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World's largest municipalities by population

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World's largest municipalities by population

"World's largest cities by population" redirects here. For other lists of cities by population, see World's largest cities.


This is a non-exhaustive list of the world's most populous municipalities, defined according to the concept of city proper. In demography, city proper is one of the three basic concepts used to define urban areas and populations.[1] The other two are urban agglomeration, and the metropolitan area. This list is limited to clear, unambiguously defined political jurisdictions which fall under the definition of municipality in the general sense of the word. For this list, "city proper" follows the definition of a locality with legally fixed boundaries and an administratively recognized urban status that is usually characterized by some form of local government.[2][3][4][5] For this list, "Municipality" is defined as an administrative entity composed of a clearly defined territory, it commonly denotes a city, town, or village, or a small grouping of them. A municipality is typically governed by a mayor and a city council or municipal council.[6] This list does not include metropolitan areas which may include multiple cities under the jurisdiction of separate city councils which do not come under a common government of that metropolitan area. The list does not count statistical areas. This list contains some of the world's most populous urban municipal units and their resident population.

Municipality


Municipality can take on many meanings throughout the world. In the English language, "municipality" is a generic term for any type of urban unit.[6] In some countries, a municipality is the smallest administrative subdivision to have its own democratically elected representative leadership. In other countries, such as China, a direct-controlled municipality is a city with equal status to a province. Some municipalities, such as Monaco or Singapore are sovereign states. For the purpose of this list, municipality is used in its strictly generic sense, i.e. as "a primarily urban political unit having corporate status and usually powers of self-government."[6]

City


Most of the entries in this list will be generally recognized as cities. This list of municipalities has become necessary because there is a debate whether certain cities should be called cities. Some examples follow.

  • Tokyo is a prefecture-level municipality in Japan that is governed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government[7] It itself contains twenty-three special wards (特別 -ku), which translate themselves to "cities"[8] Tokyo also includes 26 more cities ( -shi), five towns ( -chō or machi), and eight villages ( -son or -mura), each of which has a local government. Numerous outlying islands, which extend as far as 1850 km from central Tokyo, belong to Tokyo. All are part of Tokyo proper.
  • China has four direct-controlled municipalities with a status equal to a province: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing. These cities, especially Chongqing, can be quite large. The same applies to the sub-provincial cities and the prefecture-level cities of China. "To cope with growing administrative demands at the local level, China essentially reclassified counties as cities in order to allow local city governments to control the surrounding areas," as a United Nations University working paper notes.[1]
  • List of cities by surface area shows cities that are larger than many countries. It is debatable whether these large areas should be called cities or municipalities.
  • Metropolitan Lagos has a population of nearly 8 million according to the latest census. Official data by the Lagos State estimate the population of Metropolitan Lagos at more than 14 million.[9] However, the Municipality of Lagos was disbanded in 1976 and divided into several administratively independent Local Government Areas. As a result, the most populous city in Africa, and one of the most populous and fastest growing cities in the world[10] is not on this list.
  • A similar situation exists in Australia, where large cities are divided into much smaller local government areas. This removes populous cities such as Sydney or Melbourne from this list. For a detailed discussion, see List of 25 largest Australian LGAs. Australia's largest LGA by population, Brisbane City Council, had a population of 1,052,458 in 2009.[11]
  • For similar reasons, cities such as Santiago, Chile or Manila, Philippines are not on this list.
  • From Singapore to Vatican City, there are several cities that are sovereign countries.

A city can be loosely or narrowly defined, depending on the respective country. This can create controversy. This list therefore uses the more generic term "municipality." In most cases, its entries will be understood as cities.

State or province

Austrian federal state

Quite often, the status of a city or municipality can be elevated to the level of a state or province. Tokyo can be considered as a prefecture-level city in Japan, although it calls itself "Tokyo Metropolis". The direct-controlled municipalities of China have a similar rank. The Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in North Korea, the Republic of Korea in South Korea, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Vietnam also adopt this concept. Other examples can be found throughout the world. Vienna has the rank of an Austrian state,[12] Geneva and Basel-Stadt[13] have the rank of Swiss cantons. Germany has several cities with the rank of a state: Hamburg, Bremen, and Berlin.[14] Washington, D.C. is a federally administered municipality of the United States that is effectively treated as equivalent in most respects to one of the actual 50 States of the United States. To an outsider of a particular country, it is sometimes challenging to decide whether the entity can still be called a municipality, or should rather be called a province or state.

