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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.

Definitions

City proper (administrative)

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

A city can be defined by its administrative boundaries (city proper). UNICEF[1][failed verification] 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]

Urban area

A city can be defined as a conditionally contiguous urban area, without regard to territorial or other boundaries inside an urban area. UNICEF[1][failed verification] 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.[9]

Metropolitan area

Tokyo is widely considered the world's largest city (by urban area and metropolitan area). The satellite image shows that its urbanization has exceeded its city limits.

A city can be defined by the inhabitants of its demographic population, as by metropolitan area, or labour market area. UNICEF[1][failed verification] 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 purposes.[10] In the Philippines, metropolitan areas have an official agency, such as Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which manages Manila metropolitan area.[11] Similar agencies exist in Indonesia such as Jabodetabekjur Development Cooperation Agency for Jakarta metropolitan area.[12]

List

There are 81 cities with a population over 5 million 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 in the UN data.[13]

City[a] Country UN 2018 population estimates[b] City proper[c] Metropolitan area[d] Urban area[9]
Definition Population Area
(km2)
Density
(/km2)
Population Area
(km2)
Density
(/km2)
Population Area
(km2)
Density
(/km2)
 
Tokyo  Japan 37,400,068 Metropolis prefecture 13,515,271 2,191 6,169
[14]
37,274,000 13,452 2,771
[15]
39,105,000 8,231 4,751
[e]
Delhi  India 28,514,000 Capital City 16,753,235 1,484 11,289
[16]
29,000,000 3,483 8,326
[17]
31,870,000 2,233 14,272
[f]
Shanghai  China 25,582,000 Municipality 24,870,895 6,341 3,922
[18][19]
N/A N/A N/A 22,118,000 4,069 5,436
[g]
São Paulo  Brazil 21,650,000 Municipality 12,252,023 1,521 8,055
[20]
21,734,682 7,947 2,735
[21]
22,495,000 3,237 6,949
[h]
Mexico City  Mexico 21,581,000 City-state 9,209,944 1,485 6,202
[22]
21,804,515 7,866 2,772
[23]
21,505,000 2,385 9,017
Cairo  Egypt 20,076,000 Urban governorate 9,500,000 3,085 3,079
[24]
N/A N/A N/A 19,787,000 2,010 9,844
Mumbai  India 19,980,000 Municipality 12,478,447 603 20,694
[25]
24,400,000 4,355 5,603
[26]
22,186,000 1,008 22,010
[27][i]
Beijing  China 19,618,000 Municipality 21,893,095 16,411 1,334
[18][19]
N/A N/A N/A 19,437,000 4,172 4,659
Dhaka  Bangladesh 19,578,000 Capital city 8,906,039 338 26,349
[28][29]
14,543,124
[30]
N/A N/A 16,839,000 456 36,928
Osaka  Japan 19,281,000 Designated city 2,725,006 225 12,111
[14]
19,303,000 13,228 1,459
[15]
15,490,000 3,020 5,129
[j]
New York  United States 18,819,000 City 8,804,190 778 11,316
[31]
20,140,470 12,093 1,665
[32]
23,582,649 34,493 684
[k]
Karachi  Pakistan 15,400,000 Metropolitan city 14,910,352 3,530 4,224
[33][34]
16,051,521 3,780 4,246
[35]
15,292,000 1,044 14,648
[36]
Buenos Aires  Argentina 14,967,000 Autonomous city 3,054,300 203 15,046
[37]
12,806,866
[38]
N/A N/A 16,216,000 3,222 5,033
Chongqing  China 14,838,000 Municipality 32,054,159 82,403 389
[39][19]
N/A N/A N/A 8,261,000 1,536 5,378
Istanbul  Turkey 14,751,000 Metropolitan municipality 15,519,267 5,196 2,987
[40]
N/A N/A N/A 15,311,000 1,375 11,135
Kolkata  India 14,681,000 Municipality 4,496,694 205 21,935
[41]
14,035,959 1,851 7,583
[42]
18,698,000 1,352 13,830
[43]
Manila  Philippines 13,482,000 Capital city 1,780,148 43 41,399
[44]
12,877,253 620 20,770
[44]
23,971,000 1,873 12,798
[l]
Lagos  Nigeria 13,463,000 [m] N/A N/A N/A 21,000,000 1,171 17,933
[45]
