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City Face-Off Perth vs Townsville

City Face-Off: Perth vs Townsville

Perth and Townsville are two beautiful coastal cities that share a lot in common when it comes to natural beauty. They have so many similarities that it can be difficult to pick which of the two is the better place to live!

However, there are still some things Perth does better than Townsville, and vice versa.

If cost of living and real estate prices are your top concerns, then Townsville is better for you. However, Perth is better when it comes to factors like employment opportunities and safety.

Of course, a simple summary doesn’t tell the whole story. Let’s discuss the differences between these two cities in detail as we go over several factors, like cost of living and real estate prices.

Cost of Living in Perth vs Townsville 

Cost of Living in Perth vs Townsville
The cost of living in Perth is 46% higher than Townsville’s. In Perth, it’s $2,251 per month, but in Townsville, it’s only $1,412.
The difference is especially noticeable if you look at their rent and transportation costs.

For a more detailed look into the cost difference between Perth and Townsville, here’s a breakdown of common living expenses in both cities.

The data presented here are statistics provided by in October 2023.

ExpensesAverage Cost in PerthAverage Cost in Townsville
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
1-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,877$782
1-bedroom apartment (low-demand suburbs)$926$637
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,918$1,480 
3-bedroom apartment (low-demand suburbs)$1,435$1,031 
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill)
Utility bill (one person per month)$124$78.6 
Utility bill (family of four per month)$216$120 
Internet plan (50 mbps per month)$55.2$48
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)$3.09$2.4
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)$113$45.9 
Gasoline (1 L)$1.3$1.23 
Milk (1 L or 1 qt)$1.62$1.24 
Bread (0.5 kg or 1.1 lbs)$2.08 $1.68 
Rice (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$2.06 $1.67  
Eggs (a dozen)$4.42$4.08
Cheese (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$11.8 $9.71 
Chicken breast (1 kg)$8.67 $7.81 
Potato (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$2.36$2.04
Eating Out
Fast food meal$10.1$8.51 
Dinner in a mid-range restaurant (for two people)$73.3$57.2 

There are many reasons why Townsville has cheaper prices than Perth. One of them is geography.

Perth is one of the most isolated cities in Australia, with the nearest major city being Adelaide, which is more than 2,100 kilometres away!

Perth’s isolation requires businesses to spend more money transporting their products to Perth.

Meanwhile, the opposite can be said about Townsville. Unlike Perth, most goods and services are cheaper in this city because it’s one of the busiest port cities in Australia.

This city is a vital link that connects Australia to major trading partners in Asia, like China. In fact, Townsville has to invest considerably in expanding its port to better facilitate the city’s rapidly growing trade (Port of Townsville).

Thanks to its status as a gateway for many of Australia’s imported goods, it’s no surprise that most prices in Townsville are far cheaper compared to some places in Australia, including Perth.

Real Estate Prices in Perth vs Townsville 

Perth has higher real estate prices than Townsville.
According to reports published by Michael Yardney’s Property Investment Update and in October 2023, the average price for a single-family home in Perth is 47.7% higher than in Townsville.
An apartment unit is also 11.4% more expensive in Perth than in Townsville.

Here’s a table further comparing real estate prices in Perth and Townsville based on October 2023 data from the aforementioned sources.

Property TypePerthTownsville
Single-family home (inside the metropolitan area)$634,169$390,000
Apartment unit$431,474$385,000
Single-family home (outside the metropolitan area)$437,201

Diversity and Demographics in Perth vs Townsville 

While Perth and Townsville have diverse populations, there are more people in Perth who were born outside Australia.
According to statistics that Informed Decisions and Population U released in October 2023, only 14% of the residents living in Townsville were born outside of Australia, which is drastically smaller than Perth’s 36%.

Compared to Townsville, Perth also has a larger land area and a larger population. It also has a higher population density, meaning more people are living per square kilometre in Perth than in Townsville.

For a more in-depth look at the demographics of Perth and Townsville, here’s a table that shows a couple of demographic factors, like geographic location and population size. 

The data listed here was provided by Population Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in October 2023.

Geographic LocationWestern AustraliaQueensland
Size (Area)6,417.9 km2 693.3 km2
Population 2,224,475179,011
Female Population 50.6%50.3%
Male Population 49.4%49.7%
Median Age 32 years old35 years old
Life Expectancy at Birth 83.8 years old82.8 years old

Besides the ones above, another important demographic factor is racial diversity, so let’s check this in Perth and Townsville. We’ll use the ancestry records provided by Informed Decisions and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Take note that the data presented here was gathered in October 2023.

