I'm building a visualisation with cities' population around the globe for a website. I found the MaxMind free database that includes most cities around the globe with coordinates and population, which is awesome.

What I'd like to do is have something like a timeline, to show which cities have increased their population in the last years (even from 2005-ish to 2012 would be great).

To do so I would need the same database, but of previous years.

I looked at the Maxmind site, but couldn't find any older versions of their database.

Do you know a place where I can find such a database?


5 Answers 5


The United Nation Statistics Division publishes population totals and by demographics per country on an annual basis. This is called the UN Demographic Yearbook. It is normally in PDF format, but there are various areas on the unstats.un.org site that you can download EXCEL and CSV files.

A good start is here. This has downloadable tables between 2007 and present.


  • thanks, I believe this is as close as I can get to what I need (even tho I'll have to add coordinates for the cities)
    – tomtomtom
    Jun 25, 2014 at 8:03
  • you can use google's geolocation API to add lat/long for each city: gist.github.com/philshem/10017416
    – philshem
    Jun 25, 2014 at 10:15
  • 1
    You can get the area centroid for each city from my compilation of the Cities of the World dataset (CSV). I compiled it from the USGS and NGA geographic name servers: opengeocode.org/download.php#cities Jun 25, 2014 at 15:40

http://citypopulation.de provides this population data for cities, but as best I can tell, there is no bulk download facility, and the specific years for which historic data is available varies widely from country to country.

They don't seem to provide latitude/longitude data directly alongside their city population statistics, although they use maps heavily on the site, so the data may be in the pages.


Try Geonames such as http://download.geonames.org/export/dump/

I am mobile so can't double check but quote sure they have top line population information

edit: more info here: https://opendata.stackexchange.com/a/13081/1511

  • thanks for the reply! this one has some information about cities and population but unfortunately it doesn't have information about past years, that's what I was kind of looking for
    – tomtomtom
    Jun 24, 2014 at 15:20
  • @tomtomtom you might consider using Wolfram Alpha (eg: m.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=population+of+london+in+2004) and use the API to automate things. Just an idea if youre willing to trust their data sources Jun 24, 2014 at 15:53

Geonames is the way to go. Its huge data and updates are available for download daily. But the processing and cleaning the data is a humongous task. You can try writing to world cities database as well to see how they manage updates and you can leverage the same for your experiment. Do note its a paid subscription for the latter suggested site.


Check this link, the late comers https://public.opendatasoft.com/explore/dataset/geonames-all-cities-with-a-population-1000/export/?disjunctive.cou_name_en&sort=name

As a sample, a few rows of data:

2639792;Queensbury;Queensbury;Queensbury;P;PPL;GB;United Kingdom;;ENG;B4;;;8912;;347;Europe/London;2019-05-09;United Kingdom;53.76657   -1.84912
2639897;Prestwich;Prestwich;Prestwich;P;PPL;GB;United Kingdom;;ENG;C1;;;32125;;97;Europe/London;2013-08-05;United Kingdom;53.53333  -2.28333
2639962;Pott Shrigley;Pott Shrigley;;P;PPLA3;GB;United Kingdom;;ENG;Z7;00EQ106;;0;;198;Europe/London;2011-07-31;United Kingdom;53.30957 -2.08405
2639969;Potterspury;Potterspury;Potterspury;P;PPL;GB;United Kingdom;;ENG;J1;34UG;34UG052;1453;;91;Europe/London;2018-07-03;United Kingdom;52.08288  -0.89676
  • It is just a list of cities, and does not contain contain population data for each year, right?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Mar 16, 2023 at 3:23
  • @NicolasRaoul, Oh sorry I didnt notice that per year condition. Anyway, yearly population everywhere is calculated. Actual head counts only in every 5 or 10years.
    – binrebin
    Mar 16, 2023 at 14:16

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