World's largest cities

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This is a list of the world's largest cities in population, ordered by several ranking methods. Determining the world's largest cities depends on which definitions of "city" and "size" are used, and how those definitions are applied. The "size" of a city can refer to its land area, but it is more typically the population. How one defines the land area of a city, however, is key to determining its population.

Common methods for defining the boundaries of a city[edit]

Urban area[edit]

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).
Rank Urban Area Country Continent Population
1 Tokyo Japan Japan Asia 37,800,000
2 Delhi India India Asia 27,000,000
3 Seoul South Korea South Korea Asia 25,620,000
4 Shanghai China China Asia 24,750,000
5 Mumbai India India Asia 23,140,000
6 Mexico City Mexico Mexico North America 21,600,000
7 Sao Paulo Brazil Brazil South America 21,200,000
8 Beijing China China Asia 21,150,000
9 Osaka Japan Japan Asia 20,130,000
10 New York City United States United States North America 20,080,000
11 Jakarta Indonesia Indonesia Asia 20,000,000
12 Manila Philippines Philippines Asia 19,700,000
13 Karachi Pakistan Pakistan Asia 19,500,000
14 Cairo Egypt Egypt Africa 18,420,000
15 Los Angeles United States United States North America 17,200,000
16 Dhaka Bangladesh Bangladesh Asia 17,000,000
17 Moscow Russia Russia Europe 16,500,000
18 Buenos Aires Argentina Argentina South America 16,100,000
19 Kolkata India India Asia 16,000,000
20 London United Kingdom United Kingdom Europe 15,500,000

Metropolitan area[edit]

A city can be defined by the habits 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).
Rank Metropolitan area Country Official population Year
1 Tokyo  Japan 37,800,000[2] 2014
2 Delhi  India 27,000,000 2014
3 Seoul  South Korea 25,620,000[3] 2014
4 Shanghai  China 24,750,000[4] 2014
5 Mumbai  India 23,140,000[5] 2014
6 Mexico City  Mexico 21,600,000[6] 2014
7 São Paulo  Brazil 21,200,000[7] 2014
8 Beijing  China 21,150,000[4] 2014
9 Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (Keihanshin)  Japan 20,130,000[2] 2014
10 New York  United States 20,080,000[8] 2014
11 Jakarta  Indonesia 20,000,000[9] 2014
12 Manila  Philippines 19,700,000 2014
13 Karachi  Pakistan 19,500,000 2014
14 Cairo  Egypt 18,420,000[10] 2014
15 Los Angeles  United States 18,240,000[8] 2014
16 Dhaka  Bangladesh 17,000,000 2014
17 Moscow  Russia 16,500,000 2014
18 Kolkata  India 16,000,000[5] 2014
19 Bangkok  Thailand 14,565,547 2014
20 Buenos Aires  Argentina 14,204,022 2014

City proper (administrative)[edit]

A city can be defined by its administrative boundaries (city proper). UNICEF[1] defines city proper as follows:
The population living within the administrative boundaries of a city, e.g., Washington, D.C.
Rank City Image Population Definition Total Area (km²) Population density (/km²) Country
1 Shanghai Shanghai - Pudong - Lujiazui.jpg 24,150,000[11] Direct-controlled Municipality[12][13] 6,340.5 3,809  China
2 Beijing View of Beijing.jpg 21,150,000[14] Direct-controlled Municipality[15] 16,410.54 1,289  China
3 Karachi Karachiskyline.jpg 19,500,000[16] City District Government[17] 3,527 6,663  Pakistan
4 Delhi Skyscrapers connaught place New Delhi.JPG 17,838,842[5] National Capital Region[18] 1,484.0[19] 12,020.8  India
5 Lagos Lagos Island.jpg 17,060,307[20][21] Metropolitan city[22][23] 999.58[24] 17,068  Nigeria
6 Istanbul Halic.png 14,160,467[25] Metropolitan Municipality-Province[26] 2,189.79[27] 6,467  Turkey
7 Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruise.jpg 12,700,800[28] Sub-Provincial City[29] 3,843.43 3,305  China
8 Mumbai Mumbai skyline88907.jpg 12,655,220[5] Municipal Corporation[30] 603.4 20,973.2  India
9 Moscow MIBC 12th June 2014.jpg 12,111,194[31] Federal City[32][33] 2,510.12[34] 4,825  Russia
10 Dhaka Dhaka-Bangladesh.jpg 12,043,977[35] City Corporation[36] 302.92[37][38] 39,760  Bangladesh
11 Cairo Kairo 001.jpg 11,922,949[39] Governorate[40] 3,085.1[41] 3,864  Egypt
12 São Paulo São Paulo city (Bela Vista).jpg 11,821,873[7] Municipality City[42] 1,521.11[43] 7,772  Brazil
13 Lahore Kalma Underpass1.jpg 11,318,745[44] City District 1,772[44] 3,566  Pakistan
14 Shenzhen Shenzhen night street.JPG 10,467,400[45] Sub-Provincial City 1,991.64[46] 5,255  China
15 Seoul Seoul dusk2.jpg 10,388,055[47] Special City 605.21[48] 17,164  South Korea
16 Bangalore UB City.jpg 10,178,146[5] Municipal Corporation 709.5[49] 11,876  India
17 Jakarta Jakarta Car Free Day.jpg 9,988,329[50] Capital Region - Five Kota[51] 664.12 15,040  Indonesia
18 Kinshasa Kinshasa-Gombe, from CCIC.JPG 9,735,000[52][53][full citation needed] Metropolitan Municipality-Province[54] 1,117.62[55] 8,710  Democratic Republic of the Congo
19 Tianjin 天津南京路滨江道交口.jpg 9,341,844[56] Direct-controlled Municipality[57] 4,037[58] 2,314  China
20 Tokyo Skyscrapers of Shinjuku 2009 January (revised).jpg 9,071,577[59] 23 Special Wards (tokubetsu-ku) 622.99[60] 14,562  Japan


