The 50 largest Australian cities and towns by population in 2014

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is our resident Census expert. After ten years working at the ABS, Glenn's deep knowledge of the Census has been a crucial input in the development of our community profiles. These tools help everyday people uncover the rich and important stories about our communities that are often hidden deep in the Census data. Glenn is also our most prolific blogger - if you're reading this, you've just finished reading one of his blogs. Take a quick look at the front page of our blog and you'll no doubt find more of Glenn's latest work. As a client manager, Glenn travels the country giving sought-after briefings to councils and communities (these are also great opportunities for Glenn to tend to his rankings in Geolocation games such as Munzee and Geocaching).

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29 Responses

  1. Hi,

    what about Ipswich? according to my figures it has had 23% growth since 2007.



  2. Peter Clark says:

    Hello Glen,

    Thanks for your work. However, you forgot Logan City situated on the South side of Brisbane, Qld. This is one of the fastest growth ares in South East Qld., with a population of 300,000.

    All the best.

    Peter Clark

  3. Both Ipswich and Logan Cities are part of Greater Brisbane (along with Moreton Bay and Redland) and are included in the Brisbane total shown.

  4. I know a few friends coming into Australia from overseas that might be quite interested in this list. They might have something to say about where they’ve chosen to settle down after looking at the changing demographics. Looks like we may have some last minute changes to where they are sending their moving boxes to!

  5. MCM says:

    Having lived in Melbourne and Perth, I am really surprised to see Melton and Ellenbrook included. To me, they are both suburbs rather than cities or towns

    • Yes, that’s a good point. Under the new ABS definition they are separate urban areas (but as part of the Greater Capital Cities classification they are definitely in Greater Perth and Greater Melbourne). That’s what made doing this version of the list harder than the last one. The new definition relies more on having a clear open space between the urban areas, which Melton and Ellenbrook both do, relative to the built up areas of Melbourne and Perth.

  6. Alphonse says:

    It’s a fine judgment call whether Central Coast, if not a separate entity, should be in greater Sydney or greater Newcastle. In terms of both proximity and geological separators I’d plump for Newcastle. On the other hand, more Central Coast residents would commute to Sydney for employment than to Newcastle.

    • True – geographically there’s a very logical barrier in the Hawkesbury River, but ABS have always included Central Coast with Sydney. It kind of merges with Lake Macquarie which is generally considered part of Newcastle.

      Maybe there’s something to be said for defining a “N-S-W” mega-urban area from Maitland in the north to Kiama in the south – a stretch 300km long where almost all the land which is usable has been built up.

  7. Mike Fawssett says:

    Morning Glen and thanks for these very interesting figures.
    For Sydney/Melbourne comparison purposes, how do Melton numbers stack up against Sydney’s Central Coast?

    • Hi Mike – it’s time to do an update to this again as new population figures came out this week.

      There is no comparison between Melton and the Central Coast. Melton’s 2014 population is 56,894, while the Central Coast is 323,079, almost 6 times as big! It’s also further from Sydney – about 70-100km out while Melton is about 40km from Melbourne.

  8. Ashley Weber says:

    Bathurst is now the largest town in NSW central west at 42,051 which is 8,000 more than this listing.

    • That’s the Bathurst Regional Council, yes. But the ABS definition of the urban areas only includes the immediate surrounds, so outlying parts of that council aren’t included as part of the population of Bathurst. This means the list is immune to major differences in the geographic extent of local government areas.

  9. I have found this information very useful as it gives me ideas where to search for employment, however i hear back here in the UK that Australia are developing building new town with hope of growing into another new city, is it possible that anyone can tell me any web sites to look for employment within these area’s as I am very keen to move to Australia.

    At present I work for a charity as an Employment Consultant/ HR , we assist ex-military to find employment, as well as sign posting guidance for other avenues of civilian life. I am also ex-military and have knowledge of Logistics’, Estate agent and PA.

    I would be grateful of any ideas or networking information, web sites anyone could offer to enhance my search.

    Kind regards
    Sonia Harford

  10. Brad says:

    Afternoon Glen,
    Great statistics, but would love some info on towns that would fit in say between 5000 to 20000 mark that are sustainable, growing and more suited for people searching for a tree change. Places such as Renmark, Warwick, Armidale and Burnie. I think those are value areas where costs of living provided by cheaper housing and rates and a back to basics living are suited to raising young family. Little hidden gems.
    Cheers Brad

  11. PayLess says:

    Helpful list of largest Australian cities for traveler and new job seekers especially. I really appreciate it.

  12. Steve S says:

    Living on the Central Coast I would like to confirm that we are in a different place to Sydney. The only time we might admitted that we were something to do with Sydney would be when trying to explain where we live to people interstate or overseas.

    • Thanks Steve – there is a clear geographic separation between the Central Coast and the rest of the Greater Sydney area, being the Hawkesbury River. However the ABS use a labour force method to determine the boundaries of the Greater Capital City areas, and there is enough of the Central Coast’s resident employment commuting into the Sydney region to classify it as part of the Greater Sydney catchment.

  13. Spencer Ross de Vere says:

    Comparing Australian cities to the USA list, I was surprised to find that both Sydney & Melbourne would be 2 & 3 behind only New York if they were US cities. Brisbane would be 5th most populous if it was a US city.

    • Hi Spencer, thanks for the comment. You just need to be careful comparing Australian city populations to US, as in the US, they tend to use the “city limits” or effectively local government boundaries to define a city. So San Francisco, for example, has a city population around 800,000, but a broader metropolitan area of 4.6 million, comparable to Sydney. The equivalent in Australia would be using the capital city LGA to define the city population – that would make Sydney’s population only 205,000, which isn’t helpful.

      Here is a list of metropolitan areas in the US:

      These aren’t defined by LGA boundaries, but I’m not sure exactly how comparable they are to our “Greater Capital City” definitions in Australia. They are likely to be a more logical match, however. By this measure, Sydney would come 10th and Melbourne 13th if they were in the US.

  14. Chelsea says:

    Devonport reaching the top 50 is interesting! Also, quite confusing.

    Do you happen to have the exact spatially mapped SUA? I have searched through abs and am having trouble locating a definitive area. We have two other cities (Burnie and Ulverstone) which have also been experiencing growth but are unable to locate how these fit into the list.

  15. Vickie says:

    Hi Glenn – I was looking for a clear definition of what makes a town or city. I may have missed it in this blog but could you direct me to the information. Thanks.

  16. Geoff says:

    What about Frankston? Population is over 130000!

  17. hi glenn- which city is the biggest alone newcastle canberra gosford wollongong in order thanks anthony

  18. PriceAussie says:

    Any Idea about Ipswich ? What the overall population size?

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    […] chosen 50 cities for the road trip across Australia. I have chosen these cities from the blog, The 50 largest Australian cities and towns by population in 2014.  According to the article published in 2014, these are the top 50 cities in term of population. […]

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