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List of largest cities

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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]

List

There are 81 cities with a population over 5,000,000 people according to the United Nations 2018 estimates. The UN figures are a mixture of city proper, metropolitan area, and urban area. Several cities such as Jakarta and Seoul have significantly larger metropolitan/urban population figures which are excluded on the UN data.[13]

City[a] Country Skyline UN 2018 population estimates[b] City proper[c] Metropolitan area[d] Urban area
(Demographia)[12]
Definition Population Area
(km2)
Population Area
(km2)
Population Area
(km2)
Tokyo  Japan Shinjuku skyline, Tokyo - Sony A7R (11831328835).jpg 37,400,068 Metropolis prefecture 13,515,271[14] 2,191[14] 37,274,000[15] 13,452[15] 37,977,000 8,230[e]
Delhi  India Skyline at Rajiv Chowk.JPG 28,514,000 National capital territory 16,753,235[16] 1,484 29,000,000[17] 3,483[17] 29,617,000 2,232[f]
Shanghai  China Huangpu River 2018-08-26 173648.jpg 25,582,000 Municipality 24,183,000[18] 6,341 N/A N/A 22,120,000 4,068[g]
São Paulo  Brazil SP from Altino Arantes Building.jpg 21,650,000 Municipality 12,252,023[19] 1,521 21,734,682[20] 7,947 22,046,000 3,116[h]
Mexico City  Mexico Ciudad.de.Mexico.City.- Paseo.Reforma.Skyline CDMX 2016 (cropped).jpg 21,581,000 City-state 8,918,653[21] 1,485 20,892,724[22] 7,854 20,996,000 2,386
Cairo  Egypt Flickr - archer10 (Dennis) - Egypt-2A-007.jpg 20,076,000 Urban governorate 9,500,000[23] 3,085 N/A N/A 19,372,000 2,010
Mumbai  India Mumbai 03-2016 10 skyline of Lotus Colony.jpg 19,980,000 Municipality 12,478,447[24] 603 24,400,000[25] 4,355[26] 23,355,000 944[i]
Beijing  China Beijing skyline from northeast 4th ring road (cropped).jpg 19,618,000 Municipality 21,707,000[18] 16,411 N/A N/A 19,433,000 4,172
Dhaka  Bangladesh Dhaka 14th March (32624769393).jpg 19,578,000 Capital city 8,906,039[27] 338[28] 14,543,124[29] 15,443,000 456
Osaka  Japan Nakanoshima Skyscrapers in 201504 001.jpg 19,281,000 Designated city 2,725,006[14] 225[14] 19,303,000[15] 13,228[15] 14,977,000 3,019[j]
New York City  United States A view of New York City with the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center from the Rockefeller Center.jpg 18,819,000 City 8,398,748[30] 786 19,303,808[31] 17,315 20,870,000 12,093[k]
Karachi  Pakistan KHIURBANSKYLINE.jpg 15,400,000 Metropolitan city 14,910,352[32] 3,530[33] 1,200[34] 14,835,000 1,044
Buenos Aires  Argentina High-rises of Puerto Madero (40022145164).jpg 14,967,000 Autonomous city 3,054,300[35] 203 12,806,866[36] 16,157,000 3,221
Chongqing  China 重庆市渝中区半岛.jpg 14,838,000 Municipality 30,165,500[37] 82,403 N/A N/A 7,739,000 1,537
Istanbul  Turkey İstanbul view from İstanbul Sapphire observation deck Aug 2014, p9.JPG 14,751,000 Metropolitan municipality 15,029,231[38] 5,196 N/A N/A 15,154,000 1,375
Kolkata  India Howrah Pano 3.jpg 14,681,000 Municipality 4,496,694[39] 205 14,035,959[40] 1,851[41] 17,560,000 1,351
Manila  Philippines BGC.jpg 13,482,000 Capital city 1,780,148[42] 43 12,877,253[42] 620 23,088,000 1,873[l]
Lagos  Nigeria Lagos skyline.jpg 13,463,000 N/A[m] N/A N/A 21,000,000[43] 1,171[43] 15,279,000 1,965
Rio de Janeiro  Brazil CentroRJ.jpg 13,293,000 Municipality 6,520,000[44] 1,221 12,644,321[45] 5,327 12,272,000 1,912
Tianjin  China Tianjin Skyline 2009 Sep 11 by Nangua 1.jpg 13,215,000 Municipality 15,569,000[18] 11,920 N/A N/A 10,800,000 2,813
Kinshasa  DR Congo Vue Kinshasa.jpg 13,171,000 City-province 11,462,000[46] 9,965 13,528,000 473
Guangzhou  China Guangzhou skyline.jpg 12,638,000 City (sub-provincial) 14,498,400[18] 7,434 N/A N/A 20,902,000 4,342[n]
