Categories > Guides and Tips

City Face-Off Perth vs Canberra

City Face-Off: Perth vs Canberra

Curious to know which between Perth and Canberra is a better place to live in? Despite my love for Perth, I must admit that there are still many things that Canberra has an edge over my lovely city.

If your primary concerns are cost of living and real estate prices, Perth is a better choice than Canberra. However, Canberra is the preferable option if safety and career are your top priorities.

Still haven’t made up your mind? Then let me show you how these two cities fare in a couple of important factors one must consider when choosing a city to live in.

Cost of Living in Perth vs Canberra

Cost of Living in Perth vs Canberra
Close up of a mid adult woman checking her energy bills at home, sitting in her living room. She has a worried expression
The cost of living in Perth is slightly lower than Canberra’s. It’s only $2,251 per month, while Canberra’s is $2,267.
This means that Perth’s monthly living cost is 0.7% cheaper than Canberra’s. The difference is especially more noticeable if you look at their rental and education costs.

Here’s a breakdown of common living expenses in both cities to give you a better comparison.

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

ExpensesAverage Cost in PerthAverage Cost in Canberra
Housing (Average Rent per Month)
1-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,877$1,371
1-bedroom apartment (low-demand suburbs)$926$1,148
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)$1,918$2,263
3-bedroom apartment (low-demand suburbs)$1,435$1,758
Utility bill (one person)$124$139
Utility bill (family)$216$214
Internet plan (50 mbps)$55.2$54.7
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)$3.09$3.09
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)$113$103
Taxi fare (8 km or 5 mi)$17.4$16.9
Gasoline (1 L)$1.3$1.4
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Private preschool or daycare (full day)$1,757$1,941
International primary school$15,447$16,562
Milk (1 L or 1 qt)$1.62$1.47
Bread (0.5 kg or 1.1 lbs)$2.08$2.58
Rice (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$2.06$2.57
Eggs (a dozen)$4.42$4.39
Cheese (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$11.8$12.1
Chicken breast (1 kg)$8.67$8.62
Potato (1 kg or 2.2 lbs)$2.36$2.59
Eating Out
Lunch menu$15.4$21.8
Dinner in a restaurant (for 2 people)$73.3$91.8

As you can see, the cities have similar expenses, especially food and transportation costs.

However, Perth is the clear winner when it comes to rent and education costs. Young families might find it better to live in Perth, as they don’t have to pay too much for their children’s education.

The main drawback for Perth, however, is the higher cost residents pay for goods imported from other states, like soda.

Perthites also have a higher Internet bill, as telecom companies have to invest more in building the city’s network infrastructure because of its isolated location.

Real Estate Prices in Perth vs Canberra

Perth has vastly lower real estate prices than Canberra.
According to a report published by Michael Yardney’s Property Investment Update in September 2023, the average price for a single-family home in Perth is 40.19% cheaper than in Canberra.
An apartment unit is also 33% cheaper in Perth than in Canberra.

The City of Lights is one of the best major cities to live in if your primary consideration is real estate price.

Here’s a table comparing real estate prices in Perth and Canberra based on September 2023 data from Michael Yardney’s Property Investment Update.

Property TypePerthCanberra
Single-family home (inside the metropolitan area)$634,169$953,166
Apartment unit$431,474$601,910
Single-family home (outside the metropolitan area)$437,201

Diversity and Demographics in Perth vs Canberra

Both Perth and Canberra have people of diverse ancestries, but more people in Perth were born outside Australia.
According to statistics by World Population Review in September 2023, only 28.6% of the residents living in Canberra were born outside of Australia, which pales in comparison to Perth’s 40.4%.

To give you a clearer picture, let’s examine the current demographics of these two cities. It should be noted that Perth has a bigger population and land area.

However, Canberra has a higher population density than Perth, which means there are more people living in each square kilometre of Canberra than in Perth.

The data listed here were provided by Population Australia in September 2023.

