Civilization VI: Population Guide

Civilization VI is a game that prides itself on empire building. After all, the ultimate goal is creating beautiful cities! No matter if you want a sprawling military empire, or a cultural epicenter; this guide is for you! Here's some tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind when you're dealing with growing your city populations!

Civilization VI Population Guide

Civilization VI is a game that prides itself on 4x gameplay, that being to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. The art of expansion is everything for any nation, people being the lifeblood of civilization. You can’t wield powerful armies if you don’t have the population for it! There’s several factors to keep in mind when building your cities, however the pay off can be substantial to any victory type!

The maximum size a city can grow to be is 30, granting you a massive amount of resources, and district strength. The main components of growing your population are taking advantage of Food, Housing, and Amenities; making sure that no matter who you choose to go with that you hold a sufficient amount of each. 

Benefits of Large Populations

Benefits of large populations directly correlates to the speed in which your culture, and science points are gained. For every citizen in your population, up to 30, you’ll receive .5 points to each perspective field. Additionally, citizens placed on tiles that’re within their city’s borders increasing the yield of the city substantially.

These citizens can be placed both in tile improvement buildings, as well as in wonders and districts, enhancing their bonuses. Religious citizens are great for exploiting your religion around others as they travel, making larger cities of your faith especially potent. Finally the larger your population is, the faster things will produce, and the more domestic tourism you’ll receive for the long run.

A sprawling city

A sprawling city that showcases how you can span yourself out without needing to infringe on borders, or other cities!

Strong cities provide additional benefits such as causing disloyalty to sow around nations of other banners forming around you. City states, and other empire’s cities can often be absorbed into your empire purely by having cities of notable population. So long as you keep your cities filled with amenities, food, and housing you’ll be able to act as a shining beacon to those who are less fortunate. Foreign tourism often revolves around larger cities, and grants bonuses to diplomatic favor, making you a great candidate for trade with other nations!

Dangers of Large Populations

Some of the dangers that can come from large population cities are that they’ll require an increasing amount of space in order to flourish. It’s quintessential that your cities have enough breathing room to fully sprawl out, or else they can become bottlenecked by need for food, housing and amenities.

The need for these resources often scales with the size of your nation, and requires that you constantly find new sources of each. Amenities can be the hardest aspects of growing a population due to the fact that they’re hard to find early benefits from. Trading routes, and alliances can help keep your nations growing.

Rebelling Cities

Rebelling cities are the main result of large populations that are left unhappy.

If you’re not friendly with your neighbors, you may find that larger cities on their end provide loyalty loss to your own cities. The biggest issue for larger population cities is that you’ll have to pay to keep them defensible and garrisoned. Large cities can attract the attention of barbarian camps and other cities if they aren’t defended by walls, or your own armies.

As a general note, it’s good to invest in walled cities early on, and place a ranged unit on them until you receive the Defensive Tactics civic! Governors are a great way to keep your cities loyal, and happy; and trade routes are ideal for keeping them clear of unnecessary rebellions.

Succeeding in Population Growth

When it comes to growing your populations, it really does boil down to the main three factors of food, amenities and housing. If you’re able to keep these things managed, or find means of exploiting these processes then you can easily grow cities.

Your populations should always be put to work, each tile having a citizen on it if it’s able, because these increase the total yield these cities produce. Districts, and improved tiles are the most important things to keep citizens on, however defensive structures, wonders, and basic land tiles can prove very beneficial in the long run as well. 


Maintaining the proper amount of food for your civilization can be challenging if you don’t have many places to put farms. You should try to keep as many farms early on as possible on anything that is not a luxury or necessary resource. Most importantly, you should try to keep up trade routes with civilizations which are willing to trade food resources.

Remember that there are multiple civics that you can pick up that are able to give you production bonuses to food. Farms aren’t the only means of providing food, as the ability to gain it from plantations. 


Farm allow for civilizations to grow quickly

It’s important to remember that most things that provide food also provide housing, which will make it easier for you to fill in the blanks for the second aspect of building up a city. In that regard, you have to make sure that you are able to sprawl your cities out by purchasing as many tiles for farms as possible.

Taking advantage of as many specialty buildings as you can such as Nubian Pyramids or Windmills will allow you to keep your cities large. If you don’t have these kinds of buildings it can be challenging. 


Housing is probably one of the easiest aspects of population growth to overlook. While farms and neighborhoods are great for producing housing; very few people instinctively focus on its production. Housing in Civilization VI allows for more citizens to enter a population, and do so happily. The more housed citizens, the higher the bonuses are for happiness which keeps your nations from rebelling against you.

There are several buildings outside of these that provide housing such as industrial zones, and barracks; however the most potent will be neighborhood districts. Late game, neighborhoods are one of the most over abundant means of building your cities up to 30. Neighborhoods are great because they can provide everything required for empire growth. 

Hanging Gardens

Hanging Gardens provide additional population growth and are useful for any civilization if they want large cities!

There are several wonders and districts that provide housing; and generally speaking it’s not a bad idea to put neighborhoods with super markets in every place you initially had a farm. These bonuses will allow you to consistently make sure your cities are swelling, happy, and filled with food.

On the opposing end, military encampments and fortifications can offer housing for soldiers. These buildings provide martial bonuses on top of housing which allows you to maintain a well rounded unit. Finally, religious buildings can be set to have housing and amenities which can greatly even out an otherwise unbalanced system!


Amenities in Civilization VI is a fickle subject for a good majority of players. On one hand you can acquire them fairly passively by building up your cultural, and religious centers. While on the other hand, these amenities can fall short rather quickly when you’re not focusing on them every so often.