One attempt is to determine whether the entity is divided into sub-units with their own government, in which case the entity would not longer be treated as a municipality. This concept fails, because many bona fide cities/municipalities have such subdivisions. For instance, the German city-states Hamburg, Bremen, and Berlin are divided in districts with some form of a government. Berlin has Bezirke (districts) with their own mayor and borough council. The 16 boroughs of Mexico City have significant autonomy, and their heads of government are elected. The wards of Tokyo each have their own mayor.[15] This list leaves the final determination of what is called a city or municipality to the sovereign states and the people who live there. If the entity is defined (in its own language) as a municipality or city, then this list counts it as such. If two or more entities form a metropolitan area without a common government, the entities are counted separately. If in doubt, common sense prevails.

Data sources

This list treats the population data issued by the statistical bureau of the respective municipality as the most reliable source. Next up are statistical data provided by the statistical organizations of the respective countries. If the count differs, the count by the municipality prevails. This list attempts to use data that is as up to date as possible. In countries where there is a difference between the "registered" and the "floating" population, this list recognizes the sum of both, if available.[16]
It is accepted and recognized that there can be considerable differences between the quality and precision of data. Even if a strict principle such as the administrative area is used, sources can report conflicting data. The following chart shows the differences between data sourced from the China Statistical Yearbook 2009[17] and data published by the local municipalities. In June 2007, Chongqing reported on its official web site a population number that was more than 3 million higher than what was reported in the Statistical Yearbook for the end of 2008. Beijing's number, reported in March 2010, was more than 5 million higher than what was reported in the Statistical Yearbook for the end of 2008. The actual census of 2010 came in 2.4 million lower than the 22 million reported earlier in state media.

Administrative Division Population Yearbook Population local Source for local
Chongqing 28,390,000 31,442,300 [18]
Beijing 16,950,000 22,000,000 [19]
Shanghai 18,884,600 19,210,000 [20]

For a comprehensive study of the challenges presented by a populous country such as China, refer to "Misconceptions and Complexities in the Study of China's Cities: Definitions, Statistics, and Implications," an article that appeared in the Journal of Eurasian Geography and Economics.[21][22] This paper says: "Ironically, while journalists and scholars focusing on global urbanization tend to rely upon a set of population figures that overstates the actual population of Chinese cities, in the scholarly community studying Chinese cities, the opposite is true. In fact, almost of all researchers tend to use figures that understate the size of Chinese cities."

Most countries perform a census in regular intervals, commonly every 10 years.[23] Some countries provide regular estimates, sometimes based on smaller samples (micro census). This list discourages the usage of independently compiled lists of city populations. These lists are sometimes unreliable or come to misleading results due to differing methodology.[24] If no government data are available, third party sources may be used, but their usage should be noted in the comments section. This list does not recognize commuters.

Principle

The reader should be aware that there is no "right" way to define a city or municipality. "City proper" is one of the different ways. Other methods can be similarly valid, and result in similarly valid lists that show the population of a city from a different perspective. The principle of this list is that the definition of administrative boundaries is a matter of the sovereign states and countries. This list will not redraw borders. For the purpose of this list, a resident who lives within certain administrative boundaries counts as a resident of the municipality or city. As long as the administrative area is that of a bona fide municipality, this list will recognize its population as a whole, regardless of the size of the city or municipality. This list does not include metropolitan areas which may include multiple cities under the jurisdiction of separate city councils which do not come under a common government of that metropolitan area. For instance, Berlin and Brandenburg are separate, because they do not share a common government.[25] For the purpose of this list, the whole Tokyo Metropolis is counted as a city, because it shares a common Metropolitan Government.[26] As outlined in city proper, there can be diverging definitions of "city proper" from country to country, and for the purpose of different reports. For the sake of consistency, this list strives to use one common definition of "city proper", namely the area within the administrative boundaries. The list does not count statistical areas. The population density is calculated given the population and the surface area of the municipality. The list can be sorted. This list enumerates the population within the city limits of some of the world's most populous municipalities. This list is in no particular order. It can be sorted using the sort button in the column headers.

