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|
|City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia||Australia||36,902|
|Wood Buffalo, Alberta||Canada||24,570|
|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.
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)|
|Shanghai||People's Republic of China||24,150,000||5,177|
|New York City||United States of America||19,949,502||17,884|
* 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.