The 50 largest cities and towns in Australia, by population | 2020 update

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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7 Responses

  1. BC says:

    Interesting list Glenn!
    As a long term resident of Brisbane I can attest to it eventually merging with the Gold Coast. There is very little if any gap in the urban area these days and people in suburbs like Coomera on the northern Gold Coast identify equally with both Brisbane and Gold Coast for work/recreation. Working in central Brisbane I’m surrounded by commuters from Gold Coast.
    One thing though, Brisbane will remain the dominant city without a doubt 🙂
    The other thing I notice is Canberra seems to be gaining on Newcastle. Do you see it overtaking Newcastle because that would be a big change.

    • Yes, I was a bit tongue in cheek with the comment about Gold Coast taking over Brisbane – as Gold Coast are a .id subscriber, but Brisbane are not..

      Canberra-Queanbeyan’s growth rate is 1.1%, the same as Newcastle-Maitland. So it shouldn’t overtake, if that continues. There’s about 70,000 population difference between them currently.

  2. Sydney is much bigger than Melbourne. But as you can see, Newcastle has a slight chance to be bigger then Melbourne and Canberra.

    • Mick says:

      Newcastle will get bigger than Melbourne? Maybe, if Melbourne stops growing and Newcastle grows 4.5 Million exponentially! On current growth statistics Melbourne should overtake Sydney within the next 20 years.

  3. Dinesh says:

    Just wondering, why is the SUA # taken a the basis for the count over UCL? I always thought the latter was more focused on actual built-up area? Looking forward to be educated as I have gone through the ABS site definitions but still unsure which ones to use.

    • Hi Dinesh, thanks for the comment. You’re right, UCLs (urban centres/localities) are a tight boundary around the built up area of a city. They have an advantage that they only look at urban population. But the disadvantage that they are a moving boundary – as soon as a new housing area is completed, the boundary has to be changed to accommodate it, and urban areas grow and change by absorbing nearby areas, making it hard to compare comparable populations over time. The Significant Urban Areas are more stable, while still accounting for broad-scale changes to urban geography. They enable you to compare a similar area over moderate time periods, so I think they’re better for this sort of analysis of the population of cities and towns. If you used UCLs, every little town on the outskirts of Sydney or Melbourne would have its own count, while SUAs only show the larger centres. I hope this helps!

  4. Newcastle on its own won’t get bigger than Melbourne – it’s an order of magnitude smaller. The only way this could happen would be definitional – if Greater Sydney were expanded to include Newcastle (and it’s almost contiguous urban along the coast as it is), that would do it.

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