Metropolitan areas of Mexico

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Map showing the location of the Metropolitan Areas in Mexico.

Metropolitan areas in Mexico have been traditionally defined as the group of municipalities that heavily interact with each other, usually around a core city.[1] In 2004, a joint effort between CONAPO, INEGI and the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) agreed to define metropolitan areas as one of the following:[1]

  • the group of two or more municipalities, in which a city with a population of at least 50,000 is located whose urban area extends over the limit of the municipality that originally contained the core city incorporating either physically or, under its area of direct influence, other adjacent predominantly urban municipalities, all of which either have a high degree of social and economic integration or are relevant for urban politics and administration; or
  • a single municipality, in which a city of a population of at least one million is located and fully contained (that is, it does not transcend the limits of a single municipality); or
  • a city with a population of at least 250,000 that forms a conurbation with other cities in the United States.

However, northwestern and southeastern states are divided into a small number of large municipalities whereas central states are divided into a large number of smaller municipalities. As such, metropolitan areas in the northwest usually do not extend over more than one municipality (and figures usually report population for the entire municipality) whereas metropolitan areas in the center extend over many municipalities.

A few metropolitan areas extend beyond the limits of one state: Greater Mexico City (Federal District, Mexico and Hidalgo), Puebla-Tlaxcala (Puebla and Tlaxcala, but excludes the city of Tlaxcala), Comarca Lagunera (Coahuila and Durango), and Tampico (Tamaulipas and Veracruz).

List of metropolitan areas in Mexico by population[edit]

4 - Puebla, Puebla.

There is a total of fifty-six metropolitan areas of Mexico as defined by the following government bodies:

