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Mapped: U.S. States By Number of Cities Over 250,000 Residents

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

A map showing the number of cities with 250,000+ residents in each U.S. state.

Mapped: U.S. States By Number of Cities Over 250K Residents

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Over 80% of the American population lives in an “urban area” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But where are all of the country’s largest cities, and what patterns can we see from their state locations?

This map shows U.S. states by their number of incorporated areas (i.e. cities or towns) that have more than 250,000 residents. Data for this map comes from 2024 estimates made by World Population Review, which were based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures.

ℹ️ An incorporated area is a legally recognized region with its own local government, empowered to enact and enforce laws within its boundaries, often including cities, towns, or villages.

Ranked: U.S. States By Number of Cities Over 250K Residents

California and Texas—also the most populous U.S. states—each have more than 10 cities with at least a quarter of a million inhabitants.

StateCities With 250K
People
City Names
California15Los Angeles, San
Diego, San Jose,
San Francisco,
Fresno, Sacramento,
Long Beach, Oakland,
Bakersfield, Anaheim,
Riverside, Stockton,
Irvine, Santa Ana,
Chula Visa
Texas12Houston, San
Antonio, Dallas,
Fort Worth, Austin,
El Paso, Arlington,
Corpus Christi, Plano,
Lubbock, Laredo,
Irving
Arizona6Phoenix, Tucson,
Mesa, Chandler,
Gilbert, Glendale
Florida6Jacksonville, Miami,
Tampa, Orlando,
St. Petersburg,
Port St. Lucie
North Carolina5Charlotte, Raleigh,
Greensboro, Durham,
Winston-Salem
Ohio4Columbus, Cleveland,
Cincinnati, Toledo
Nevada4Las Vegas, Henderson,
North Las Vegas,
Reno
Colorado3Denver, Colorado
Springs, Aurora
Tennessee2Nashville, Memphis
New York2New York, Buffalo
Pennsylvania2Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
Indiana2Indianapolis,
Fort Wayne
Oklahoma2Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Kentucky2Louisville/Jefferson
County, Lexington
Wisconsin2Milwaukee, Madison
Missouri2Kansas City, St. Louis
Nebraska2Omaha, Lincoln
Virginia2Virginia Beach,
Chesapeake
Minnesota2Minneapolis, St. Paul
New Jersey2Newark, Jersey City
Illinois1Chicago
Washington1Seattle
District of Columbia1Washington D.C.
Massachusetts1Boston
Oregon1Portland
Michigan1Detroit
New Mexico1Albuquerque
Maryland1Baltimore
Georgia1Atlanta
Kansas1Wichita
Louisiana1New Orleans
Hawaii1Honolulu
Alaska1Anchorage

Two other warm weather states, Arizona and Florida, also have a number of cities with 250,000 or more residents, at six each.

Eighteen U.S. states in total—including South Carolina, Alabama, and Utah to name a few—have no single incorporated area with 250,000 or more residents.

Cities, Towns, and Metro Areas

Like with all population data, definitions tend to play a big role in what is considered a city. In general parlance, built-up population centers are often thought of cities. However, an urban area can have a relatively big population and be incorporated as a town, as in the case of Gilbert, Arizona, which is included in the above map.

Separately, a collection of incorporated villages can be collectively referred to as a town, such as in the case of Hempstead, New York. Hempstead is an incorporated village with only 60,000 people, however it also lends its name to the wider town (an amalgamation of 22 villages and 38 hamlets) which has nearly 800,000 inhabitants. Three other New York towns listed below thus do not make the map for similar reasons.

TownStatePopulation
HempsteadNew York779,916
BrookhavenNew York483,351
IslipNew York333,322
Oyster BayNew York293,812

Source: World Population Review.

On the other hand, major hubs like Los Angeles often have a central city and surrounding suburbs, which are their own distinct incorporated cities as well. These are often counted as one major metropolitan region, but are still, technically separate cities. This leads to interesting results in the final count.

For example, in Arizona’s case, five of the six cities listed all belong to the greater Phoenix Metropolitan region.

Meanwhile, Nevada has two main population centers: Las Vegas and Reno. However two of Las Vegas’ suburbs, Henderson and North Las Vegas, are separately incorporated, and each have populations that crack the 250,000 mark.

Conversely, in South Carolina, there are no cities listed, despite having a state population of 5.3 million. The state’s urban areas are divided up in such a way that none of them (including the central cities of Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville) end up passing 250,000 in population.

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Vintage Viz: World Cities With 1 Million Residents (1800–1930)

From someone born in the 19th century, in the midst of historic population growth, comes this vintage visualization showing world cities growing ever bigger.

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A cropped chart from our vintage viz series showing world cities with one million residents between 1800 and 1930.

World Cities With At Least 1 Million Residents (1800–1930)

This chart is the latest in our Vintage Viz series, which presents historical visualizations along with the context needed to understand them.

The explosive world population boom in the last 300 years is common knowledge today. Much and more has been written about how and why it happened, why it was unusual, and how the specter of a declining population for the first time in three centuries could impact human society.

However, equally compelling, is how people in the past—those living in the midst of the early waves of this boom—were fascinated by what they were witnessing.

Evidence of this comes from today’s vintage visualization, denoting the increasing number of world cities with at least one million inhabitants through the years.

The above pictogram was made by Austrian philosopher and sociologist Otto Neurath (1882–1945), found in his book, Society and Economy, published in 1930.

World Population Doubles Between 1800 and 1930

In 1800, the world population crossed 1 billion for the first time ever.

In the next 130 years, it doubled past 2 billion.

The Second Agricultural Revolution, characterized by massive land and labor productivity, grew agricultural output more than the population and is one of the key drivers of this population growth.

And in the pictogram above, where one silhouette indicates one million inhabitants, this exponential population growth becomes far more vivid.

In 1800, for example, according to the creator’s estimates, only London had at least million residents. A century later, 15 cities now boasted of the same number. Then, three decades hence, 37 cities across the world had one million inhabitants.

YearCities with One Million Residents
18001
190015
193037

Importantly, the data above is based on the creator’s estimates from a century ago, and does not include Beijing (then referred to as Peking in English) in 1800. Historians now agree that the city had more than a million residents, and was the largest city in the world at the time.

Another phenomenon becoming increasingly apparent is growing urbanization—food surplus frees up large sections of the population from agriculture, driving specialization in other skills and trade, in turn leading to congregations in urban centers.

Other visualizations in the same book covered migration, Indigenous peoples, labor, religion, trade, and natural resources, reflecting the creator’s interest in the social life of individuals and their well-being.

Who Was Otto Neurath and What is His Legacy?

This vintage visualization might seem incredibly simple, simplistic even, considering how we map out population data today. But the creator Otto Neurath, and his wife Marie, were pioneers in the field of visual communication.

One of their notable achievements was the creation of the Vienna Method of pictorial statistics, which aimed to represent statistical information in a visually accessible way—the forerunner to modern-day infographics.

The Neuraths believed in using clear and simple visual language to convey complex information to a broad audience, an approach that laid the foundation for modern information design.

They fled Austria during the rise of the Nazi regime and spent their later years in various countries, including the UK. Otto Neurath’s influence on graphic design, visual communication, and the philosophy of language has endured, and his legacy is still recognized in these fields today.

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