Largest Cities in the World

From Top Cities

This is a List of largest cities. The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classified using the same criteria. Cities may be defined as the cities proper, the extent of their urban area, or their metropolitan regions. 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.

Yuzhong District skyline, Chongqing Rail Transit Line 2 running along Jialing River, bridges under construction in Fengdu County, Chongqing Art Museum, and Hongya Cave

Common city definitions

City proper (administrative)

A city can be defined by its administrative boundaries (city proper). UNICEF 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. Cities proper and their boundaries and population data may not include suburbs.

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. 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. 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.

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 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. In the Philippines, metropolitan areas have an official agency, such as Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which manages Manila metropolitan area. Similar agencies exist in Indonesia such as Jabodetabekjur Development Cooperation Agency for Jakarta metropolitan area.

Largest cities

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.

City Country UN 2018 population estimates Metropolitan area (km2)
Tokyo Japan 37,400,068 13,515,271
Delhi India 28,514,000 16,753,235
Shanghai China 25,582,000 24,183,000
São Paulo Brazil 21,650,000 12,252,023
Mexico City Mexico 21,581,000 8,918,653
Cairo Egypt 20,076,000 9,500,000
Mumbai India 19,980,000 12,478,447
Beijing China 19,618,000 21,707,000
Dhaka Bangladesh 19,578,000 8,906,039
Osaka Japan 19,281,000 2,725,006
New York City United States 18,819,000 8,398,748
Karachi Pakistan 15,400,000 14,910,352
Buenos Aires Argentina 14,967,000 3,054,300
Chongqing China 14,838,000 30,165,500
Istanbul Turkey 14,751,000 15,029,231
Kolkata India 14,681,000 4,496,694
Manila Philippines 13,482,000 1,780,148
Lagos Nigeria 13,463,000 N/A
Rio de Janeiro Brazil 13,293,000 6,520,000
Tianjin China 13,215,000 15,569,000
Kinshasa DR Congo 13,171,000 11,462,000
Guangzhou China 12,638,000 14,498,400
Los Angeles United States 12,458,000 3,990,456
Moscow Russia 12,410,000 13,200,000
Shenzhen China 11,908,000 12,528,300
Lahore Pakistan 11,738,000 11,126,000
Bangalore India 11,440,000 8,443,675
Paris France 10,901,000 2,148,271
Bogotá Colombia 10,574,000 7,963,000
Jakarta Indonesia 10,517,000 10,154,134
Chennai India 10,456,000 6,727,000
Lima Peru 10,391,000 8,894,000
Bangkok Thailand 10,156,000 5,782,000
Seoul South Korea 9,963,000 9,806,000
Nagoya Japan 9,507,000 2,320,361
Hyderabad India 9,482,000 6,993,262
London United Kingdom 9,046,000 8,825,001
Tehran Iran 8,896,000 9,033,003
Chicago United States 8,864,000 2,705,994
Chengdu China 8,813,000 16,044,700
Nanjing China 8,245,000 7,260,000
Wuhan China 8,176,000 10,892,900
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam 8,145,000 7,431,000
Luanda Angola 7,774,000 2,165,867
Ahmedabad India 7,681,000 5,570,585
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 7,564,000 1,768,000
Xi'an China 7,444,000 8,989,000
Hong Kong China 7,429,000 7,298,600
Dongguan China 7,360,000 8,342,500
Hangzhou China 7,236,000 9,468,000
Foshan China 7,236,000 7,197,394
Shenyang China 6,921,000 8,294,000
Riyadh Saudi Arabia 6,907,000 6,694,000
Baghdad Iraq 6,812,000 8,126,755
Santiago Chile 6,680,000 236,453
Surat India 6,564,000 4,466,826
Madrid Spain 6,497,000 3,266,126
Suzhou China 6,339,000 10,721,700
Pune India 6,276,000 3,124,458
Harbin China 6,115,000 10,635,971
Houston United States 6,115,000 2,325,502
Dallas United States 6,099,000 1,345,047
Toronto Canada 6,082,000 2,731,571
Dar es Salaam Tanzania 6,048,000 4,364,541
Miami United States 6,036,000 470,914
Belo Horizonte Brazil 5,972,000 2,502,557
Singapore Singapore 5,792,000 5,638,700
Philadelphia United States 5,695,000 1,526,006
Atlanta United States 5,572,000 420,003
Fukuoka Japan 5,551,000 1,588,924
Khartoum Sudan 5,534,000 639,598
Barcelona Spain 5,494,000 1,620,343
Johannesburg South Africa 5,486,000
Saint Petersburg Russia 5,383,000
Qingdao China 5,381,000
Dalian China 5,300,000
Washington, D.C. United States 5,207,000 702,455
Yangon Myanmar 5,157,000
Alexandria Egypt 5,086,000
Jinan China 5,052,000 8,700,000
Guadalajara Mexico 5,023,000 1,460,148