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  2. ^ a b "Table 2.10 Population of Three Major Metropolitan Areas". Statistics Bureau of Japan. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "통계표명 : 수도권 권역" (in Korean). Statistics Korea. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b National Development and Reform Commission (PRC)
  5. ^ a b c d e "Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011". Census of India. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  6. ^ "Proyecciones de la Población de las Zonas Metropolitanas, 2010-2030" (in Spanish). CONAPO. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "IBGE releases population estimates of municipalities in 2014". IBGE. August 28, 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013 - United States -- Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico more information. 2013 Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Central Bureau of Statistics provincial data" (in Indonesian). Badan Pusat Statistik Republik Indonesia. 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Arab Republic of Egypt, Towards an Urban Sector Strategy; Volume 2". The World Bank. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Shanghai's permanent population exceeds 24 million
  12. ^ "CHINA: Administrative Division of Shanghai (上海市)". CityPopulation.De. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  13. ^ The city proper based on the districts of Huangpu, Xuhui, Changning, Jing'an, Putuo, Zhabei, Hongkou and Yangpu considered "core districts"-the older part (Puxi) + Inner suburbs (districts): Jiading, Baoshan, Minhang and Pudong New Area.
  14. ^ "北京市2012年国民经济和社会发展统计公报". Beijing Statistics Bureau. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-02-18. 
  15. ^ Beijing is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of People's Republic of China, and is divided into 14 districts and 2 counties. The city proper based on the districts of Dongcheng and Xicheng considered "core districts" - the older part + Inner suburbs (districts): Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan.
  16. ^ "Population explosion: Put an embargo on industrialisation in Karachi". 2 6 October 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Town/District Maps". Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). 
  18. ^ The National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCR) is divided into eleven revenue districts, but only 30% - City proper (urban).
  19. ^ Delhi
  20. ^ "Local Government Lagos - Population (2006)". Lagos Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Nigerian Muse: "Errors, Miscalculations, Omissions in Lagos Census Figures" Table 7
  22. ^ "NIGERIA: Metro Lagos". CityPopulation.De. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  23. ^ The Lagos State is made up of 20 districts (3568 square kilometers). The Metropolitan Lagos (City proper) is made up of 16 districts: Agege; Ajeromi-Ifelodun; Alimosho; Amuwo-Odofin; Apapa; Eti-Osa; Ifako-Ijaye; Ikeja; Kosofe; Lagos Island; Lagos Mainland; Mushin; Ojo; Oshodi-Isolo; Shomolu; Surulere (1171 square kilometres).
  24. ^ The surface of the Metropolitan Lagos is 1171 square kilometres, but 171 square kilometres is water (lagoon).
  25. ^ "The Results of Address Based Population Registration System, 2013". Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  26. ^ The city, considered capital of Istanbul Province, is administered by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), which oversees the thirty-nine districts of the city-province (thirty-six urban districts and three rural districts).
  27. ^ According to the new Metropolitan Municipal Law (No.5216/2004-5), Jurisdiction of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), the city area is 5343.02 square kilometers. Districts: Çatalca, Silivri and Şile (total area 3153.23 square kilometers) are almost entirely rural.
  28. ^ "广州市2010年第六次全国人口普查主要数据公报". China National Census. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  29. ^ Guangzhou City is a sub-provincial city and it is divided into 10 districts and 2 County-level cities. Guangzhou is further divided into 131 Subdistricts and 38 Towns. The city proper (districtes): Yuexiu, Liwan, Haizhu, Tianhe, Baiyun, Huangpu, Panyu, Huadu and Industrial Districts - Nansha, Luogang.
  30. ^ Mumbai City consists of two distinct regions: Mumbai City district (Island City) and Mumbai Suburban district (Western Suburban and Eastern Suburban), grouped into 24 wards, under the administration of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The remaining area belongs to Defence, Mumbai Port Trust, Atomic Energy Commission and Borivali National Park, which are out of the jurisdiction of the BMC.
  31. ^ "RUSSIA: Moscow". Retrieved 2014. 
