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Capital Population 2025 (UN Projection)

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Capitals that are Not the Largest City by Country 2024

Just because a city is the capital of a country doesn't mean it has the largest population.

The United States is a good example. The capital of the US is Washington (pop. 601,723), DC, but the city with the largest population is New York City (pop.8,391,881).

Many think that Sydney (pop. 4,500,000) is the capital of Australia when, in fact, it's Canberra (pop. 345,000). Canberra is the largest inland city but the eighth-largest city overall.

Belize is the least populated country in Central America, so it makes sense that the capital, Belmopan, only has a population of 16,400 people, while the largest city, Belize City, has 70,000.

Brasililia (pop. 2,557,158) is the capital city of Brazil, while São Paulo (pop.11,150,249) is the largest city. São Paulo is actually the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere.

The most populated city in Canada is Toronto, at 2,503,281, while the capital, Ottawa, only has 812,129. Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest in North America.

The People's Republic of China's capital is Beijing (pop. 22,000,000), while the largest city is Shanghai (pop. 23,210,000). Beijing has been the capital of China for nearly 800 years.

More people in New Zealand (pop. 1,333,300) live in Auckland rather than the capital Wellington (pop. 386,000). Auckland is the fifth-largest city in Oceania.

The largest city in Pakistan is Karachi, with a population of 18,000,000. The capital, Islamabad, has a population of 1,740,000. Karachi is the 12th largest city in the world.

Commonly, Johannesburg is mistaken for the capital of South Africa. Pretoria is the executive and de facto capital. South Africa has two other capital cities - Cape Town (legislative branch) and Bloemfontein (judicial branch).

Abu Dhabi (pop. 896,751) is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, while Dubai (pop. 2,262,000) is far more populated and is growing rapidly.

Populations listed are sourced from United Nations population projections.

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Country
Capital
Capital Population 2025 (UN Projection)
Largest City
Largest City Population 2025 (UN Projection)
ChinaBeijing22.6MShanghai30.5M
VietnamHanoi5.6MHo Chi Minh City9.8M
United StatesWashington, D.C.5.6MNew York City19.2M
TurkeyAnkara5.5MIstanbul16.2M
BrazilBrasília5MSão Paulo23M
NigeriaAbuja4.2MLagos17.2M
South AfricaPretoria3MJohannesburg6.4M
TaiwanTaipei2.8MXinbei4.6M
MoroccoRabat2MCasablanca4M
EcuadorQuito2MGuayaquil3.2M
United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi1.6MDubai3.1M
CanadaOttawa1.5MToronto6.5M
KazakhstanAstana1.4MAlmaty2M
PakistanIslamabad1.3MKarachi18.1M
IsraelJerusalem1MTel Aviv4.6M
MyanmarNaypyidaw788KYangon5.8M
AustraliaCanberra483KSydney5.2M
SwitzerlandBern448KZürich1.5M
New ZealandWellington428KAuckland1.7M
BoliviaSucre360KSanta Cruz de la Sierra[1]1.9M
Equatorial GuineaMalabo297KBata513K
BeninPorto-Novo285KCotonou722K
TanzaniaDodoma262KDar es Salaam8.6M
Ivory CoastYamoussoukro231KAbidjan6.1M
Sri LankaSri Jayawardenepura Kotte113KColombo648K
BelizeBelmopan20KBelize City61K
San MarinoSan Marino4KSerravalle35K
showing: 27 rows

Sources