List of largest cities

The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classified using the same criteria.[1] Cities may be defined as the cities proper, the extent of their urban area, or their metropolitan regions.[1] The largest city by population using the city proper definition, which is the area under the administrative boundaries of a local government, is Chongqing, China. The largest city by population using the metropolitan area definition, which is a loose term referring to urban area and its primary commuter areas, is Tokyo, Japan. The largest city by population using the urban area definition, which is a loose term referring to a contiguous area with a certain population density, is also Tokyo, Japan.

Common city definitions

City proper (administrative)

 
The municipality of Chongqing, whose administrative area is around the size of Austria, has the largest population for a city proper. However, more than 70% of its residents actually live in rural areas.

A city can be defined by its administrative boundaries (city proper). UNICEF[1] defines city proper as "the population living within the administrative boundaries of a city or controlled directly from the city by a single authority." A city proper is a locality defined according to legal or political boundaries and an administratively recognised urban status that is usually characterised by some form of local government.[2][3][4] Cities proper and their boundaries and population data may not include suburbs.[5]

The use of city proper as defined by administrative boundaries may not include suburban areas where an important proportion of the population working or studying in the city lives.[5] Because of this definition, the city proper population figure may differ greatly with the urban area population figure, as many cities are amalgamations of smaller municipalities (Australia), and conversely, many Chinese cities govern territories that extend well beyond the traditional "city proper" into suburban and rural areas.[6] The Chinese municipality of Chongqing, which claims the largest city proper in the world, comprises a huge administrative area of 82,403 km2, around the size of Austria. However, more than 70% of its 30-million population are actually agricultural workers living in a rural setting.[7][8]

Metropolitan area

A city can be defined by the inhabitants of its demographic population, as by metropolitan area, labour market area, or similar in a metropolitan area. UNICEF[1] defines metropolitan area as follows:

A formal local government area comprising the urban area as a whole and its primary commuter areas, typically formed around a city with a large concentration of people (i.e., a population of at least 100,000). In addition to the city proper, a metropolitan area includes both the surrounding territory with urban levels of residential density and some additional lower-density areas that are adjacent to and linked to the city (e.g., through frequent transport, road linkages or commuting facilities).

In many countries, metropolitan areas are established either with an official organisation or only for statistical purposes. In the United States, metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for statistical purpose.[9] In the Philippines, metropolitan areas have an official agency, such as Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which manages Manila metropolitan area.[10] Similar agencies exist in Indonesia such as Jabodetabekjur Development Cooperation Agency for Jakarta metropolitan area.[11]

Urban area

 
Tokyo is considered the world's largest city, with its urbanisation exceeding its city limits.

A city can be defined as a conditionally contiguous urban area, without regard to territorial or other boundaries inside an urban area. UNICEF[1] defines urban area as follows:

The definition of "urban" varies from country to country, and, with periodic reclassification, can also vary within one country over time, making direct comparisons difficult. An urban area can be defined by one or more of the following: administrative criteria or political boundaries (e.g., area within the jurisdiction of a municipality or town committee), a threshold population size (where the minimum for an urban settlement is typically in the region of 2,000 people, although this varies globally between 200 and 50,000), population density, economic function (e.g., where a significant majority of the population is not primarily engaged in agriculture, or where there is surplus employment) or the presence of urban characteristics (e.g., paved streets, electric lighting, sewerage).

According to Demographia, an urban area is a continuously built up land mass of urban development that is within a labor market (metropolitan area or metropolitan region) and contains no rural land.[12]

Largest cities

There are 81 cities with a population over 5,000,000 people according to the United Nations 2018 estimates. [13]