  32. ^ "Территориальное устройство". Moscow City Government. 
  33. ^ The federal city of Moscow is divided into twelve administrative okrugs, which are in turn subdivided into districts (raions).
  34. ^ Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. Federal Registration, Cadastre&Cartograhy Service. Russia Landuse National Report 2008, p.187-188 (in Russian)
  35. ^ "BANGLADESH: Dhaka (Census 2011)". CityPopulation.De. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  36. ^ Dhaka City Corporation was established as the Dhaka Municipality on August 1, 1864. The Awami League government on 29 November 2011 dissolved the Dhaka City Corporation by the Local Government (City Corporation) Amendment Bill 2011 passed by the Parliament of Bangladesh after being placed in the Parliament on November 23. The city corporation will be split into two corporations, North and South. The municipal area of Dhaka city is under the jurisdiction of the Dhaka City Corporation (North - South) and the municipal area is divided into 92 wards.
  37. ^ "Dhaka Zila". GeoHive. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  38. ^ The Dhaka City Corporation (North-South) not included the cities: Keraniganj, Gāzipur, Sābhār, Rupganj, Narayanganj.
  39. ^ "Estimated Population by Governorate". CAPMAS. Retrieved September 2013. 
  40. ^ In April 2011, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf abolished the Helwan Governorate and reincorporated its territory into the Cairo Governorate. The total area of the governorate is 3085.1 square kilometers, the city area is 453 square kilometers, but the Egyptian government considered the Cairo Governorate is that a whole city and all statistics relate to the "governorate".
  41. ^ EGYPT: Cairo
  42. ^ Administratively, the Municipality of São Paulo is divided into 31 subprefectures, each in turn divided into 96 districts. Locally, districts may contain one or more neighborhoods (bairros). The city of São Paulo recognizes ten geographical areas used to reference locations in the city.
  43. ^ Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (2013)
  44. ^ a b "Lahore City District - Lahore City Tehsil". GeoHive. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  45. ^ "Shenzhen Statistics". Shenzhen Government Online. Retrieved 2011. 
  46. ^ "Shenzhen General Info". Shenzhen Government Online. Retrieved 2011. 
  47. ^ "Seoul Statistics (Population)(2013)". Seoul Metropolitan Government. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  48. ^ "Seoul Statistics (Land Area)". Seoul Metropolitan Government. Retrieved 2012. 
  49. ^ "trip from Bangalore". Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  50. ^ "Jumlah Penduduk Provinsi DKI Jakarta (2013)". Dinas Kependudukan dan Pencatatan Sipil Provinsi DKI Jakarta. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  51. ^ INDONESIA: Administrative Division
  52. ^ "Demographia World Urban Areas (2014)". Demographia. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  53. ^ "Evenements: "Avec une population de 9,5 millions, Kinshasa est la troisième plus grande ville sur le continent africain, de taille égale à Johannesburg. Le Kinois (habitants de Kinshasa) sont connus pour leur sens de l'humour, leur musique et leur amour pour la danse."(2013)". Ville de Kinshasa. 
  54. ^ The province of Kinshasa is divided into twenty-four districts, administered by the Metropolitan Municipality of Kinshasa. But the districts (communes) of Maluku and Nsele (N'Sele) are rural and not part of the city proper. The city proper (urban area) of Kinshasa is generally considered to be formed by twenty-two "communes".
  55. ^ According to the Constitution of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the province of Kinshasa covers 9965.21 km2. Maluku and N'Sele (total area 8847.59 km2) are entirely rural, with a very very low density.
  56. ^ "天津市公报2010年第六次全国人口普查主要数据". Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  57. ^ Based on the districts of Heping, Hexi, Hebei, Nankai, Hedong, Hongqiao, Jinnan, Dongli, Xiqing, Beichen and Binhai New Area, considered "core districts". Starting from November 2009, Binhai New Area was consolidated into a district, and the former subordinate districts of Tanggu, Hangu and Dagang were abolished. Binhai is part of the Bohai Economic Rim and is expected to become another asset to regional development, following the rise of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Shanghai Pudong New Area. It is a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of the PRC, meaning experimental reforms are taking place here.
  58. ^ "CHINA: Administrative Division of Tianjin (天津市)". 
  59. ^ "「東京都の人口(推計)」の概要(平成26年2月1日現在) (2014)". Tokyo Metropolitan Government (JPN). Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
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