Los Angeles  United States Los Angeles with Mount Baldy.jpg 12,458,000 City 3,990,456[30] 1,214 13,291,486[47] 12,559 15,402,000 6,351
Moscow  Russia Business Centre of Moscow.jpg 12,410,000 Federal city 13,200,000[48] 2,511[49] N/A N/A 17,125,000 5,891
Shenzhen  China Lo Wu District 201701.jpg 11,908,000 City (sub-provincial) 12,528,300[18] 2,050 N/A N/A 15,929,000 1,803
Lahore  Pakistan Badshahi Mosquee, Lahore.jpg 11,738,000 Metropolitan city 11,126,000[32] 1,772 11,021,000 853
Bangalore  India Bangalore Panorama edit1.jpg 11,440,000 Municipality 8,443,675[50] 709 13,707,000 1,205
Paris  France La Défense from the Arc de Triomphe, Paris 6 March 2015 003.jpg 10,901,000 Commune 2,148,271[51] 105 12,244,807[52] 11,020,000 2,509
Bogotá  Colombia Bogota Skyline.jpg 10,574,000 Capital District 7,963,000[53] 1,587 12,545,272[54] 5,934 9,464,000 584
Jakarta  Indonesia Jakarta-Skyline-from-Bund.jpg 10,517,000 Special capital region 10,154,134[55] 664[55] 33,430,285[56] 7,063[56] 34,540,000 3,540[o]
Chennai  India Chennai Skyline.jpg 10,456,000 Municipality 6,727,000[57] 426[58] 11,324,000 1,049
Lima  Peru Lima - Perú.jpg 10,391,000 Metropolitan municipality 8,894,000[59] 2,672 9,569,468[60] 2,819 9,848,000 890
Bangkok  Thailand 0008871 - Krung Thep Bridge 001.jpg 10,156,000 Special administrative area 5,782,000[61] 1,569 16,255,900[62] 7,762[63] 17,066,000 3,199
Seoul  South Korea Seoul (South Korea).jpg 9,963,000 Special city 9,806,000[64] 605 25,514,000[65] 11,704 21,794,000 2,768[p]
Nagoya  Japan Nagoya Night View.jpg 9,507,000 Designated city 2,320,361[14] 326[14] 9,363,000[15] 7,271[15] 9,113,000 3,704
Hyderabad  India High Rise buildings in Madhapur from Golkonda hill.jpg 9,482,000 Municipality 6,993,262[66] 650[67] 9,746,000 1,273
London  United Kingdom London Skyline (125508655).jpeg 9,046,000 Capital city 8,825,001[68] 1,572 14,372,596[52] 10,979,000 1,739
Tehran  Iran North of Tehran Skyline view.jpg 8,896,000 Capital city 9,033,003[69] 751[70] 13,633,000 1,704
Chicago  United States Chicago skyline, viewed from John Hancock Center.jpg 8,864,000 City 2,705,994[30] 589 9,498,716[71] 18,640 9,014,000 7,006
Chengdu  China Jiuyanqiao.jpg 8,813,000 City (sub-provincial) 16,044,700[18] 14,378 N/A N/A 11,309,000 1,828
Nanjing  China Nanjing Xinjiekou Skyline.jpg 8,245,000 City (sub-provincial) 7,260,000[72] 6,582 N/A N/A 7,496,000 1,613
Wuhan  China 三阳路&武汉长江公铁隧道(4).jpg 8,176,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,892,900[18] 8,494 N/A N/A 8,962,000 1,646
Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam Saigon skyline night view.jpg 8,145,000 Municipality 7,431,000[73] 2,061 13,312,000 1,638
Luanda  Angola Luanda Skyline - Angola 2015 (cropped).jpg 7,774,000 Municipality 2,165,867[74] 116[74] 8,417,000 1,023
Ahmedabad  India Riverfront Ahmedabad.jpg 7,681,000 Municipality 5,570,585[75] 464 6,300,000[76] 7,410,000 359
Kuala Lumpur  Malaysia Moonrise over kuala lumpur.jpg 7,564,000 City 1,768,000[77] 243 7,200,000[78] 2,793[78] 8,285,000 2,162
Xi'an  China China Telecom,xi'an,CHINA - panoramio.jpg 7,444,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,989,000[18] 10,135 N/A N/A 7,135,000 1,088
Hong Kong  China Hong Kong Skyline (157974881).jpeg 7,429,000 Special administrative region 7,298,600[79] 1,104[80] N/A N/A 7,347,000 291
Dongguan  China 旗峰山顶看南城.jpg 7,360,000 Prefecture-level city 8,342,500[18] 2,465 N/A N/A 7,981,000 1,755
Hangzhou  China Hangzhou CBD (Cropped).jpg 7,236,000 City (sub-provincial) 9,468,000[18] 16,596 N/A N/A 6,446,000 1,446
Foshan  China 39459-Foshan.jpg 7,236,000 City (sub-provincial) 7,197,394[18] 3,848 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Shenyang  China Shenyang Qingnian Street.JPG 6,921,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,294,000[18] 12,980 N/A N/A 7,105,000 1,515[q]
