Top 33 largest cities in Australia by population

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years and at .id for over 5 years. His passion is in analysing Census data to understand the relationship between people and places. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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17 Responses

  1. Thew says:

    The official list of the top 33 centres for the next 4 months until the ABS revise them again….

  2. margot capuano says:

    Glad you explained about Why 33? I would have wondered. Also time I moved to Hobart, although Mt. Gambier sounds good and I can stay on the mainland!!!

  3. Rob H says:

    Interesting. Hobart goes for quality over quantity!

    I note that Burnie and Devonport are put together in this list. They’re obviously separate geographically, but do they often get put together for statistical purposes?

  4. I’m not sure why they get put together. There are 3 main population regions in Tasmania, of which the North-West coast is one of them, so I guess it’s just putting that together. There isn’t a lot of distance between urban areas up there, but you’re right, they’re not continuous. Bathurst-Orange used to be combined similarly but is now split up (so that neither make the top 33). You’d need to ask ABS Geography.

  5. B Harding says:

    It seems that your site is more honest than most. Nevertheless, when is ths Toronto syndrome (adding in totally separate cities, Mississauga and Oshawa to boost its actual population) going to stop?
    We should be honest and allow Melbourne to pass Sydney gracefully, not allow Sydney to swallow every nearby town, the entire Blie Mountains towns and the Central Coast, simply to pretend that Sydney remains the largest city.
    If this myth is maintained, why can’t Melbourne swallow CLOSER populations such as Geelong and Ballarat? Doesn’t that follow? Commuters from the last named still go to work in metropolitan Melbourne.

    • Good point – the definitions of these areas are based on labour markets, so sometimes they can seem a bit odd. Central Coast and Blue Mountains people – a significant % work within urban Sydney so they are included as part of that region. Another odd one though much smaller is Burnie-Devonport as one area in northern Tas – most would keep these separate.

      And in the latest geographic revision, Melbourne’s area has expanded to take in a lot of small towns as well (eg. Gisborne, Kinglake).

  6. Greg says:

    Blue Mts and Central Coast are clearly geographically separate from Sydney with their own identities. It is nonsense to suggest that they should be included in Sydney’s population just because there is a sizable commuter population.

    I accept that a city can have a larger population than simply the contiguous area suggests, but surely the neighbouring cities and towns should be adjacent and part of a broader identifiable community. An obvious example is Newcastle where the 5 lower Hunter LGA’s of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland and Port Stephens are close neighbours and even share suburbs with each other.

    Gosford and Wyong are no more part of Newcastle than they are part of Sydney even though they are as close or even closer to Newcastle than Sydney (Wyong’s northern suburbs are just 40km from Newcastle CBD).

    • Hi Greg,

      Actually the Blue Mountains are not only in the Sydney SD, most of the population is in the “Sydney urban centre” which is the contiguous urban area you refer to. Based on the Linge criteria developed in the 1960s, contiguous urban areas are included as a single centre if they have a continuous population of at least 200 people per square kilometre and outlying centres can be included if they have a gap of less than 3 km. Lapstone-Glenbrook joins to Penrith and all the centres out to Katoomba then meet this criterion. It is a single urban entity all the way.

      Also, 55% of Blue Mountains workers commute to other suburban parts of Sydney.

      Central Coast defnitely doesn’t have the continuous nature of the mountains, being separated by the Hawkesbury River and national parks. It’s a separate urban centre, but is included because around 35% of the workforce work in Sydney (if you look at Wyong though, there is definitely a movement towards Newcastle as well).

      The Newcastle statistical district (as used for the population in this list) does include the 5 LGAs you mentioned.

      With the move to the new geography standard, the ABS is less constrained by LGAs when defining statistical divisions, but has left the Sydney region relatively unchanged.

  7. Cate says:

    Fascinating.
    This puts the Education Black Hole with it’s population of 91,733 (across the middle of the municipalities of Draebin and Mooreland in Melbourne) as being almost the size of the 20th biggest city in Australia (Bendigo) and yet has not one open entry 7-12 high school!
    Interestingly the Age newspaper recently reported that independant planning advice stated the 60,000 new residents in the Fishermans Bend urban renewal project would warrant two new high schools.
    http://www.highschoolforcoburg.org

  8. James Coburn says:

    Hi Glenn,
    I live in the CITY of Shoalhaven with a population at the 2011 census of 98,076 which would rank it 19 ahead of Ballarat in the ranking –why is it broken up in the stats – as I reckon we miss out on lotsa funding and priorities as a result of same -

  9. Hi James,

    Good point – the reason is that Shoalhaven, though an incorporated City in NSW, has a spread out population that doesn’t constitute a single urban area, with wide gaps between the centres. In fact there are many towns and coastal villages strung out along over 100km of coastline and hinterland. Nowra-Bomaderry does form an urban area in this list, but comes in at number 39, with a population of 34,957.

  10. Davo of Thornside says:

    Where is Redland City in this list. We are a city, and are around the population of Darwin I believe.

    • Hi Davo,

      This list is not local govermment based -but based on the urban areas of centres. As such, Redland (along with Ipswich, Logan and Moreton Bay) is included as a part of the population of Brisbane.

      Glenn

  11. Ray Giaola says:

    Why don’t you have Ipswich Queensland in your list?

  12. Royce Allenson says:

    Where is the Central Coast of this population list. At over 300,000, we should be in the top 12.

  13. Ian watts says:

    By your counting is Logan City Q. (which has nearly 300,000 people) being counted as a part of Brisbane?

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