Biggest Cities In Bolivia

The southern skyline of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
The southern skyline of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Bolivia, officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a Spanish speaking country in Western-Central South America. It is one of the two landlocked countries in South America the other being Paraguay. The capital city of Bolivia is Santa Cruz de la Sierra which is located in the eastern part of the state and has a metro population of 3,102,998. Industrialization of the country has led to urban-rural migration which has resulted in the large population in cities and major towns. Some of the biggest cities in the country are discussed below.

Biggest Cities In Bolivia

Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the capital city of Bolivia and situated on the Pirai River, Santa Cruz de La Sierra municipality in Andres Ibanez province, Bolivia. It is the most populated city in the country with an estimated metro population of 3.1 million with an area coverage of 207 square miles. It was established by a Nuflo De Chavez, a Spanish explorer, in 1561 and did not gain much attention until after the Second World War. It has been listed one of the fast growing cities in the world and is the main business center in the country. Among the first settlers were the native Chane people, native Spanish, and Guarani’s from Paraguay.

La Paz

La Paz, officially known as Nuestra Senora de la Paz, is a city in Pedro Domingo Murillo Province, Bolivia was founded in 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza. It has a metro population of approximately 2.4 million. It is located at an elevation of 11,975 feet thus experiencing a Subtropical highland climate with rainy summers and dry winters. It plays a significant role in the country’s political, administrative, and economic matters as it is the site of the presidential palace, Plurinational Legislative Assembly, several other government agencies, foreign embassies, companies, and industries. It is also home to various landmarks of the colonial times and unique markets.

El Alto

El Alto is one of the fast-growing urban cities in Bolivia located in El Alto Municipality in Pedro Domingo Murillo province at an elevation of 13,615 feet. The building of the railway line in 1903 led to the habitation of the area as well as the building of the airbase for the country’s military air force enhanced it. As at the 1950s, the population of the area had grown tremendously and was formally in 1987 as a city. It is home to an international airport and has a general metro population of 2.3 million and has a cold climate.


Cochabamba located in Cochabamba Municipality, Cercado Province, Bolivia was founded in 1571. Due to the fertile, productive soil and the favorable climate at the town, it has been inhabited for several years even before the arrival of the Spanish in the region. It has a semi-arid climate and is the most

economically and socially progressive cities in the country. The city is an agricultural and an industrial hub as well. It has a general metro population of 1.9 million of mainly Cochalas.


Oruro is a city in Bolivia with a population of 264,683 and an area coverage of 631 square miles. It was founded on November 1, 1606, as a silver mining center and is located in Cercado Province in Oruro department, Bolivia. The city’s economy is mainly dependent on the Mining industry of tin, tungsten, silver, and copper. Over the twentieth century, tourism has grown and greatly impacts the country’s economy.

Problems Facing Cities In Bolivia

Various problems are facing the cities in Bolivia such as overcrowding due to the Rural to urban migration. The constant increase in the number of inhabitants in these cities leads to the degeneration of the quality of various public services such as health services. Urbanization has the negative effects on the environment like pollution of the air, land, and water bodies.

Biggest Cities In Bolivia

Rank Biggest Cities in Bolivia Metro Area Population
1 Santa Cruz de la Sierra 3,102,998
2 La Paz 2,364,235
3 El Alto 2,300,000
4 Cochabamba 1,938,401
5 Oruro 264,683
6 Potosí 240,966
7 Sucre 237,480
8 Tarija 234,442
9 Sacaba 149,570
10 Quillacollo 117,859

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