Largest City in the World

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Largest City in the World

This ScienceStruck article lists the largest cities in the world by area and population and the most populated metropolitan in the world as well.

There are a number of parameters that have a role to play in determining the largest city in the world. The first parameter is the definition of the word ‘city’ itself. Then come the factors like ‘size’ in terms of land area, wherein most people believe that this should be the chosen parameter for adjudging the largest city in the world. With the changing geographical scenario, the borders of a city can also change, and at the same time, different methods can be used to define these borders.

Defining a City

If the city has to be defined morphologically, then it is a physically contiguous urban area, without regard to its territorial, administrative, or such other boundaries. When the process of delineation is undertaken, it is done using some type of urban density, like population density, density of buildings, etc. These days, satellite and/or aerial maps are often used for the process. For statistical convenience, in some cases, some areas are sometimes adjusted to appropriate administrative boundaries.

When the administrative aspect of defining a city is taken into consideration, then it is defined strictly by a given government. Normally, it is based on a municipality or equivalent entity. Sometimes, a group of municipalities together can also form a regional government in a particular city. A city can also be defined by its functional parameters, which include the habits of the demographic population by metropolitan area, labor market, etc. Such demarcation is based on commuting between home and work.

Largest City by Area

This is a non-exhaustive list of the biggest cities by size; in other words, in terms of the surface area of their municipalities. The list is limited to clear and unambiguously defined political jurisdictions that identify themselves as cities. This is in contrast to a metropolitan area, which may also include multiple cities that are all under the jurisdiction of different city councils.

City Country Area (In Sq Mi)
Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia China 101,913
Altamira, Pará Brazil 62,335
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia Australia 36,902
Chongqing China 31,816
Wood Buffalo, Alberta Canada 24,570
Leh India 17,420
City of Mount Isa, Queensland Australia 16,737
Porto Velho, Rondonia Brazil 13,159
La Tuque, Quebec Canada 10,848
Yakutat City and Borough, Alaska United States 9,459

Largest City by Population

This is the table of the most populous cities of the world. They are defined according to the concept of city proper. The table below has the world’s largest urban municipal units according to population. The population figures mentioned in the table are for the city proper and not for the urban area or the metropolitan area.

City Country Population*
Shanghai China 24,150,000
Karachi Pakistan 23,500,000
Beijing China 20,693,000
Delhi India 17,115,104
Istanbul Turkey 14,160,467
Mumbai India 12,537,095
Moscow Russia 11,980,000
São Paulo Brazil 11,822,000
Seoul South Korea 10,464,051
Mexico City Mexico 8,864,000

Largest Metropolitan Area by Population

A metropolitan area is based on the concept of a labor market area and is often defined as an employment core, which is an area that has a high density of available jobs, along with the surrounding areas which have strong commuting ties to the core. As of now, there is no generally-accepted, globally-consistent definition of exactly what makes a metropolitan area. Hence, making a comparison between cities in different countries is, at times, very difficult.

Metropolitan Area Country Population* Area (In sq km)
Tokyo Japan 35,000,000 13,572
Jakarta Indonesia 28,019,545 5,100
Seoul South Korea 25,620,000 5,076
Shanghai People’s Republic of China 24,150,000 5,177
Mexico City Mexico 21,200,000 7,346
Mumbai India 20,998,395 4,355
São Paulo Brazil 19,900,000 7,943
New York City United States of America 19,949,502 17,884
Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto Japan 18,768,395 6,930
Delhi India 18,600,000 3,182

* The population figures mentioned are according to the latest data available.

The population density of a particular city is calculated based on its area and population. The larger the population and lesser the area, the higher is the population density.

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