15,487,000 1,966 7,877
Rio de Janeiro  Brazil 13,293,000 Municipality 6,520,000 1,221 5,340
[46]
12,644,321 5,327 2,374
[47]
12,486,000 2,020 6,181
Tianjin  China 13,215,000 Municipality 13,866,009 11,920 1,163
[18][19]
N/A N/A N/A 10,932,000 2,813 3,886
Kinshasa  DR Congo 13,171,000 City-province 11,462,000 9,965 1,150
[48]
N/A N/A N/A 15,056,000 466 32,309
Guangzhou  China 12,638,000 City (sub-provincial) 14,498,400 7,434 1,950
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 21,489,000 4,341 4,950
[n]
Los Angeles  United States 12,458,000 City 3,990,456 1,214 3,287
[31]
13,291,486 12,559 1,058
[49]
15,477,000 6,351 2,437
Moscow  Russia 12,410,000 Federal city 13,200,000 2,511 5,257
[50][51]
20,004,462
[52]
N/A N/A 17,693,000 5,879 3,010
Shenzhen  China 11,908,000 City (sub-provincial) 12,528,300 2,050 6,111
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 14,678,000 1,803 8,141
Lahore  Pakistan 11,738,000 Metropolitan city 11,126,000 1,772 6,279
[33]
N/A N/A N/A 11,148,000 852 13,085
Bangalore  India 11,440,000 Municipality 8,443,675 709 11,909
[53]
N/A N/A N/A 13,999,000 1,204 11,627
Paris  France 10,901,000 Commune 2,148,271 105 20,460
[54]
12,244,807 N/A N/A 11,027,000 2,844 3,877
Bogotá  Colombia 10,574,000 Capital District 7,963,000 1,587 5,018
[55]
12,545,272 5,934 2,114
[56]
9,274,000 562 16,502
Jakarta  Indonesia 10,517,000 Special capital region 10,154,134 664 15,292
[57]
33,430,285 7,063 4,733
[58]
35,362,000 3,541 9,986
[o]
Chennai  India 10,456,000 Municipality 6,727,000 426 15,791
[59][60]
N/A N/A N/A 11,564,000 1,085 10,658
Lima  Peru 10,391,000 Metropolitan municipality 8,894,000 2,672 3,329
[61]
9,569,468 2,819 3,395
[62]
8,992,000 891 10,092
Bangkok  Thailand 10,156,000 Special administrative area 8,305,218 1,569 5,293
[63]
16,255,900 7,762 2,094
[64]
17,573,000 3,199 5,493
[65]
Seoul  South Korea 9,963,000 Special city 10,013,781 605 16,208[66] 25,514,000 11,704 2,180[66] 22,394,000 2,769 8,087
Nagoya  Japan 9,507,000 Designated city 2,320,361 326 7,118
[14]
9,363,000 7,271 1,288
[15]
9,522,000 3,704 2,571
Hyderabad  India 9,482,000 Municipality 6,993,262 650 10,759
[67][68]
N/A N/A N/A 9,840,000 1,274 7,724
London  United Kingdom 9,046,000 Capital city 8,825,001 1,572 5,614
[69]
14,372,596
[70]
N/A N/A 11,120,000 1,738 6,398
Tehran  Iran 8,896,000 Capital city 9,033,003 751 12,028
[71][72]
N/A N/A N/A 13,819,000 1,704 8,110
Chicago  United States 8,864,000 City 2,746,388 589 4,663
[31]
9,618,502 18,640 516
[73]
9,013,000 7,006 1,286
Chengdu  China 8,813,000 City (sub-provincial) 16,044,700 14,378 1,116
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 11,920,000 1,829 6,517
Nanjing  China 8,245,000 City (sub-provincial) 7,260,000 6,582 1,103
[74]
N/A N/A N/A 7,729,000 1,614 4,789
Wuhan  China 8,176,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,892,900 8,494 1,282
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 9,729,000 1,722 5,650
Ho Chi Minh City  Vietnam 8,145,000 Municipality 7,431,000 2,061 3,606
[75]
N/A N/A N/A 13,954,000 1,637 8,524
Luanda  Angola 7,774,000 Municipality 2,165,867 116 18,671
[76]
N/A N/A N/A 8,883,000 1,005 8,839
Ahmedabad  India 7,681,000 Municipality 5,570,585 464 12,006
[77]
6,300,000
[78]
N/A N/A 7,717,000 360 21,436
Kuala Lumpur  Malaysia 7,564,000 City 1,768,000 243 7,276
[79]
7,200,000 2,793 2,578
[80]
8,639,000 2,163 3,994
Xi'an  China 7,444,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,989,000 10,135 887
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 7,090,000 1,093 6,487
Hong Kong  China 7,429,000 Special administrative region 7,298,600 1,104 6,611
[81][82]
N/A N/A N/A 7,398,000 290 25,510
Dongguan  China 7,360,000 Prefecture-level city 8,342,500 2,465 3,384
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 8,142,000 1,759 4,629