Nominated AncestriesPerthNominated AncestriesTownsville
German2.8%Torres Strait Islander2%
South African1.4%Indian1.2%
Maori1.1%New Zealander0.9%
New Zealander1.1%

The table shows that both cities have diverse populations, but, as mentioned earlier, Perth has a larger portion of its population born overseas, making it more culturally diverse than Townsville.

Many factors contribute to Perth’s continued popularity among immigrants arriving in Australia. Historically, the city had served as an important gateway for many European immigrants arriving in Australia via ships after WW2.

Many of them chose to settle down in Perth, which is why the city has a high number of residents who identify themselves as having European ancestries like British and German.

Strong economic growth is another huge reason why Perth is a prime destination for immigrants. 

Western Australia, whose capital is Perth, is expected to grow its economy by almost 5% by the end of 2023, despite the ongoing worldwide recession (Government of Western Australia). 

That’s why The City of Lights is not only receiving many immigrants from Europe but also Asia (McCrindle). In fact, some of the most used non-English languages in the city are Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Townsville may not yet have the same levels of immigration as Perth, but that may soon change as the city is seeing an increase in internal migration.

A report by The Guardian states that Townsville saw a 500% increase in internal migration between March 2022 and March 2023. Many who moved to the city stated that they were attracted by Townsville’s low cost of living and booming economy.

As for the city’s international immigrants, most of them come from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the Philippines, as of October 2023.

Career Opportunities in Perth vs Townsville 

According to data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in October 2023, Perth is more favourable for job seekers than Townsville.
The state of Western Australia (including Perth) has an unemployment rate of 3.6%, while Queensland (including Townsville) has an unemployment rate of 4.1%.

Those living in Perth also have a higher net income compared to those in Townsville.

According to, those living in Perth earn $3,379 per month on average after taxes, while those living in Townsville earn $3,049 per month.

As for what possible jobs you can get in these two cities, we can get a rough idea based on what industries are the biggest in Perth and Townsville.

In Perth, the biggest industry sector as of October 2023 is mining (Informed Decisions). Aside from mining, the city also has robust employment opportunities in the fields of oil extraction, construction, scientific services, and healthcare.

Meanwhile, Townsville’s biggest industry is healthcare (Informed Decisions). Other prominent industries you’ll find in the city are construction, manufacturing, education, accommodation, and food services.

Crime and Safety in Perth vs Townsville 

Perth had more crimes than Townsville from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, according to data from the Western Australian Police Force and the Queensville Police Service.
Perth had 184,194 crimes recorded, while Townsville had 43,764.
Unfortunately, both Perth and Townsville have experienced an upward trend in their crime reports over the past few years.

Total crime records are an important factor to consider when examining a city’s safety. However, they don’t tell the whole story, as Perth has a far larger population size and land area compared to Townsville.

That’s why we must also compare their crime rates.

Between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, the crime rate in Perth was 8,280.34 for every 100,000 residents. 

Meanwhile, Townsville’s crime rate during the same period was 18,004.62 for every 100,000 residents.

Based on this data, we can now conclude that Townsville experiences more crimes than Perth.

Lifestyle in Perth vs Townsville 

Perth is the better choice if you prefer calm weather and a well-developed public transportation system.
However, Townsville is better if warm weather and a more efficient healthcare system are your top priorities.

To give you a clearer picture as to how I arrived at that conclusion, I compared Perth’s and Townsville’s healthcare, weather, and public transportation.

Weather in Perth vs Townsville 

While it all ultimately comes down to your preferences, Perth’s weather can be considered to be slightly better than Townsville, as its milder climate can be more accommodating to most people.

Perth has a Mediterranean climate, while Townsville has a tropical savanna climate.

Starting with Perth, the city’s Mediterranean climate lets Perthites experience mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Perth has an average annual maximum temperature of only 24.6°C (76.3°F), and its average annual rainfall is only 733 mm.

The City of Lights’ moderate amounts of rainfall and calm weather on most days of the year have led to it being recognised as the sunniest city in Australia.

It’s no wonder why Perth is a great city to live in, especially for those who love doing outdoor activities.

However, Perth’s lack of rainfall and low humidity means the city is arid, especially during summer when Perthites sometimes experience heatwaves and bushfires. 

The highest recorded temperature in the city was on February 23, 1991, which was 46.2°C!

As for Townsville, it typically experiences hot, humid summers and warm winters thanks to its tropical savanna climate. The city has an average annual maximum temperature of 30°C (86°F).

Also, Townsville typically experiences at least 1,143 mm of rainfall every year.

Based on this data, we can say that Townsville is hotter than Perth. The city’s humid summers can be extremely unpleasant for those who aren’t used to such weather.

Another problem that comes with Townsville’s weather is the severe cyclones and thunderstorms the city usually experiences during the wet season. 

