The world's most populous cities

World City Populations

Top 20 cities of the world with the highest populations. Classifying the exact population in a particular city can be difficult because the borders of some cities are ill-defined. Many cities sprawl over a very large area encompassing smaller towns and cities in the process. For clarity I've included 2 tables of world city populations, the first contains data which is supposed to represent the populations living in the most well defined urban centre of the city. The second table lists city population in the metropolitan area which includes the surrounding suburbs and urban sprawl of the city.

Urban city population

Rank City Country Population
(Urban - City Limits)
1ShanghaiChina14,608,512
2Mumbai (Bombay)India12,691,836
3KarachiPakistan11,624,219
4Buenos AiresArgentina11,574,205
5Dilli (Delhi)India10,927,986
6ManilaPhilippines10,444,527
7MoscowRussia10,381,222
8SeoulKorea (South)10,349,312
9Sao PauloBrazil10,21,295
10IstanbulTurkey9,792,428
11LagosNigeria8,789,120
12Mexico CityMexico8,657,50
13JakartaIndonesia8,540,121
14TokyoJapan8,336,599
15New YorkUnited States of America8,107,916
16KinshasaCongo (Dem. Rep.)7,785,965
17LimaPeru7,737,2
18CairoEgypt7,734,614
19PekingChina7,480,601
20LondonUnited Kingdom7,421,209

Metropolitan Area / City Population

Populations of cities including the urban sprawl around the city. Sometimes several cities and towns are grouped into a metropolitan area because no clear borders are found between them. One city sprawls into another.

Rank Metropolitan Area / City Country Population (Metropolitan -
includes surrounding suburbs)
1TokyoJapan36,511,740
2New YorkUnited States of America22,313,756
3MexicoMexico22,92,696
4SeoulKorea (South)21,738,345
5MumbaiIndia19,468,950
6Sao PauloBrazil19,91,770
7JakartaIndonesia17,593,429
8Los AngelesUnited States of America17,542,279
9Osaka-Kobe-KyotoJapan17,514,449
10Dilli (Delhi)India17,476,68
11ManilaPhilippines16,608,149
12al-Qa-hirahEgypt15,502,478
13ShanghaiChina14,608,512
14Kolkata (Calcutta)India14,452,498
15MoscowRussia14,435,176
16Buenos AiresArgentina13,325,866
17LondonUnited Kingdom12,415,310
18TehranIran11,887,360
19Rhein-RuhrGermany11,781,436
20Rio de JaneiroBrazil11,719,708

Finding accurate statistics about city populations is difficult with lots of websites quoting figures from a whole variety of different sources, some based on census data others based on projections. However I found the following excellent site the most comprehensive and so took the data from there.

Source data by Stefan Helders www.world-gazetteer.com

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