Latest population figures: Top 50 largest cities and towns in Australia in 2016

Glenn - The Census Expert

Glenn is an ABS data expert with huge intellect and capacity to convert demographic data into profound insights about places. He has contributed numerous blogs and consulting projects covering economic development, housing consumption and affordability, migration, fertility, ageing, role and function of ‘place’, communities of interest and more. Glenn works with over 120 councils bringing the client perspective into the development of our information products. He is a Census data expert, having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 10 years. If there's anything Glenn doesn't know about the Census, it's probably not worth knowing - so ask Glenn!

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37 Responses

  1. Chris. Harding says:

    Dear Sir:
    Rockhampton number 23 on your list[where I live]currently has a 23 % unemployment rate ! or so I’m told.
    I’ve noticed many of the houses are now empty. This has happened before 2 decades ago. My point being that given the forced and demerged nature of shires in the region this being an added factor the changes are pretty meaningless. Further it would seem to me that on-line sales makes an ass of all such economic flow and economic traffic. Probably, I would suspect that on-line communication and sales would be more critical to such analysis. An economic e-flow net work would be more dynamic and on-time.
    Sincerely
    Chris. Harding

  2. Tim Bateman says:

    Hi Glenn,
    The list doesn’t include Mandurah, so I’m assuming we’ve been lumped in as part of Perth metro again, even though we are a regional city with a current population of over 83,000. This is an ongoing issue we have with the ABS, and also with the WA Government – being recognised as a standalone regional city.
    Cheers, Tim

    • Hi Tim – you are correct – Mandurah is part of Perth by the ABS definition. Oddly, the ABS have Ellenbrook as a separate centre, though I’ve removed it from the list here, as I consider it also very much a part of Perth. There are a number of satellite centres near the capitals which are included with the capital cities from a labour market perspective, but for some reason others are not. It seems to be a bit hit and miss.

  3. Ashish says:

    Glen,

    You are showing Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast etc separately but Logan, Paramatta, Moretan bay and Blacktown etc are not shown, they are significant cities and trying to make their own identity.

    Rather than claimiing the Cities in your title but using “Greater Capital City Statistical Areas/Significant Urban Areas ” abs data does not help anyone.

    What can be done to fix this culture/understanding?

    • Coby Western says:

      The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast are seperate cities and like every city, they have suburbs or smaller districts to make up a city. The places you mentioned make up cities and in that case you would be implying that the Sunshine and Gold Coasts make up Brisbane. However this is incorrect as the Sunshine Coast is made up of similar areas like Noosa, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba and the Gold Coast is made up of areas like Southport and Suffers Paradise.

  4. Ashish says:

    Also, http://alga.asn.au/?ID=12171

    Logan City Council fifth largest LGA
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    The population of Logan City Council, has reached 300,667 according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this month, making it the 5th largest local government area in Australia.

    Logan City’s population has been growing at a rate of 2.1 per cent a year and Marsden recorded the greatest population increase.

    The top four council areas by population are Brisbane (1,131,191), Gold Coast (537,844) and Moreton Bay (408, 914) all in Queensland, and Blacktown in NSW (325,185).

    • John Bennetts says:

      We aren’t discussing LGA’s per se. Logan City, as anybody who has driven from Brisbane to the coast will realise, is significant and fast-growing but also definitely part of Brisbane in other ways.

      Besides which, LGA’s are ephemeral. They are created, split, amalgamated and their boundaries change at the whim of state politicians.

      For example, Newcastle as reported seems to include Newcastle City Council plus most of Lake Macquarie “City” and possibly part of Maitland City Council’s territory.

  5. Ridd says:

    Very interesting read. Melton is Melbourne, though

  6. Caleb says:

    This is a great go-to guide fro top Aussie cities and Towns. Thank you for taking the time out to put this together

  7. mike neale says:

    growing to big to fast….slow it down. no sheep any more mike neale
    ..

  8. Bill says:

    Interesting growth

  9. Rotimi says:

    Australia, my dreamed land of destiny fulfillment. God bless you.

  10. Ron Durgunbee says:

    It appears Mackay has false data? Our own counts from the city ( better than our census) revealed we have just over 120,000 people.

    • Hi Ron,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Mackay’s Local Government Area is around 123,000 in 2016. However that is not considered a “Significant urban area” as the LGA boundary extends well beyond urban Mackay and encompasses a number of other towns. The ABS define a boundary which is pretty much the built up area of the urban population. And that’s around 85,000. Other LGAs are similar – eg. Greater Bendigo LGA has over 100,000 people, but less in the urban area, as it extends well beyond it. On the other hand, areas like Bunbury have urban extent well beyond the LGA boundary, into neighbouring LGAs.

  11. Richard Smith says:

    Ipswich?

  12. Noel says:

    Ipswich passed 200,000 in 2017, not on the list and is definately not part of Brisbane

    • Ipswich certainly is part of Greater Brisbane – it was in the ASGC (prior to 2011, the old Brisbane Statistical Division) and the ASGS (since 2011). It is completely contiguous with the City of Brisbane suburbs around Goodna, and, while there is some rural area on the western side, the vast majority of the population lives in suburbs of Brisbane. This is far less contentious actually than including the Central Coast in Sydney, which is further out and separated by a large body of water.

    • Mark Stone says:

      If Ipswich is part of Greater Brisbane then Geelong is part of Greater Melbourne.

    • Well they are actually quite different. Ipswich is about 40km from Brisbane, while Geelong is 70-80km from Melbourne. The nearest bit of Ipswich LGA to Brisbane is Goodna, which is just 26km by road from the CBD. And urban development is pretty much contiguous with the Brisbane urban area. In Geelong’s case there is still a significant gap of about 20km between the western edge of Werribee, and Lara. But most importantly, these things are worked out primarily on a labour region basis. And 40% of Ipswich residents work in the City of Brisbane, with another 5% in other parts of metropolitan Brisbane (excluding Ipswich). In comparison, only 14% of Greater Geelong’s residents work in the Greater Melbourne area, and 77% work locally. This means it’s a much more self-contained labour market, much more like a large regional centre. Ipswich functions as a satellite suburb of Brisbane, and is rightly included as part of the metropolitan area.

      https://profile.id.com.au/geelong/residents
      https://profile.id.com.au/ipswich/residents

      Geelong’s status may change as Melbourne’s urban edge creeps closer, but for now it is separate.

  13. Coby Western says:

    Some of your info is misleading. The central coast isn’t really a city and you have mixed multiple city’s like Newcastle and Canberra to make the population seem bigger.

  14. David Holt says:

    Why is Logan City not on this list?

  15. John Blackhawk says:

    The northern part of the NSW Central Coast (the prevous Wyong council area) is growing really fast compared to the southern area, closer to Sydney (the previous Gosford Council area). This is due to the number of national parks preventing house building in the south… yet this is the area under pressure from the Sydney ‘spillover’ due to the housing affordability crisis there. In the north arable and farm land is being developed for estates. It is starting to feel like Greater Sydney. Expect to see the Central Coast boom in the next 10 years.

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