Still, there are plenty of good things that can be said about Townsville’s weather. One example is that the city’s tropical climate has allowed Townsville to have a rich diversity of flora and fauna.

Living in Townsville might also be better for those who are already used to warm weather.

Healthcare in Perth vs Townsville 

In a survey by Numbeo, Perth has a healthcare system index of 67.93%, which is lower than Townsville’s 77.90%. 

However, please take note that these indices were based on Numbeo’s visitor input.

Let’s examine the differences between these two cities with a table showing the following aspects that were used to evaluate the healthcare systems of Perth and Townsville.

The data presented here was gathered in October 2023.

Skill and competency of medical staff74.68%81.82%
Speed in completing examinations and reports68.39%59.09%
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment81.58%86.36%
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports70.75%77.27%
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff71.81%75%
Responsiveness (waitings) in medical institutions52.60%65.91%
Satisfaction with cost58.06%84.09%
Convenience of location75.48%87.50%

Aside from discussing how efficient the healthcare systems are in Perth and Townsville, we should also discuss the initiatives these two cities have launched to improve their healthcare systems.

One of the key initiatives launched by Townsville is the First Nations Health Equity Strategy, which is a program that aims to improve the healthcare provided for the city’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Queensland Government).

The city has also recently completed the construction of its new Acute Admission Unit, which will serve as the one that will bridge the gap between Townsville University Hospital’s emergency and inpatient care units (Department of Health and Aged Care).

It’s hoped that the new ward will lead to an overall increase in efficiency in the city’s public health services.

Meanwhile, Perth also has its initiatives, like a health promotion program, which aims to raise the city’s residents’ awareness of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes (South Metropolitan Health Service).

Perth’s home state, Western Australia, has also launched a state-wide health and medical research strategy (Government of Western Australia).

This program aims to boost the state’s medical research capabilities by providing funding and support to researchers and health professionals in the state. It also aims to effectively translate research findings into useful clinical practices.

Transportation Options in Perth vs Townsville 

Even though Perth has a more developed public transportation infrastructure than Townsville, Townsville still has an edge when it comes to average commute time.

A survey on Numbeo reveals that residents of Perth have longer commutes than those in Townsville.

Those living in Perth on average have to spend 47.08 minutes on their daily commute, which is 27 minutes longer than the 19.88 minutes for those living in Townsville.

In Perth, the three forms of public transportation you can use to get around the city are buses, trains, and ferries. Meanwhile, Townsville only has buses as its public transportation between its suburbs.

According to a report by Informed Decisions in 2021, almost a quarter of Perth’s population relies on the public transportation network to go to their workplaces. 

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Townsville. Based on another report published by Informed Decisions in 2021, only 1.2% of Townsville’s residents use public transport to travel to their workplaces.

A possible reason why Perthites strongly support their public transportation is their SmartRider cards, which give them a 10% discount on all fares in the city. This card works seamlessly on all buses, trains, and ferries in Perth.

Sadly, Townsville doesn’t have anything like that, as the city relies on paper tickets for their bus service, which are typically purchased from the driver or select retailers.

These tickets come in single, daily, or weekly options. Single tickets are one-way tickets with a two-hour transfer time, while daily and weekly tickets give you unlimited bus rides for their entire durations.

Before we end this section, let’s quickly discuss how the residents of Perth and Townsville travel to places outside of their cities.

Those in Townsville have better options for travelling to other major cities like Brisbane compared to Perth. That’s because the city is connected to the North Coast railway line, which begins in Cairns and ends in Brisbane.

Townsville also has a regional airport that makes travelling to other places in Australia an easy and hassle-free experience.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Perth. The city’s isolated geography means travelling by bus or rail to other major Australian cities will take you a couple of days, which is impractical for most people.

That leaves Perthites with no other option but aeroplanes for travelling outside the city.

Perth vs Townsville: How They Stack Up

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
Cost of LivingTownsville The cost of living in Townsville is 46% cheaper than in Perth.
Real EstateTownsvilleThe real estate prices in Perth are higher than Townsville’s.
Diversity and DemographicsPerthBoth cities have diverse populations, but Perth has a higher proportion of residents who come from overseas, resulting in a richer mix of cultures.
Career OpportunitiesPerthPerth has a lower unemployment rate, and its residents enjoy a higher monthly average net salary compared to those in Townsville.
Crime IndexPerthTownsville has fewer crimes recorded than Perth, but it has a higher crime rate.
LifestyleTiePerth has a calmer climate than Townsville.
Residents of these two cities believe Townsville has a more efficient healthcare system than Perth.
Residents of Townsville experience shorter daily commute times, but Perth has a smartcard that can be used on all of its public transportation options.

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