Rank Metropolitan Area Federative Entity 2010 Pop. 2000 Pop. Change
!000001 Greater Mexico City DF, Mexico, Hidalgo !B9831819229748 20,137,152 !B9832723193915 18,396,677 !D0023580119860 +9.46%
!000002 Greater Guadalajara Jalisco !B9846951304988 4,434,252 !B9848763901631 3,699,136 !D0016158262479 +19.87%
!000003 Greater Monterrey Nuevo León !B9847720269720 4,106,054 !B9849682834689 3,374,361 !D0015286002249 +21.68%
!000004 Greater Puebla Puebla, Tlaxcala !B9851806311545 2,728,790 !B9853867421848 2,220,533 !D0014745153109 +22.89%
!000005 Greater Toluca Mexico !B9855238003726 1,936,126 !B9858116845873 1,451,801 !D0010978039646 +33.36%
!000006 Greater Tijuana Baja California !B9856241299307 1,751,302 !B9858828785771 1,352,035 !D0012197357778 +29.53%
!000007 Greater León Guanajuato !B9857084310548 1,609,717 !B9859461192073 1,269,179 !D0013155987937 +26.83%
!000008 Greater Juárez Chihuahua !B9857823003609 1,495,094 !B9859866087258 1,218,817 !D0014842320095 +22.67%
!000009 Greater Torreón Coahuila, Durango !B9859407647430 1,275,993 !B9861772248928 1,007,291 !D0013214168692 +26.68%
!000010 Greater Querétaro Querétaro !B9860918847369 1,097,028 !B9863872410789 816,481 !D0010682623732 +34.36%
!000011 Greater San Luis Potosí San Luis Potosí !B9861444786564 1,040,822 !B9863460347280 850,828 !D0014992175002 +22.33%
!000012 Greater Mérida Yucatán !B9862118133634 973,046 !B9864027449592 803,920 !D0015588557624 +21.04%
!000013 Greater Mexicali Baja California !B9862504743420 936,145 !B9864528892840 764,602 !D0014945214729 +22.44%
!000014 Greater Aguascalientes Aguascalientes !B9862545922149 932,298 !B9865304844769 707,516 !D0011466292004 +31.77%
!000015 Greater Cuernavaca Morelos !B9863173376395 875,598 !B9864878592595 738,326 !D0016824211024 +18.59%
!000016 Greater Acapulco Guerrero !B9863313226268 863,438 !B9864182415657 791,558 !D0023990050933 +9.08%
!000017 Greater Tampico Tamaulipas, Veracruz !B9863369182717 858,620 !B9864769602957 746,417 !D0018949746945 +15.03%
!000018 Greater Chihuahua Chihuahua !B9863446922323 851,971 !B9865461841065 696,495 !D0014995692355 +22.32%
!000019 Greater Saltillo Coahuila !B9863791694508 823,098 !B9866350465858 637,273 !D0012323927645 +29.16%
!000020 Greater Morelia Michoacán !B9863991416470 806,822 !B9866000957992 659,940 !D0015025193784 +22.26%
!000021 Greater Veracruz Veracruz !B9864062314759 801,122 !B9866265977878 642,680 !D0014002583374 +24.65%
!000022 Greater Villahermosa Tabasco !B9864649761301 755,416 !B9866943488660 600,580 !D0013555293627 +25.78%
!000023 ReynosaGreater Río Bravo Tamaulipas !B9865049798708 725,793 !B9868294332972 524,692 !D0009590041543 +38.33%
!000024 Greater Cancún Quintana Roo !B9865756996359 676,238 !B9870258396912 431,128 !D0005646979403 +56.85%
!000025 Greater Xalapa Veracruz !B9865905527290 666,268 !B9868570303967 510,410 !D0011862689880 +30.54%
!000026 Greater Tuxtla Chiapas !B9866294009287 640,881 !B9868881658609 494,763 !D0012196643455 +29.53%
!000027 Greater Oaxaca Oaxaca !B9867061704394 593,522 !B9869602576512 460,350 !D0012403455439 +28.93%
!000028 Greater Poza Rica Veracruz !B9868513686661 513,308 !B9869977295740 443,419 !D0018476068777 +15.76%
!000029 Greater Pachuca Hidalgo !B9868535685952 512,180 !B9871652600301 375,022 !D0010058511449 +36.57%
!000030 TlaxcalaApizaco Tlaxcala !B9868786291149 499,504 !B9870799951861 408,401 !D0015002588002 +22.31%
!000031 Greater Matamoros Tamaulipas !B9868911109955 493,308 !B9870564260247 418,141 !D0017161063913 +17.98%
!000032 Greater Cuautla Morelos !B9870188477144 434,153 !B9872105810891 358,405 !D0015542515904 +21.13%
!000033 Greater Tepic Nayarit !B9870304125811 429,161 !B9872549808549 342,840 !D0013791909603 +25.18%
!000034 Greater Orizaba Veracruz !B9870751806556 410,372 !B9871868256538 367,021 !D0021360892961 +11.81%
!000035 Greater Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas !B9871415552945 384,018 !B9873527251580 310,915 !D0014476501573 +23.51%
!000036 Greater Puerto Vallarta Jalisco, Nayarit !B9871522471675 379,934 !B9875928821836 244,536 !D0005911439480 +55.37%
!000037 Greater Minatitlán Veracruz !B9872172578119 356,020 !B9873133887880 323,389 !D0022935931761 +10.09%
!000038 Greater Coatzacoalcos Veracruz !B9872422774961 347,223 !B9873630414436 307,724 !D0020529279222 +12.84%
!000039 ColimaVilla de Álvarez Colima !B9872811725926 333,977 !B9877414962076 210,766 !D0005368501805 +58.46%
!000040 MonclovaFrontera Coahuila !B9873323529011 317,314 !B9874473173929 282,853 !D0021050990782 +12.18%
!000041 Greater Córdoba Veracruz !B9873365151657 315,996 !B9874698422366 276,553 !D0019475458925 +14.26%
!000042 ZacatecasGuadalupe Zacatecas !B9873946714838 298,143 !B9876413564933 232,965 !D0012737662390 +27.98%
!000043 Greater Tehuacán Puebla !B9873988695482 296,894 !B9876094955258 240,507 !D0014505105596 +23.45%
!000044 La PiedadPénjamo Michoacán, Guanajuato !B9875713679737 249,854 !B9876568995813 229,372 !D0024157986880 +8.93%
!000045 ZamoraJacona Michoacán !B9875715641075 249,805 !B9877167441157 216,048 !D0018563128019 +15.62%
!000046 Greater Tulancingo Hidalgo !B9876133782007 239,575 !B9878262542844 193,638 !D0014387195440 +23.72%
!000047 Greater Tula Hidalgo !B9877651066886 205,848 !B9879570288065 169,901 !D0015531702830 +21.16%
!000048 Greater Guaymas Sonora !B9877768637690 203,442 !B9878975338537 180,316 !D0020537533415 +12.83%
!000049 Greater San Francisco del Rincón Guanajuato !B9878864264889 182,330 !B9881153937440 145,017 !D0013575091855 +25.73%
!000050 Greater Piedras Negras Coahuila !B9878954009894 180,701 !B9880739786157 151,149 !D0016321146818 +19.55%
!000051 Greater Tehuantepec Oaxaca !B9880087121874 161,343 !B9881116082592 145,567 !D0022221466638 +10.84%
!000052 Greater Tecomán Colima !B9881401923843 141,465 !B9882412853427 127,863 !D0022407425374 +10.64%
!000053 Greater Ocotlán Jalisco !B9881408995229 141,365 !B9882637150070 125,027 !D0020350360310 +13.07%
!000054 Greater Rioverde San Luis Potosí !B9881838415079 135,423 !B9882329363196 128,935 !D0029893540845 +5.03%
!000055 Greater Acayucan Veracruz !B9883648657519 112,999 !B9884575934057 102,992 !D0023313664672 +9.72%
!000056 MoroleónUriangato Guanajuato !B9884041314222 108,648 !B9884864447333 100,063 !D0024557834932 +8.58%

Transnational conurbations[edit]

The Mexico–U.S. border separates densely populated Tijuana, Mexico (right), from San Diego, United States (left). The 2,000-mile border shared between Mexico and the U.S. is the most frequently crossed international border in the world, with 250 million legal crossings every year.[2][3]
A 3D rendered image of the Nuevo Laredo - Laredo Metropolitan Area, a bi-national urban agglomeration divided by the Rio Grande.