Geographic LocationWestern AustraliaAustralian Capital Territory
Size (Area)6,417.9 km2 814.2 km2
Population 2,224,475456,692
Female Population 50.4%50.5%
Male Population 49.6%49.5%
Median Age 32 years old35 years old
Life Expectancy at Birth 83.8 years old83 years old

As you can see, there aren’t many differences between the age and sex distribution of the two cities’ populations.

But how racially diverse are these populations? For that, we’ll use the ancestry records provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in September 2023.

Nominated AncestriesPerthNominated AncestriesCanberra
Indian3.6%Indian 3.9%
South African1.4%Vietnamese1.3%
New Zealander1.1%Polish1.1%

Both cities have a fair amount of minorities, but as mentioned earlier, more than a third of Perth’s population were born overseas, making the city more culturally diverse.

Perth has historically been a preferred choice for immigrants; it was the first Australian stop for European ships passing the country in the 1950s and 60s. 

In fact, Perth experienced a population boom in the 1950s and 60s because of Europeans looking for a new home after the Second World War.

Another reason is the high number of job opportunities available in the city thanks to Western Australia’s rich mining industry.

Aside from Europeans, Perth has also started to see an increase in immigrants arriving from Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American countries.

Meanwhile, most of the immigrants arriving in Canberra are from countries like the UK, India, China, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Career Opportunities in Perth vs Canberra

According to data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in September 2023, Canberra is slightly more favourable for job seekers than Perth.
The Australian Capital Territory (including Canberra) has an unemployment rate of 3.3%, while the state of Western Australia (including Perth) has an unemployment rate of 3.5%.

Canberra also has a higher monthly average net salary than Perth. According to Budget Direct, Canberrans on average earn $5,480.77 per month, which is slightly higher than Perthites’ $5,417.28 per month.

However, let’s not forget that Perth has a lower cost of living than Canberra! In fact, Perthites can buy more things with their money, as they have a purchasing power that’s 8.70% higher than the national average.

Meanwhile, the local purchasing power of Canberrans is only 5.66% higher than the national average.

Crime and Safety in Perth vs Canberra

Perth had more crimes than Canberra from December 31, 2021, to December 30, 2022, according to data from the Western Australian Police Force and the Australian Federal Police.
Perth had 176,534 crimes recorded, while Canberra had 33,180.
Unfortunately, while crime is decreasing in Canberra, it’s increasing in Perth after a drop during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, let’s not forget that Perth has a significantly larger population and land area than Canberra. Naturally, a larger city tends to have more crime than a smaller one.

This is why we also need to discuss the crime rate of these two cities. Between the years 2021 and 2022, Perth had a crime rate of 79.36 crimes for every 1,000 residents, while Canberra had 75.62 crimes for every 1,000 residents.

These show that the two cities have roughly the same safety levels.

Lifestyle in Perth vs Canberra

Perth is an ideal place to live in if you prefer calmer weather and lower cost of living. 
However, Canberra is also a solid choice if your primary concerns are job opportunities and the ability to travel quickly to other major cities in Australia like Sydney.

To give you a better idea of what life is like in these cities, I compared their weather, healthcare, and public transportation.

Weather in Perth vs Canberra

While both Perth and Canberra experience all four seasons, Perth has generally better weather, as it has a Mediterranean climate and Canberra has an oceanic climate.

Under a Mediterranean climate, Perth enjoys calm weather on most days of the year. In fact, Perth is known as the sunniest city in Australia because it experiences fewer days of rainfall and heavy storms compared to other major Australian cities.

Perth’s average temperature is also a bit higher compared to Canberra. The City of Lights averages around 19°C (67°F) on most days, while Canberra’s average is about 17°C (63°F).

Canberra experiences rain on most days of the year. In their rainiest months, Canberra can receive up to 110 mm of rainfall, while Perth only receives up to 40 mm.

Overall, Perth is the clear winner when it comes to weather, especially for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

Healthcare in Perth vs Canberra

In a survey by Numbeo, Perth has a healthcare system index of 68.32%, which is slightly higher than Canberra’s 67.32%. 

