The world continues to urbanise. In 2008, for the first time in history more than half of the world's population lived in cities. By 2030, it is estimated that five billion people—80 per cent of humanity—will be urbanised.

For highly urbanised countries, a wrong step in urban policy can have national implications, especially when around 40 per cent of the national population live in just two cities (as is the case for Australia). Aside from city states like Singapore and Monaco, Australia is the most urbanised nation on earth. More than three in four of Australians live in the 18 cities of 100,000 people or more. Few other countries have as much need to understand how their cities work as Australia.

State of Australian Cities 2013 was launched by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, on 30 July 2013. The report brings together current research, including newly released data from the 2011 Census, to present a comprehensive snapshot of Australian cities.

It is the fourth in a series of annual Australian Government publications reporting on the progress of Australia's major cities towards the goals and objectives of the National Urban Policy (529). The previous three editions (529) of State of Australian Cities have together been downloaded more than 3 million times.

State of Australian Cities 2013 details changes in urban population and settlement and examines indicators relating to productivity, sustainability and liveability. It concludes with a discussion of governance in Australia's 18 major cities and an evaluation of progress in implementing the National Urban Policy.

In 2013, for the first time, the spatial focus of State of Australian Cities 2013 is significantly enhanced through the addition of a large number of interactive maps of the major cites. Around 1,000 maps are available in two versions: a medium resolution PDF version and a high resolution interactive version.

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