Africa: Largest Cities, by population
CityNumber of inhabitants,
in thousands
Lagos, Nigeria9,000.0
Kinshasa, Republic of the Congo7,786.0
Cairo, Egypt7,734.6
Alexandria, Egypt3,811.5
Abidjan, Ivory Coast3,677.1
Kano, Nigeria3,626.0
Ibadan, Nigeria3,565.1
Cape Town, South Africa3,433.4
Casablanca, Morocco3,144.9
Durban, South Africa3,120.3
Luanda, Angola2,776.2
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia2,757.7
Nairobi, Kenya2,750.5
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania2,698.7
Mogadishu, Somalia2,587.2
  • Region: Africa
  • Time period: 2023
  • Published: Aug 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 13, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Population distribution among the largest cities

Lagos, Nigeria, with 9,000,000 inhabitants, is the most populous city in Africa, significantly ahead of Kinshasa, Republic of the Congo, and Cairo, Egypt, which have 7,786,000 and 7,734,600 inhabitants, respectively. These top three cities together account for over 24 million people, underscoring the concentration of urban populations in specific areas.

Nigerian cities' prominence

Nigeria is home to three of the continent's largest cities by population: Lagos, Kano, and Ibadan, with populations of 9,000,000, 3,626,000, and 3,565,100, respectively. This highlights Nigeria's significant urbanization and its importance in Africa's demographic landscape.

Egypt's urban population centers

Egypt boasts two cities among Africa's largest: Cairo and Alexandria, with 7,734,600 and 3,811,500 inhabitants, respectively. The combined population of Egypt's major urban areas reflects the country's historical and ongoing urban growth.

East African urbanization

East Africa is represented by four cities: Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and Mogadishu, with populations ranging from 2,587,200 to 2,757,700. These figures indicate a trend of rapid urbanization within the region.

Southern Africa's urban diversity

Southern Africa features three large cities: Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg (not listed but implied by the inclusion of other South African cities), illustrating the region's urban diversity and significant role in the continent's economy.

Unique city-state representation

Casablanca is the only Moroccan city in the list, with 3,144,900 inhabitants, showcasing its unique position as a central urban hub in North Africa distinct from Egypt's dominance in the region.

Growth potential in West and Central Africa

Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Luanda, Angola, with 3,677,100 and 2,776,200 inhabitants respectively, indicate the growth potential and increasing urbanization in West and Central African regions beyond the Nigerian cities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the most populous city in Africa?

Lagos, Nigeria, is the most populous city in Africa with 9,000,000 inhabitants.

Terms and Definitions

Population is a term used to describe the number of individuals inhabiting a specific area such as a city, region, or country.

A megacity is a very large city, typically having a population of more than 10 million people. Megacities are usually significant economic, political, and cultural centers in their respective countries and regions.

A metropolis is a large city or urban area which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications.

Population density refers to the measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. In the context of cities, it refers to the number of people living per square kilometer.

Urbanization is a process whereby populations move from rural to urban area, gradually transforming the latter into a city. It typically results in the physical growth of urban areas, be it horizontal or vertical.
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