Hangzhou  China 7,236,000 City (sub-provincial) 9,468,000 16,596 570
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 6,713,000 1,445 4,646
Foshan  China 7,236,000 Prefecture-level city 7,197,394 3,848 1,870
[18]
N/A N/A N/A N/A[83] N/A N/A
Shenyang  China 6,921,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,294,000 12,980 639
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 7,208,000 1,515 4,758
[p]
Riyadh  Saudi Arabia 6,907,000 Municipality 6,694,000 1,913 3,499
[84]
N/A N/A N/A 6,889,000 1,673 4,118
Baghdad  Iraq 6,812,000 Urban governorate 8,126,755 5,200 1,563
[85]
N/A N/A N/A 6,107,000 694 8,800
Santiago  Chile 6,680,000 City (commune) 236,453 22 10,748
[86]
7,112,808 15,403 462
[87]
7,026,000 1,147 6,126
Surat  India 6,564,000 Municipality 4,466,826 327 13,660
[88]
N/A N/A N/A 4,875,000 238 20,483
Madrid  Spain 6,497,000 Municipality 3,266,126 606 5,390
[89]
6,641,649 N/A N/A 6,006,000 1,365 4,400
Suzhou  China 6,339,000 Prefecture-level city 10,721,700 8,488 1,263
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 5,103,000 1,386 3,682
Pune  India 6,276,000 Municipality 3,124,458 276 11,321
[90]
7,276,000 7,256 1,003
[91]
7,948,000 650 12,228
Harbin  China 6,115,000 City (sub-provincial) 10,635,971 53,068 200
[18]
N/A N/A N/A 4,583,000 671 6,830
Houston  United States 6,115,000 City 2,325,502 1,553 1,497
[31]
6,997,384 21,395 327
[92]
6,529,000 4,931 1,324
Dallas  United States 6,099,000 City 1,345,047 882 1,525
[31]
7,470,158 22,463 333
[93]
6,960,000 5,278 1,319
[q]
Toronto  Canada 6,082,000 City 2,731,571 630 4,336
[94][95]
5,928,040 5,906 1,004
[96]
6,985,000 2,300 3,037
Dar es Salaam  Tanzania 6,048,000 4,364,541 1,393 3,133 N/A N/A N/A 7,461,000 961 7,764
Miami  United States 6,036,000 470,914 93 5,069
[31]
6,158,824 15,890 388 6,212,000 3,313 1,875
Belo Horizonte  Brazil 5,972,000 2,502,557 331 7,563 5,156,217 9,459 545 5,159,000 1,288 4,005
Singapore  Singapore 5,792,000 Country 5,638,700 726 7,770 N/A N/A N/A 5,271,000 1,287 4,096
Philadelphia  United States 5,695,000 Consolidated city-county 1,526,006 370 4,129 6,096,120 N/A N/A 5,697,000 5,429 1,049
Atlanta  United States 5,572,000 420,003 354 1,186 5,949,951 21,690 274 5,434,000 7,400 734
Fukuoka  Japan 5,551,000 Designated city 1,588,924 343 4,627 N/A N/A N/A 2,280,000 505 4,515
Khartoum  Sudan 5,534,000 N/A 639,598 22,142 29 5,274,321 N/A N/A 6,017,000 1,031 5,836
Barcelona  Spain 5,494,000 Municipality 1,620,343 101 15,980
[97]
5,474,482
[98]
N/A N/A 4,735,000 1,072 4,417
Johannesburg  South Africa 5,486,000 Metropolitan municipality N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 14,167,000 4,040 3,507[99]
Saint Petersburg  Russia 5,383,000 Federal city N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 5,207,000 1,373 3,792
Qingdao  China 5,381,000 City (sub-provincial) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 6,232,000 1,655 3,766
Dalian  China 5,300,000 City (sub-provincial) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3,994,000 987 4,047
Washington, D.C.  United States 5,207,000 Federal district 702,455 177 3,969
[31]
6,263,245 17,009 368
[100]
7,583,000 5,501 1,378
[r]
Yangon  Myanmar 5,157,000 City N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 6,497,000 603 10,774
Alexandria  Egypt 5,086,000 Urban governorate N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 4,857,000 293 16,577
Jinan  China 5,052,000 City (sub-provincial) 8,700,000 10,244 849 N/A N/A N/A 4,381,000 798 5,490
Guadalajara  Mexico 5,023,000 Municipality 1,385,621 151 9,176
[22]
5,286,642 3,560 1,485 5,437,000 313 17,371
[23]

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 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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