The United States shares a 2,000-mile (3,000 km) border with Mexico. The 2,000 miles is the most frequently crossed international border in the world, with about 250 million legal crossings every year.[2] The distribution of population and urban population in Mexico has been changed significantly by the economic interaction between settlements in its north and the United States (U.S.). The increasing population concentration in the north of Mexico is strongly associated with the development of the maquila industries there and the eventual economic effects of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).[4] Metropolitan areas located at the border with the U.S. form transnational conurbations with deep economic and demographic interaction. For example, the San Diego – Tijuana metropolitan area consists of San Diego County in the U.S. and the municipalities of Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, and Tecate in Mexico. The total population of the region has been estimated to be just over 5 million in 2009, making it by far the largest bi-national metropolitan area shared between the U.S. and Mexico.[5] The National Population Council (CONAPO) recognizes the existence of such metropolitan areas and defines them as the municipalities that contain a city of at least 200,000 inhabitants which share processes of conurbation with cities of the U.S.[1]

Rank Metropolitan Area Mexican State American State Population
1 Tijuana - San Diego Baja California California 5,009,170[5]
2 El Paso - Juarez Chihuahua Texas 2,345,182[5]
3 Reynosa - McAllen Tamaulipas Texas 1,500,000[5]
4 Matamoros - Brownsville Tamaulipas Texas 1,136,995[5]
5 Mexicali - Calexico Baja California California 956,223[5]
6 Nuevo Laredo - Laredo Tamaulipas Texas 747,494[5]
7 Nogales - Nogales Sonora Arizona 234,809[nb 1]
8 Piedras Negras - Eagle Pass Coahuila Texas 230,205[nb 2]
9 San Luis Río Colorado - San Luis Sonora Arizona 188,152[nb 3]
10 Ciudad Acuña - Del Río Coahuila Texas 183,750[nb 4]

Megalopolis of central Mexico[edit]

Central Mexico Megalopolis

A megalopolis is defined as a long chain of continuous metropolitan areas, or territories that are relatively integrated amongst each other, a clear example of which is the Northeast Megalopolis in the United States. In 1996, the Programa General de Desarollo Urbano del Distrito Federal first proposed this concept to refer to the megalopolis of central Mexico, which was later expanded by PROAIRE, a metropolitan commission on the environment.[6] A megalopolis, is known in Spanish as a corona regional de ciudades ("regional ring of cities"). The Megalopolis of central Mexico was defined to be integrated by the metropolitan areas of Mexico City, Puebla, Cuernavaca, Toluca and Pachuca, which may also conform complex subregional rings themselves (i.e. Greater Puebla conforming a regional ring with Atlixco, San Martín Texmelucan, Tlaxcala and Apizaco). The megalopolis of central Mexico is integrated by 173 municipalities (91 of the state of Mexico, 29 of the state of Puebla, 37 of the state of Tlaxcala, 16 of Morelos and 16 of Hidalgo) and the 16 boroughs of the Federal District,[6] with an approximate total population of almost 25 million people.

See also[edit]

Mexico portal


  1. ^ Sum of legal residents of Nogales, Sonora (213,976) and Nogales, Arizona (20,833).
  2. ^ Sum of legal residents of Eagle Pass Metropolitan Area's population (48,401) and Piedras Negras, Coahuila (154,360).
  3. ^ Sum of legal residents of San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora (164,342) and San Luis, Arizona (23,810).
  4. ^ Sum of legal residents of Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila (135,605) and Del Rio, Texas (46,682).


  1. ^ a b c s/espanol/metodologias/otras/zonas_met.pdf CONAPO Áreas Metropolitanas
  2. ^ a b David M. Bridgeland, Ron Zahavi. Business Modeling: A Practical Guide to Realizing Business Value. Morgan Kaufmann, 2008. p. 134. ISBN 0-12-374151-3.
  3. ^ "Borders and Law Enforcement". U.S. Embassy Mexico. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Michael Pacione. Urban geography: a global perspective. Routledge, 2005. p. 105. ISBN 0-415-34305-4.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Metropolitan areas in the Americas". World Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Área metropolitana del Valle de México PROAIRE

External links[edit]