Amenities are an easy way to lose or gain cities simply by whether or not you have them. Cities without amenities will be exceedingly bored, and will rebel quickly. Those who have amenities will be more likely to stay even if everything else is bad. These amenities are very important when trying to build population growth!

You can easily gain amenities for your cities via wonders, culture centers, industrial features and religious temples. These are also easily acquired through the theater square district; which also helps with your cultural point gains. There’s no right or wrong way to play with amenities in Civilization VI, just make sure that you have at least five more than the population itself. In this way, you’ll keep your people happy and healthy when you consider them. 

Other Factors

Other ways you can influence the growth of your cities is by making sure that you keep governors attached to them as well as constructing wonders. There’s plenty of methods for making your empire into a far larger force than it ordinarily could be; such as Hanging Gardens.

Religions under certain pantheons like the Fertility Rite can add increased benefits to population growth and amenities. There’s a lot of ways outside of structures and tile improvements which can make the population growth go quicker. For this reason it’s important to dip your toes into as many ponds as possible in game.

Civ 6 City Growth, Citizen Management & Specialists Guide || Civilization VI Tutorial

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Finally, make sure that you keep yourself aware of what civics cards you’re going to use. Plenty of them will help in the production of food, amenities and housing. These civic cards are able to modify your gameplay, and make certain aspects of the puzzle easier to put together. Remember that there’s no single way to achieve any of these possibilities. It’s important to strategize and you should build your nation to how you want to win the game in general! Large populations are the cornerstone of a thriving nation, so make sure to keep your cities strong and well connected!

Means of Losing Population

While there are several means of producing your populations, and keeping them large; there’s an equal amount of ways to lower other peoples populations. Most of these methods revolve around the premise of war, or natural disasters. Large armies and builders can prevent most of the grievances of these effects.

These disaster methods should be kept in mind so that you can try and work around them. Each of these situations acting as dangers to prevent you from success. If utilized properly; you can keep these dangers as powerful gadgets in your tool box to make sure that the game stays in your favor! 


Large cities are often the subject of conquest from barbarians and other civilizations. civilization who are conquered, will decrease by 25 percent in population size. Civilizations in a war can switch hands constantly; proving to be a real danger! Switching back and forth can result in a population being redacted hauntingly quickly.

It’s generally a good idea to allow this to happen to enemy capitals. Equally you should try and avoid conquest at all costs in your own territory. Often if a city’s besieged multiple times on your own territory becomes crippled. You’ll find yourself squabbling over lost causes. Instead, you might consider destroying it to simply deliver mercy. 

Besieged Cities

Besieged cities are one of the main forms of hindrances from conquests. Besieged cities do not gain population as quickly!

Defending your cities with walls and garrisons are your best means of protecting against conquests. Keep in mind that you have to be able to defend yourself if you want to create massive sprawling empires. The defensive tactics civic is wonderful for protecting against enemy forces. The Defensive Tactics civic allows the city themselves to make an attack.

Ranged units which can repel your enemies, as well as strong cavalry are great for routing enemy troops. These tactics are useful when besieging others, granting you the upper hand. There’s zero issue in razing cities that will prove problematic when you try to keep it. Cities who are troublesome can fall to disloyalty; they’ll create rebels. 

Nuclear Attacks

Nuclear weapons are a problem for late game scenarios; not being available before hand. These weapons are just as devastating in Civilization VI as they would be in the real world. The nuclear radiation produced by nuclear armament and thermonuclear warheads is enough to decimate cities quickly.

When a nuclear device explodes in an area, devastation follows with it.  Anyone who doesn’t have bomb shelters in game will be wiped away. This radiation making the population diminish substantially. Additionally, there will be a radius of nuclear fallout which kills off troops and civilians alike. Nuclear warheads are one of the worst case scenarios for a city of large size as they devastate it. 

Nuked cities

Nuked cities are by far one of the worst things that can happen to you in game, causing large swathes of devastation

Nuclear attacks aren’t very preventable as they will deal substantial damage to those who’re unprepared. The preparation of bomb shelters and bio domes are the best case scenario for salvaging anything from these attacks. It’s better to simply abandon a city which has fallen to nuclear attacks than trying to salvage them. The best recourse for nuclear attacks in game is to simply take up diplomatic action against them. Another option that’s considerable on your end is to release your own nuclear arsenal. 


Disasters come in the form of natural and man made scenarios where situations go completely wrong. Storms are one of the most potent forms of destruction to civilizations. They’re capable of utterly tarnishing your growing cities. Forest fires are another devastating disaster as they’re capable of destroying any forests or resources.

Nuclear disasters are terrible man made destructive events causing nuclear facilities explode. Equating in the creation of nuclear radiation on a city. Each of these are devastating in their own right and can quickly dismantle large cities. Disasters are tricky, being very hard to control when they take place.


Disasters can prove detrimental for city population growth! Destructive storms, and natural events can wither cities to nothing quickly.

Each of these is preventable to a degree by in game structures and modifications. Flood barriers, bomb shelters, and other preservation structures are vital to making sure you can escape with something. Spreading your cities out and not keeping them clumped together is the best case scenario for avoiding these disasters.

Individually, there’s little you can do about disasters. Afterwards there are always diplomatic actions which come in the form of emergencies. If dealing with enemies who have suffered from these effects. Its generally wise to strike them while they’re down, taking advantage of the RNG!

An Infinite Empire

Building large cities is the center most way of succeeding in Civilization VI. There’s no wrong way to succeed so long as you make sure your people are well fed, happy, and housed. No matter who you pick as a leader; large sprawling cities will benefit them well. Be it for the jewel of religion, or as the military capital of the world! The more you expand, the greater you’ll become; so keep those populations growing!

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