List of metropolitan areas by population

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Five of the world's largest metropolitan areas

Tokyo, Japan
Seoul, South Korea
Mexico City, Mexico
New York City, United States
Mumbai, India
São Paulo, Brazil

One concept which measures the world's largest cities is that of the metropolitan area, which is based on the concept of a labor market area and is typically defined as an employment core (an area with a high density of available jobs) and the surrounding areas that have strong commuting ties to the core. There is currently no generally accepted, globally consistent definition of exactly what constitutes a metropolitan area, thus making comparisons between cities in different countries especially difficult.[1]

One attempt at arriving at a consistently defined metropolitan area concept is the study by Richard Forstall, Richard Greene, and James Pick. The basic principles of their definition involve delineating the urban area as the core, then adding surrounding communities that meet two criteria: (1) Less than 35% of the resident workforce must be engaged in agriculture or fishing; and (2) At least 20% of the working residents commute to the urban core.[1]

Based on their consistently defined metropolitan area criteria, they tabulate a list of the twenty largest metropolitan areas in 2003.[1][2] As population figures are interpreted and presented differently according to different methods of data collection, definitions and sources, these numbers should be viewed as approximate. Data from other sources may be equally valid but differ due to being measured according to different criteria or taken from different census years.


Metropolitan areaCountryRankForstall
2003 est.[2]
Official populationYear
Ahmedabad India70066352254000000006,352,254[3]2011
Atlanta United States70065457831000000005,457,831[4]2012
Bangalore India70068728906000000008,728,906[3]2011
Barcelona Spain70065357422000000005,357,422[5]2012
Belo Horizonte Brazil70065504635000000005,504,635[6]2012
Beijing China19700712500000000000012,500,000
Berlin Germany70065097712000000005,097,712[5]2012
Bogotá Colombia70067881156000000007,881,156[7]2005
Buenos Aires Argentina17700713170000000000013,170,000700712801364000000012,801,364[8]2010
Cairo Egypt16700714450000000000014,450,000
Chennai India70068917749000000008,917,749[3]2011
Chicago United States70069175000000000009,175,00070069522434000000009,522,434[4]2012
Dallas–Fort Worth United States70066700991000000006,700,991[4]2012
Delhi India8700718600000000000018,600,000700721753486000000021,753,486[3]2011
Dhaka Bangladesh700712797394000000012,797,394[9]2008
Houston United States70066177035000000006,177,035[4]2012
Hong Kong-Shenzhen China12700715800000000000015,800,000
Hyderabad India70067749334000000007,749,334[3]2011
Jakarta Indonesia6700718900000000000018,900,000700723308500000000023,308,500[10]2000
Karachi Pakistan20700711800000000000011,800,000
Kolkata India14700715100000000000015,100,000700714617882000000014,617,882[3]2011
Lima Peru70068482619000000008,482,619[11]2007
London United Kingdom18700712875000000000012,875,000700713614409000000013,614,409[5]2012
Los Angeles United States13700716400000000000016,400,000700713052921000000013,052,921[4]2012
Madrid Spain70066387824000000006,387,824[5]2012
Manila Philippines11700716300000000000016,300,000700711855975000000011,855,975[12]2010
Mexico City Mexico3700720450000000000020,450,000700720116842000000020,116,842[13]2010
Miami United States70065762717000000005,762,717[4]2012
Moscow Russia15700715000000000000015,000,000700717000000000000017,000,000[14][15]
Mumbai India5700719200000000000019,200,000700720748395000000020,748,395[3]2011
Nagoya Japan70069107000000000009,107,000[16]2010
New York United States4700719750000000000019,750,000700719831858000000019,831,858[4]2012
Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (Keihanshin) Japan9700717375000000000017,375,000700719342000000000019,342,000[16]2010
Paris France700712161542000000012,161,542[17]2009
Philadelphia United States70066018800000000006,018,800[4]2012
Pune India70065049968000000005,049,968[3]2011
Ruhr Germany70065135136000000005,135,136[5]2012
Rio de Janeiro Brazil700711846530000000011,846,530[6]2012
São Paulo Brazil7700718850000000000018,850,000700719956590000000019,956,590[6]2012
Santiago Chile70066683852000000006,683,852[18]2012
Shanghai China10700716650000000000016,650,000
Seoul South Korea2700720550000000000020,550,000700725721000000000025,721,000[19]2012
Singapore Singapore70065312000000000005,312,000[20]2012
Tokyo Japan1700732450000000000032,450,000700736923000000000036,923,000[16]2010
Toronto Canada70065583064000000005,583,064[21]2011
Washington, D.C. United States70065860342000000005,860,342[4]2012

See also[edit]

Lists of metropolitan areas by region[edit]

Lists of metropolitan areas by country or region[edit]


  1. ^ a b c R.L. Forstall, R.P. Greene, and J.B. Pick, Which are the largest? Why lists of major urban areas vary so greatly, Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 100, 277 (2009), Table 4
  2. ^ a b R.L. Forstall, R.P. Greene, and J.B. Pick, "Which are the largest? Why published populations for major world urban areas vary so greatly", City Futures Conference, (University of Illinois at Chicago, July 2004) – Table 5 (p.34)
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  10. ^ "Perkembangan Penduduk" (in Indonesian). Portal Nasional Indonesia. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
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  12. ^ "National Capital Region. Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". National Statistics Office of the Philippines. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  13. ^ "Cuadro 5.13. Zona metropolitana del Valle de México: Población, tasa de crecimiento y densidad media urbana, 1990-2010" (in Spanish). INEGI. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Moscow - Moscow International Portal :: Transport and road infrastructure. Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  16. ^ a b c "Table 2.10 Population of Three Major Metropolitan Areas". Statistics Bureau of Japan. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Aire urbaine 2010 : Paris (001)". INSEE. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Región Metropolitana de Santiago" (in Spanish). Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "통계표명 : 수도권 권역" (in Korean). Statistics Korea. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Population (Mid-Year Estimates)". Statistics Singapore. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "Toronto (Census metropolitan area)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 

External links[edit]