Municipalities by population (city proper)




City Population Source Definition Area (km²) Source Population density (/km²) Country Remark
Shanghai
25,019,148
[27]
Direct-controlled municipality
7,037

3,555
 China
Census 2010, registered pop
Karachi
24,000,000
[28]
City District
3,530

6,799
 Pakistan
Official estimate 2007
Mumbai
21,478,447
[29]
Municipal Corporation
603

35,619
 India
Census 2010
Delhi
21,007,835
[30]
Municipal Corporation
1,397
[30]
15,035
 India
Census 2010
Ahmedabad
5,570,585
[31]
Municipal Corporation
475
[31]
11,728
 India
Census 2001."The population in AMC area is expected to double by 2011."[31]
Istanbul
17,710,512
[32]
Metropolitan Municipality
1,831

9,673
 Turkey

São Paulo
11,376,685
[33]
Municipality (Brazil)
1,523

7,470
 Brazil

Moscow
11,514,330
[34]
City proper
1,081

10,652
 Russia
Census 2010
Seoul
19,464,051
[35]
Special City
605
[36]
32,172
 South Korea

Beijing
19,612,368
[27]
Direct-controlled municipality
16,808

1,167
 China
Census 2010, registered pop
Mexico City
8,841,916
[37]
Federal District
1,485

5,954
 Mexico

Tokyo
13,161,751
[38]
Tokyo Metropolis
2,187

6,018
 Japan
Census 2010
Kinshasa
8,754,000
[39]
City-Province
9,965

878
 Democratic Republic of the Congo

Jakarta
9,588,198
[40]
Special capital district
664

14,440
 Indonesia
Census 2010
New York City
8,175,133
[41]
City proper
789

10,361
 United States
Census 2010
Lima
7,605,742
[42]
Province[43]
2,670

2,849
 Peru

London
7,619,800
[44]
Greater London[45]
1,580

4,823
 United Kingdom

Bogotá
7,259,597
[46]
Capital district
1,590

4,566
 Colombia

Tehran
7,241,000
[39]
City proper
760

9,528
 Iran
There is doubt whether this number is for the agglomeration or for the city proper. The UN source contradicts itself
Ho Chi Minh City
7,123,340
[47]
Direct-controlled municipality
2,095

3,400
 Vietnam

Hanoi
6,448,837
[47]
Direct-controlled municipality
3,344

1,928
 Vietnam

Hong Kong
7,097,600
[48]
Special Administrative Region
1,104
[49]
6,429
 Hong Kong
Census 2010
Bangkok
7,025,000
[50]
Administrative area
1,569

4,477
 Thailand

Dhaka
7,000,940
[51]
City Corporation
360
[52]
19,447
 Bangladesh

Cairo
6,758,581
[53]
Governorate
214

31,582
 Egypt

Lahore
9,000,000
[54]
City District
1,772

5,079
 Pakistan

Rio de Janeiro
6,323,037
[55]
Municipality (Brazil)
1,182

5,349
 Brazil

Chongqing
28,846,170
[27]
Direct-controlled municipality
82,400

350
 China
Census 2010
Chennai
4,681,782
[56]
Municipal Corporation
176

26,601
 India
2011 census
Bengaluru
8,425,970
[57]
Municipal Corporation
741

11,371
 India
Census 2010
Tianjin
12,938,224
[27]
Direct-controlled municipality
11,300

1,145
 China
Census 2010
Baghdad
5,402,486
[58]
City proper
1,134

4,764
 Iraq
World Gazetteer sourced, treat with caution
Kolkata
4,486,679
[30]
Municipal Corporation
185

24,252
 India
Census 2010
Singapore
4,987,600
[59]
Country/City
710

7,025
 Singapore

Riyadh
4,848,000
[39]
City proper
800

6,060
 Saudi Arabia

Saint Petersburg
4,848,700
[34]
City proper
1,439
[60]
3,369
 Russia
Census 2010
Surat
4,523,022
[61]
Municipal Corporation
327
[62]
13,852
 India

Yangon
4,350,000
[39]
City proper
599
[63]
7,262
 Burma

Guangzhou
12,700,800
[64]
sub-provincial city
7,434

1,708
 China
Census 2010
Shenzhen
10,357,938
[65]
sub-provincial city
1,953

5,304
 China
Census 2010
Chengdu
10,820,000
[66]
Sub-provincial city
12,400
[66]
873
 China

Harbin
9,874,000
[67]
Sub-provincial city
53,100
[67]
186
 China

Qingdao
8,456,100
[68]
Sub-provincial city
10,654
[68]
794
 China

Changchun
7,512,000
[69]
Sub-provincial city
20,571
[70]
365
 China

Xi'an
7,410,000
[71]
Sub-provincial city
9,983
[71]
742
 China

Nanjing
7,400,000
[72]
Sub-provincial city
6,598
[72]
1,122
 China

Shenyang
7,200,000
[73]
Sub-provincial city
12,980
[73]
555
 China

Dalian
6,130,000
[74]
Sub-provincial city
12,574
[75]
488
 China

Jinan
6,039,900
[76]
Sub-provincial city
8,177
[76]
739
 China

Dongguan
8,220,237
[65]
Prefecture-level city
2,465

3,335
 China
Census 2010
Zhanjiang
6,993,304
[65]
Prefecture-level city
9,443
[77]
741
 China
Census 2010
Maoming
5,817,753
[65]
Prefecture-level city
11,458