City[a] Country Skyline UN 2018 population estimates[13] City proper[b] Metropolitan area[c] Urban area
(Demographia)[12]
Definition Population Area
(km2)
Population Area
(km2)
Population Area
(km2)
Tokyo   Japan   37,400,068 Metropolis prefecture 13,515,271[14] 2,191[14] 37,274,000[15] 13,452[15] 38,505,000 8,223[d]
Delhi   India   28,514,000 National capital territory 16,753,235[16] 1,484 29,000,000[17] 3,483[17] 28,125,000 2,240[e]
Shanghai   China   25,582,000 Municipality 24,183,000[18] 6,341 N/A N/A 22,125,000 4,015[f]
São Paulo   Brazil   21,650,000 Municipality 12,252,023[19] 1,521 21,734,682[20] 7,947 20,935,000 3,043[g]
Mexico City   Mexico   21,581,000 City-state 8,918,653[21] 1,485 20,892,724[22] 7,854 20,395,000 2,370
Cairo   Egypt   20,076,000 Urban governorate 9,500,000[23] 3,085 N/A N/A 16,925,000 1,917
Mumbai   India   19,980,000 Municipality 12,478,447[24] 603 24,400,000[25] 4,355[26] 23,645,000 881[h]
Beijing   China   19,618,000 Municipality 21,707,000[18] 16,411 N/A N/A 19,430,000 4,144
Dhaka   Bangladesh   19,578,000 Capital city 14,399,000[27] 338[28] 14,543,124[27] 18,595,000 453
Osaka   Japan   19,281,000 Designated city 2,725,006[14] 225[14] 19,303,000[15] 13,228[15] 17,150,000 3,004[i]
New York City   United States   18,819,000 City 8,398,748[29] 786 19,303,808[30] 17,315 21,045,000 11,875[j]
Karachi   Pakistan   15,400,000 Metropolitan city 14,910,352[31] 3,780 16,900,000 1,036
Buenos Aires   Argentina   14,967,000 Autonomous city 3,054,300[32] 203 12,806,866[33] 15,130,000 3,212
Chongqing   China   14,838,000 Municipality 30,165,500[34] 82,403 N/A N/A 8,300,000 1,489
Istanbul   Turkey   14,751,000 Metropolitan municipality 15,029,231[35] 5,196 N/A N/A 13,860,000 1,360
Kolkata   India   14,681,000 Municipality 4,496,694[36] 205 14,035,959[37] 1,851[38] 15,215,000 1,347
Manila   Philippines   13,482,000 Metropolitan Area 1,780,148[39] 43 12,877,253[39] 620 25,065,000 1,813[k]
Lagos   Nigeria   13,463,000 N/A[l] N/A N/A 21,000,000[40] 1,171[40] 14,630,000 1,943
Rio de Janeiro   Brazil   13,293,000 Municipality 6,520,000[41] 1,221 12,644,321[42] 5,327 12,070,000 1,917
Tianjin   China   13,215,000 Municipality 15,569,000[18] 11,920 N/A N/A 13,035,000 2,771
Kinshasa   DR Congo   13,171,000 City-province 11,462,000[43] 9,965 12,960,000 583
Guangzhou   China   12,638,000 City (sub-provincial) 14,498,400[18] 7,434 N/A N/A 20,130,000 3,885[m]
Los Angeles   United States   12,458,000 City 3,990,456[29] 1,214 13,291,486[44] 12,559 15,440,000 6,299
Moscow   Russia   12,410,000 Federal city 13,200,000[45] 2,511[46] N/A N/A 16,555,000 5,698
Shenzhen   China   11,908,000 City (sub-provincial) 12,528,300[18] 2,050 N/A N/A 13,195,000 1,748
Lahore   Pakistan   11,738,000 Metropolitan city 11,126,000[31] 1,772 11,545,000 896
Bangalore   India   11,440,000 Municipality 8,443,675[47] 709 11,250,000 1,166
Paris   France   10,901,000 Commune 2,148,271[48] 105 12,244,807[49] 10,960,000 2,845
Bogotá   Colombia   10,574,000 Capital District 7,963,000[50] 1,587 12,545,272[51] 5,934 10,705,000 585
Jakarta   Indonesia   10,517,000 Special capital region 10,154,134[52] 664[52] 33,430,285[53] 7,063[53] 34,365,000 3,367[n]
Chennai   India   10,456,000 Municipality 6,727,000[54] 426[55] 10,560,000 1,049
Lima   Peru   10,391,000 Metropolitan municipality 8,894,000[56] 2,672 9,569,468[57] 2,819 11,460,000 894
Bangkok   Thailand   10,156,000 Special administrative area 5,782,000[58] 1,569 16,255,900[59] 7,762[60] 16,045,000 3,043
Seoul   South Korea   9,963,000 Special city 9,806,000[61] 605 25,514,000[62] 11,704 24,315,000 2,745[o]
Nagoya   Japan   9,507,000 Designated city 2,320,361[14] 326[14] 9,363,000[15] 7,271[15] 10,240,000 3,704
Hyderabad   India   9,482,000 Municipality 6,993,262[63] 650[64] 9,580,000 1,230
London   United Kingdom   9,046,000 Capital city 8,825,001[65] 1,572 14,372,596[49] 10,840,000 1,738
Tehran   Iran   8,896,000 Capital city 9,033,003[66] 751[67] 14,630,000 1,943
Chicago   United States   8,864,000 City 2,705,994[29] 589 9,498,716[68] 18,640 9,275,000 6,856
Chengdu   China   8,813,000 City (sub-provincial) 16,044,700[18] 14,378 N/A N/A 12,160,000 1,813
Nanjing   China 8,245,000 City (sub-provincial) 7,260,000[69] 6,582 N/A N/A 6,125,000 1,489
Wuhan   China   8,176,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,892,900[18] 8,494 N/A N/A 8,470,000 1,619
Ho Chi Minh City   Vietnam   8,145,000 Municipality 7,431,000[70] 2,061 10,955,000 1,645
Luanda   Angola   7,774,000 Municipality 2,165,867[71] 116[71] 7,645,000 984
Ahmedabad   India   7,681,000 Municipality 5,570,585[72] 464 6,300,000[73] 7,715,000 350
Kuala Lumpur   Malaysia   7,564,000 City 1,768,000[74] 243 7,200,000[75] 2,793[75] 7,860,000 2,163
Xi'an   China   7,444,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,989,000[18] 10,135 N/A N/A 7,135,000 1,088
Hong Kong   China   7,429,000 Special administrative region 7,298,600[76] 1,104[77] N/A N/A 7,435,000 285
Dongguan   China   7,360,000 Prefecture-level city 8,342,500[18] 2,465 N/A N/A 8,410,000 1,748
Hangzhou   China   7,236,000 City (sub-provincial) 9,468,000[18] 16,596 N/A N/A 6,960,000 1,334
Foshan   China   7,236,000 City (sub-provincial) 7,197,394[18] 3,848 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Shenyang   China   6,921,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,294,000[18] 12,980 N/A N/A 7,055,000 1,502[p]
Riyadh   Saudi Arabia   6,907,000 Municipality 6,694,000[78] 1,913 N/A N/A 6,050,000 1,658
Baghdad   Iraq   6,812,000 Urban governorate 8,126,755[79] 5,200[79] N/A N/A 7,315,000 673
Santiago   Chile   6,680,000 City (commune) 236,453[80] 22[80] 7,112,808[81] 15,403[81] 6,410,000 1,140
Surat   India   6,564,000 Municipality 4,466,826[82] 327[82] 6,385,000 233
Madrid   Spain   6,497,000 Municipality 3,266,126[83] 606 6,641,649[49] 6,345,000 1,360
Suzhou   China   6,339,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,721,700[18] 8,488.42 N/A N/A 5,250,000 1,373
Pune   India   6,276,000 Municipality 3,124,458[84] 276 7,276,000[85] 7,256[85] 6,265,000 583
Harbin   China   6,115,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,635,971[18] 53,068 N/A N/A
Houston   United States   6,115,000 City 2,325,502[29] 1,553 6,997,384[86] 21,395[86] 6,315,000 4,841
Dallas   United States   6,099,000 City 1,345,047[29] 882 7,470,158[87] 22,463[87] 6,550,000 5,175[q]
Toronto   Canada   6,082,000 City 2,731,571[88] 630[89] 5,928,040[90] 5,906[90] 6,630,000 2,300
Dar es Salaam   Tanzania   6,048,000 4,364,541 1,393
Miami   United States   6,036,000 470,914[29] 92.9 6,158,824 15,890
Belo Horizonte   Brazil   5,972,000 2,502,557 330.9 5,156,217 9,459.1
Singapore   Singapore   5,792,000 Country 5,638,700 725.7
Philadelphia   United States   5,695,000 Consolidated city-county 1,526,006 369.59 6,096,120
Atlanta   United States   5,572,000 420,003 354.22 5,949,951 21,690 5,580,000 7,296
Fukuoka   Japan   5,551,000 Designated city 1,588,924 343.39 2,565,501 2,480,000 505
Khartoum   Sudan   5,534,000 639,598 22,142 5,274,321 5,685,000 1,010
Barcelona   Spain   5,494,000 Municipality 1,620,343[91] 101.4 5,474,482[92] 4,810,000 1,075
Johannesburg   South Africa   5,486,000 Metropolitan municipality 9,335,000 2,590
Saint Petersburg   Russia   5,383,000 Federal city
Qingdao   China   5,381,000 City (sub-provincial)
Dalian   China   5,300,000 City (sub-provincial)
Washington, D.C.   United States   5,207,000 Federal district 702,455[29] 177 6,263,245[93] 17,009 7,515,000 5,281[r]
Yangon   Myanmar   5,157,000 City
Alexandria   Egypt   5,086,000 Urban governorate
Jinan   China   5,052,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,700,000 10,244 11,000,000 53,000
Guadalajara   Mexico   5,023,000 Municipality 1,460,148 151 5,002,466 2,734

