Discover the 5 Most Populated Cities in Bangladesh

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde
Updated: July 3, 2023
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Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Since its independence in 1971, it has been a friendly country and a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc).

Notable for being home to the world’s largest river delta and the longest natural uninterrupted sea beach in Asia, it is also the eighth most populous nation with a total population of over 168 million. That’s about 2.2% of the total world population. This population is distributed across the different major cities in the country. Five of the biggest cities are:

Picture Graph of the 5 Most Populous Cities in Bangladesh.
Each of these cities has its unique industries, culture, and history.

Read on to learn more detail about Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Bogra, and Sylhet, the five most populous cities in Bangladesh.

1. Dhaka — Population 21 Million

Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh and the principal city of the Dhaka district. It is located on the bank of the Buriganga River, and it has been referred to as one of the fastest-growing cities in Bangladesh. Dhaka’s metropolitan population is 21 million, making it one of the most populated cities in the world and the largest city in Bangladesh.

Dhaka’s population is growing by an estimated 4.2 percent. The perpetual growth of Dhaka is a reflection of annual migrations from rural to urban areas. The population literacy rate is computed at 6.2 percent. Dhaka is famous for its versatile cuisine, colorful art festivals, and religious diversity. The city has also had a thriving publishing industry since 1947.

dhaka

Dhaka is famous for its versatile cuisine, colorful art festivals, and religious diversity.

©Social Media Hub/Shutterstock.com

Chittagong — Population 5.1 Million 

Chittagong is a large commercial and coastal city located in Bangladesh. It is regarded as the financial center in South Eastern Bangladesh, and it lies 12 miles from the Karnaphuli river. As of 2021, Chittagong had a population of approximately 5.1 million, making it the second-largest city in Bangladesh. The contemporary city of Chittagong was developed according to a master plan which includes two sizable markets, construction of various buildings involved in cotton and jute milling, tea manufacturing, chemical production, engineering, iron and steel milling, and a refinery. 

The city is also a significant export processing zone and is home to several branch offices of many foreign firms and banks. Chittagong is also the location of the ethnological museum and the Zia Museum. It is also an educational hub. The University of Chittagong and Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology are the most prominent institutions in this city.

Chittagong

Chittagong is a significant export hub for Bangladesh.

©Hafiz Johari/Shutterstock.com

Khulna — Population 1.5 Million 

Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh after Dhaka & Chittagong, with a metro population of approximately 1.5 million. Located in the South Western sphere of the nation, its economy is the third largest in Bangladesh. Khula is central to the Bangladesh economy in several ways. Some of its major sectors include but are not limited to jute, chemical production, shipbuilding, and food processing. Khulna Oxygen Company and Platinum Jubilee Mills are some of the biggest companies in Khulna. It also houses an export processing zone which has attracted foreign investment. The city also has several branch offices of many national companies, such as the Abul Khair Group and James Finlay Bangladesh Summit Power. 

Beyond its large-scale economic activities, Khulna houses the oldest higher education institution – Brajalal University, founded in 1902. There is also an engineering institute and an agricultural college. Tourism flourishes in Khulna due to the natural wonders within the city. The Sunderbans, the world’s largest virgin mangrove forest (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Mosque City of Bagerhat(also a UNESCO site) are all located in Khulna. The tourist attractions are the most appealing parts of Khulna, even though they lie beyond the city limits.

Khulna

Khulna is the third-largest economy in Bangladesh and has the third-highest population.

©Sk Hasan Ali/Shutterstock.com

Bogra — Population 1.2 million

Bogra(also called Bogura) is one of the major cities in Bangladesh’s Rajshahi Division. With a population of 1.2 million residents, Bogra is one of the most populated cities in Northern Bangladesh. It is also known as one of the oldest cities in Bangladesh. Urban development has contributed significantly to the commercial and economic importance of the city. Since the new urban planning project began in Bogra, the entire city has witnessed a tremendous expansion in metropolitan development. Today Bogra is characterized by restructured and wider roads, improved telecommunications, and installed gas connections. 

The production of red chilies and banking flourishes enormously in Bogra. Prominent chili companies like Acme and BD foods dominate red chili production in the city. Online and offline banking facilities are preeminent within Bogra. It houses government banks like the Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Development Bank, Agrani Bank, Rupali Bank, Janata Bank, and Sonali Bank. Private and specialized banks such as Pubali bank and IFIC banks are also housed there. Beyond banking, Bogra is famous for Buddhist temples and ancient sultan palaces for d producing two notable personalities – Ziaur Rahman and Muhammad Ali of Pakistan.

Bogra

The production of chilis flourishes in Bogra.

©Sohel Parvez Haque/Shutterstock.com

Sylhet — Population 928,000

Located on the north bank of the Surma river, Sylhet is a metropolitan city in the northeastern area of Bangladesh. The city has a population of about 928,000 people, and it is famous for its subtropical climate and lushly beautiful highlands. Its importance to Bangladesh is economic, cultural, and spiritual. The urban area is one of the most significant business areas in Bangladesh. 

Real estate, construction, restaurants, and hotels flourish within the city based on the substantial portion of Bangladesh’s remittances that flow into it. Religious tourism is another robust industry of Sylhet, with thousands of spiritual devotees flocking to shrines annually. It also relies on eco-tourism in its broad hinterland, which is home to gas and oil fields, tea plantations, cane, palm oil, rubber, citrus farms, fertilizer, and cement plants. Sylhet is one of the wealthiest cities in Bangladesh, coming in behind Dhaka and Chittagong. All three cities have the highest affluent residential areas in Bangladesh.

Sylhet

Sylhet is known for its beautiful, tea-producing hinterlands which attract hordes of ecotourists.

©Tawsif Torabi/Shutterstock.com

Conclusion

These five most populated cities in Bangladesh are significant to the country’s political, economic, and educational life. As with every other country across the world, the most developed cities in the country often draw the biggest crowds and a massive influx of residents and visitors. 

Summary of the 5 Most Populated Cities in Bangladesh

Rank by PopulationCityPopulation Count
1.Dhaka21 million
2.Chittagong5.1 million
3.Khulna1.5 million
4.Bogra1.2 million
5.Sylhet928,000

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lumenite/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated content writer who can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing about animals, nature, and health. He loves animals, especially horses, and would love to have one someday.

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Sources
  1. , Available here: https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/cities/bangladesh
  2. , Available here: https://statisticstimes.com/demographics/country/bangladesh-cities-population.php