508
 China
Census 2010
Shijiazhuang
9,170,000
[78]
Prefecture-level city
15,848

579
 China

Shantou
5,391,028
[65]
Prefecture-level city
2,064
[79]
2,612
 China
Census 2010
Foshan
7,194,311
[65]
Prefecture-level city
3,868
[80]
1,860
 China
Census 2010
Meizhou
4,240,139
[65]
Prefecture-level city
15,925
[81]
266
 China
Census 2010
Huizhou
4,597,002
[65]
Prefecture-level city
10,655
[82]
431
 China
Census 2010
Jiangmen
4,448,871
[65]
Prefecture-level city
9,443
[77]
471
 China
Census 2010
Jieyang
5,877,025
[65]
Prefecture-level city
5,138
[83]
1,144
 China
Census 2010
Hangzhou
8,700,400
[84]
sub-provincial city
16,596
[85]
524
 China
Census 2010
Ningbo
7,605,700
[84]
sub-provincial city
9,365
[86]
812
 China
Census 2010
Wenzhou
9,122,100
[84]
prefecture-level city
11,784
[87]
774
 China
Census 2010
Jiaxing
4,501,700
[84]
prefecture-level city
3,195
[88]
1,409
 China
Census 2010
Jinhua
5,361,600
[84]
prefecture-level city
10,938
[89]
490
 China
Census 2010
Shaoxing
4,912,200
[84]
prefecture-level city
8,256
[90]
595
 China
Census 2010
Taizhou
5,968,800
[84]
prefecture-level city
9,411
[91]
634
 China
Census 2010
Alexandria
4,110,015
[53]
Governorate
2,680

1,534
 Egypt

Shenyang
7,100,000
[92]
Prefecture-level city
12,942

549
 China

Hyderabad
6,809,970
[93]
Municipal Corporation
650
[93]
10,477
 India
Became Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation in 2007
Ankara
3,901,201
[32]
Metropolitan Municipality
2,516

1,551
 Turkey

Johannesburg
3,888,180
[94]
Metropolitan Municipality
1,645

2,364
 South Africa

Los Angeles
3,831,868
[95]
City proper
1,290

2,970
 United States

Wuhan
9,785,392
[96]
Prefecture-level city
8,494
[97]
1,152
 China
Census 2010
Yokohama
3,689,603
[38]
City proper
435

8,482
 Japan
Census 2010
Abidjan
3,660,682
[98]
Department/District
2,119

1,728
 Ivory Coast

Busan
3,574,340
[99]
Metropolitan City
766
[99]
4,666
 South Korea

Cape Town
3,497,097
[94]
Metropolitan Municipality
2,455

1,424
 South Africa

Durban
3,468,086
[94]
Metropolitan Municipality
2,292
1513
1,513
 South Africa

Pune
3,760,636
[30]
Municipal Corporation
430

8,746
 India
Census 2010
Berlin
3,450,900
[100]
City state
892

3,869
 Germany
Census 2010
Pyongyang
3,255,388
[101]
Direct-controlled municipality
3,194

1,019
 North Korea

Jeddah
3,234,000
[39]
City proper
1,230

2,629
 Saudi Arabia

Kanpur
3,221,435
[58]
Municipal Corporation
267

12,065
 India
World Gazetteer sourced, treat with caution
Madrid
3,213,271
[102]
Municipality
698

4,604
 Spain

Jaipur
3,210,570
[58]
Municipal Corporation
485

6,620
 India
World Gazetteer sourced, treat with caution
Buenos Aires
3,050,728
[103]
Autonomous city
203

15,028
 Argentina

Nairobi
3,500,000
[104]
Municipality
696

5,029
 Kenya

See also

References

External links

  • The largest cities in the world and their mayors 2010
  • World's largest cities (Table 1: With suburbs, Table 2: Without suburbs)
  • Largest cities of the world (municipalities)
  • Mega Cities
  • Major cities of the world (Finnish)
  • China now home to one quarter of world’s largest cities, UN reports
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