See also

Notes

  1. ^ For urban/metropolitan areas that have more than one core city, the figure for their city proper should use either the most populous one (e.g. Düsseldorf for Rhine-Ruhr, or Dallas for Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex) or the most well-known one (e.g. Manila for Metro Manila, instead of Quezon City).
  2. ^ Figures taken from official census when possible
  3. ^ Figures taken from official census when possible
  4. ^ Includes large areas Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures and smaller areas of Gunma, Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures.
  5. ^ Includes Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Bahadurgarh urban areas and New Delhi.
  6. ^ Includes Taicang
  7. ^ Includes Francisco Morato
  8. ^ Includes Kalyan and urban areas of Panvel, Bhiwandi and Vasai-Virar.
  9. ^ Includes major cities of Kobe and Kyoto, collectively also known as Keihanshin area.
  10. ^ Includes Bridgeport, New Haven, Trenton, Danbury, Waterbury and Twin Rivers urban areas.
  11. ^ The continuous urbanization of Manila extends outward its Metro Manila into other neighbouring provinces such as Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga and Batangas provinces.
  12. ^ Although commonly referred to as a city, Lagos is a metropolitan area consisting of 16 local government areas.
  13. ^ Includes the city of Foshan.
  14. ^ Includes Tangerang, South Tangerang, Bogor, Bekasi and Karawang.
  15. ^ Includes the city of Incheon.
  16. ^ Includes the city of Fushun.
  17. ^ Includes the city of Fort Worth, collectively known as Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.
  18. ^ Includes the city of Baltimore.

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