Riyadh  Saudi Arabia Riyadh Skyline.jpg 6,907,000 Municipality 6,694,000[81] 1,913 N/A N/A 6,881,000 1,672
Baghdad  Iraq فندق بغداد روتانا.jpg 6,812,000 Urban governorate 8,126,755[82] 5,200[82] N/A N/A 5,796,000 693
Santiago  Chile J28 293 »Sanhattan«.jpg 6,680,000 City (commune) 236,453[83] 22[83] 7,112,808[84] 15,403[84] 7,007,000 1,148
Surat  India Pandit DinDayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium,Surat.jpg 6,564,000 Municipality 4,466,826[85] 327[85] 5,807,000 238
Madrid  Spain Madrid Cityscape.jpg 6,497,000 Municipality 3,266,126[86] 606 6,641,649[52] 6,026,000 1,365
Suzhou  China Gate of the Orient 东方之门 dong fang zhi men Suzhou photo Christian Gänshirt 2015.JPG 6,339,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,721,700[18] 8,488.42 N/A N/A 5,250,000 1,373
Pune  India Pune West skyline - March 2017.jpg 6,276,000 Municipality 3,124,458[87] 276 7,276,000[88] 7,256[88] 7,764,000 649
Harbin  China Harbinblue.jpg 6,115,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,635,971[18] 53,068 N/A N/A 4,458,000 670
Houston  United States Aerial views of the Houston, Texas, 28005u.jpg 6,115,000 City 2,325,502[30] 1,553 6,997,384[89] 21,395[89] 6,406,000 4,930
Dallas  United States Downtown Dallas Skyline.jpg 6,099,000 City 1,345,047[30] 882 7,470,158[90] 22,463[90] 6,830,000 5,279[r]
Toronto  Canada Sunset Toronto Skyline Panorama Crop from Snake Island.jpg 6,082,000 City 2,731,571[91] 630[92] 5,928,040[93] 5,906[93] 6,871,000 2,334
Dar es Salaam  Tanzania Dar es Salaam at a bird's view.jpg 6,048,000 4,364,541 1,393 6,698,000 604
Miami  United States Downtown Miami Panorama from the Rusty Pelican photo D Ramey Logan.jpg 6,036,000 470,914[30] 92.9 6,158,824 15,890 6,144,000 3,313
Belo Horizonte  Brazil Belo Horizonte (2).jpg 5,972,000 2,502,557 330.9 5,156,217 9,459.1 5,159,000 1,288
Singapore  Singapore Singapore Marina Bay Dusk 2018-02-27.jpg 5,792,000 Country 5,638,700 725.7 N/A N/A 5,745,000 523
Philadelphia  United States Philadelphia skyline from South Street Bridge January 2020.jpeg 5,695,000 Consolidated city-county 1,526,006 369.59 6,096,120 5,684,000 5,430
Atlanta  United States Midtown HDR Atlanta.jpg 5,572,000 420,003 354.22 5,949,951 21,690 5,361,000 7,400
Fukuoka  Japan 20100718 Fukuoka 2870.jpg 5,551,000 Designated city 1,588,924 343.39 2,128,000 504
Khartoum  Sudan الخرطوم-جزيرة توتي.jpg 5,534,000 639,598 22,142 5,274,321 7,282,000 1,031
Barcelona  Spain Central business district of Barcelona (2).JPG 5,494,000 Municipality 1,620,343[94] 101.4 5,474,482[95] 4,588,000 1,072
Johannesburg  South Africa The Wits University East Campus (archived).jpg 5,486,000 Metropolitan municipality 9,505,000 2,542
Saint Petersburg  Russia Spb 06-2017 img01 Spit of Vasilievsky Island.jpg 5,383,000 Federal city 5,230,000 1,372
Qingdao  China Qingdao picture.jpg 5,381,000 City (sub-provincial) 5,911,000 1,656
Dalian  China DalianSkyline.JPG 5,300,000 City (sub-provincial) 3,776,000 988
Washington, D.C.  United States Washington, D.C. - 2007 aerial view.jpg 5,207,000 Federal district 702,455[30] 177 6,263,245[96] 17,009 7,518,000 5,500[s]
Yangon  Myanmar Yangon downtown at night.jpg 5,157,000 City 6,314,000 603
Alexandria  Egypt Alexandria - Egypt.jpg 5,086,000 Urban governorate 4,318,000 292
Jinan  China Jinanfromqianfoshan.jpg 5,052,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,700,000 10,244 N/A N/A 4,026,000 797
Guadalajara  Mexico Guadalajara 16 feb 2013 (cropped).jpg 5,023,000 Municipality 1,460,148 151 5,002,466 2,734 5,253,000 810

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

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