2.9 people, higher than that of Victoria (2.5).
  • About 53% of households consist of couples with children, higher than that of Victoria (38%).

By 2038, the number of family households will increase by over 26,000 (+61%).

Further information

Access more socio-demographic information about our community.

Growth and development

In 2010 the Victorian Government introduced the Urban Growth Zone, increasing land for 90,000 new residential blocks, within areas known as Melbourne’s 7 growth areas, including the City of Whittlesea.

New and emerging growth areas will have the most rapid population growth.

Our highest population growth over the next 20 years will be in Epping North, Wollert and Donnybrook.

The established areas will continue to grow, especially Mernda, Doreen, Epping Central (Epping), Plenty Valley Town Centre (South Morang), Thomastown, Lalor and University Hill (Bundoora).

Jobs and employment

In 2018, there were over 69,000 jobs located in the City of Whittlesea. In 2017, there were around 13,645 local businesses.

Approximately 88,500 people who live here are employed. Of our employed residents:

  • 65% work outside of the municipality, many in the areas of Darebin, Hume and inner Melbourne.
  • 62% work full-time and 36% work part-time.

The three highest industry sector employers in the municipality are Health Care and Social Assistance (13%); Retail Trade (12%); and Construction (10%).

Travel and transport

Residents of the municipality rely more heavily on driving a car to their place of work than residents in many other parts of Melbourne, with more than 57,600 residents (65%) travelling outside of the City of Whittlesea for work.

15% of residents have a daily combined travel time to work over 90 minutes.

The train is the most popular form of public transport for commuters. Train use is increasing thanks to the recent line extension to include Middle Gorge, Hawkstowe and Mernda Stations.