This list ranks cities in China by population within its urban core. The list contains all cities that are large enough to meet the criteria, including Special Administrative Regions and cities with the administrative designation sub-provincial city (副省级城市). The majority are "Provincial Capital Cities" (省会). "SEZ Cities" (Special Economic Zone Cities) (经济特区) are also listed.
Municipalities and prefecture-level cities are not each a "city" in the strictest sense of the term, but instead an administrative unit comprising, typically, both an urban core (a city in the strict sense) and surrounding rural or less-urbanized areas usually many times the size of the central, built-up core. Prefecture-level cities nearly always contain multiple counties, county-level cities, and other such sub-divisions. To distinguish a prefecture-level city from its actual urban area (city in the strict sense), the term 市区 shìqū ("urban area") is used. However, even this term often encompasses large suburban regions often greater than 1000 mi2 (3000 km2) but does not include rural areas. Thus, the "urban core" can be regarded as the core of shìqū or "urban area". An "urban area" is roughly comparable to the US term "metropolitan area". The municipality is a political division defining the area of the local city government.
The population of the urban core only is listed below.
1 exclude floating Population
2 exclude suburban and rural
3 most from TABULATION OF THE 2010 POPULATION CENSUS OF THE PRC BY COUNTY.