Not sure if I entirely understand the value of Population.
IIUC, production, research, gildar, and mana production are based off yields inherent in a city's placement tile, modified by the structures built within the city and enchantments cast upon the city. I don't actually see population size factoring into taxation, production, or research output. Am I wrong?
If so, then population seems to serve only 2 purposes: (a) ability to produce pioneers, ( leveling a city. The latter ( seems to net you one free bonus per level (if you also count the bonus granted to base conclaves, towns, and fortresses).
I'm kind of hoping I'm mistaken, since it seems counterintuitive to me to have taxation, production, and research be independent of population, and it also seems to make growth much less important than I had originally felt it to be.
Your constructive feedback is greatly appreciated, thank you.