However, please take note that these indices come from Numbeo’s visitor input.

In the said survey, the cities’ healthcare systems were evaluated in the following aspects. The data presented here was gathered in September 2023.

Skill and competency of medical staff75.49%75%
Speed in completing examinations and reports68.95%70%
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment82.17%79.66%
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports71.52%71.46%
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff71.79%68.69%
Responsiveness (waitings) in medical institutions52.96%52.70%
Satisfaction with cost58.17%58.50%
Convenience of location75.65%75%

As expected, residents of these cities are entitled to low-cost if not free healthcare thanks to Australia’s Medicare System. Both cities have a mix of private and public medical institutions that residents can visit anytime.

Both cities and their local government units also have launched initiatives to make healthcare more accessible to their residents.

One such example is that some private hospitals in Western Australia (including Perth) work with the state government to provide their patients free health care.

Another example is that people who live in Western Australia and are over the age of 65 are entitled to free or discounted ambulance services.

Meanwhile, Canberra has built the University of Canberra Hospital, a rehabilitation centre for mental illnesses and major diseases and injuries.

Canberra has also constructed walk-in centres all over the city where residents can enjoy free treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. 

The city also has a Telehealth program, which lets residents attend a medical appointment via video conference.

Transportation Options in Perth vs Canberra

On a quick glance, it can be said that both Perth and Canberra have robust public transportation options. 

However, a survey on Numbeo reveals that Perthites have slightly longer commutes than Canberrans. Perthites on average have to spend 46.27 minutes on their commute, slightly more than the 42.76 minutes for Canberrans.

Perth relies on three major public transportation options: buses, trains, and ferries. Meanwhile, Canberra’s public transportation mostly consists of buses and a light rail system.

Despite the convenient public transportation in these two cities, most of their residents still use cars as their main method of getting around.

Thankfully, more and more people in these cities are starting to switch to using public transportation.

Canberra saw a significant increase in public transportation use, with a 71% jump in boardings between December 2021 and December 2022, according to Transport Canberra.

Meanwhile, almost a quarter of Perth’s population heavily relied on public transportation in 2021.

Residents who use public transportation can enjoy perks using the monthly passes offered by these cities. In Perth, there is the SmartRider card, which lets passengers enjoy a 10% discount on all fares.

Meanwhile, Canberra has the MyWay card, which grants riders a 5% discount on all fares.

So, now that you know how residents of Perth and Canberra travel within their cities, how about when travelling outside of their cities?

This is where Canberra has a bigger advantage compared to Perth. Canberra’s proximity to other cities like Sydney and Melbourne means its citizens can reach these cities via train within only a few hours.

Meanwhile, Perth’s isolation requires its residents to travel for many days via train to reach other major cities like Sydney. 

Oftentimes, it’s faster and more economical for Perthites to travel outside Western Australia via aeroplanes instead.

Perth vs Canberra: How They Stack Up

Let’s wrap up with a quick summary of everything we’ve discussed earlier.

FactorsThe Better CityWhy
Cost of LivingPerthThe cost of living in Perth is 0.7% cheaper than Canberra.
Real EstatePerthThe real estate prices in Perth are significantly lower compared to Canberra.
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 OpportunitiesCanberraCanberra has a lower unemployment rate, and its residents enjoy a higher monthly average net salary compared to those in Perth.
Crime IndexCanberraCanberra’s crime rate is lower compared to Perth’s.
LifestyleTied (depends on what kind of lifestyle you prefer)Perth has a calmer climate than Canberra.
Perth offers cheap if not free healthcare in its private hospitals, while Canberra has specialised healthcare facilities.
Residents in Perth enjoy bigger fare discounts, but Canberra has a well-developed transportation infrastructure connecting it to other major cities like Sydney.

Still hard to beat

Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2

Read more below Buy Now

Better Fitting

Mpow MDots Wireless Earbuds

Read more below Buy Now

Noise Cancelling

BlueWow A8 Macarons True Wireless Earbuds

Read more below Buy Now
Check more deals
Related topics