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Ranked: The World’s Largest Cities By Population

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Ranked: The World’s Largest Cities By Population

The world has experienced rapid urbanization over the last century.

Today, more than 4.3 billion people live in urban settings, or 55% of the world’s population.

But what is the world’s largest city? Answers to that question will vary greatly depending on which lines are being used to demarcate city boundaries and measure their populations.

The graphic above uses data taken from the latest official censuses and projections to rank the top cities based on the three most common metrics.

The Largest Cities by City Proper

Our first metric is based on the city proper, meaning the administrative boundaries.

According to the United Nations, a city proper is “the single political jurisdiction which contains the historical city center.”

The Chinese city of Chongqing leads the ranks by this metric and has an administrative boundary the size of Austria, with an urban population of 32.1 million.

The city’s monorail system holds records for being the world’s longest and busiest, boasting 70 stations. Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, is among the world’s top 50 busiest airports. Additionally, the city ranks among the globe’s top 50 hubs for scientific research.

Other Chinese cities dominate the ranking by this metric:

RankCityPopulation (Million)
#1🇨🇳 Chongqing32.1m
#2🇨🇳 Shanghai24.9m
#3🇨🇳 Beijing 21.9m
#4🇮🇳 Delhi16.8m
#5🇨🇳 Chengdu16.0m
#6🇹🇷 Istanbul15.5m
#7🇵🇰 Karachi14.9m
#8🇨🇳 Guangzhou14.5m
#9🇨🇳 Tianjin13.9m
#10🇯🇵 Tokyo13.5m

The first non-Chinese city, Delhi, has been experiencing one of the fastest urban expansions in the world.

The United Nations projects India will add over 400 million urban dwellers by 2050, compared to 250 million people in China and 190 million in Nigeria.

The Largest Cities by Urban Area

This measurement largely ignores territorial boundaries and considers a city a contiguous, connected built-up area.

Demographia describes urban areas as functioning as an integrated economic unit, linked by commuting flows, social, and economic interactions.

By this metric, Tokyo leads the ranking:

RankCity Population (Million)
#1🇯🇵 Tokyo37.7m
#2🇮🇩 Jakarta33.8m
#3🇮🇳 Delhi32.2m
#4🇨🇳 Guangzhou26.9m
#5🇮🇳 Mumbai25.0m
#6🇵🇭 Manila24.9m
#7🇨🇳 Shanghai24.1m
#8🇧🇷 Sao Paulo23.1m
#9🇰🇷 Seoul23.0m
#10🇲🇽 Mexico City21.8m

The city proper houses about 10% of Japan’s population. If the greater Tokyo metro area is considered, including cities like Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba, then Tokyo’s total population surpasses 37 million—about 30% of the country total.

Consequently, even with one of the world’s largest railway systems, trains in Tokyo are incredibly crowded, with a boarding rate of 200% during peak time in the most overcrowded areas. The city is also famous for its Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection on the planet.

The Largest Cities by Metropolitan Area

Tokyo also leads by our final metric, metropolitan area.

This measurement is similar to urban area, but is generally defined by official organizations, either for statistical purposes or governance.

In the United States, this takes the form of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), such as Chicago-Naperville-Elgin or Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler.

RankCity Population (Million)
#1🇯🇵 Tokyo37.3m
#2🇮🇩 Jakarta33.4m
#3🇮🇳 Delhi 29.0m
#4🇰🇷 Seoul25.5m
#5🇮🇳 Mumbai24.4m
#6🇲🇽 Mexico City21.8m
#7🇧🇷 Sao Paulo21.7m
#8🇳🇬 Lagos 21.0m
#9🇺🇸 New York20.1m
#10🇷🇺 Moscow20.0m

As the global urban population continues to rise, new cities, especially in Africa and Asia, are expected to vie for the “largest” tag soon.

The UN projects that by 2050, 68% of the world will live in urban areas.

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The Largest Earthquakes in the New York Area (1970-2024)

The earthquake that shook buildings across New York in April 2024 was the third-largest quake in the Northeast U.S. over the past 50 years.

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Map of earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater recorded in the northeastern U.S. since 1970.

The Largest Earthquakes in the New York Area

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

The 4.8 magnitude earthquake that shook buildings across New York on Friday, April 5th, 2024 was the third-largest quake in the U.S. Northeast area over the past 50 years.

In this map, we illustrate earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater recorded in the Northeastern U.S. since 1970, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Shallow Quakes and Older Buildings

The earthquake that struck the U.S. Northeast in April 2024 was felt by millions of people from Washington, D.C., to north of Boston. It even caused a full ground stop at Newark Airport.

The quake, occurring just 5 km beneath the Earth’s surface, was considered shallow, which is what contributed to more intense shaking at the surface.

According to the USGS, rocks in the eastern U.S. are significantly older, denser, and harder than those on the western side, compressed by time. This makes them more efficient conduits for seismic energy. Additionally, buildings in the Northeast tend to be older and may not adhere to the latest earthquake codes.

Despite disrupting work and school life, the earthquake was considered minor, according to the Michigan Technological University magnitude scale:

MagnitudeEarthquake EffectsEstimated Number
Each Year
2.5 or lessUsually not felt, but can be
recorded by seismograph.
Millions
2.5 to 5.4Often felt, but only causes
minor damage.
500,000
5.5 to 6.0Slight damage to buildings
and other structures.
350
6.1 to 6.9May cause a lot of damage
in very populated areas.
100
7.0 to 7.9Major earthquake.
Serious damage.
10-15
8.0 or greaterGreat earthquake. Can totally
destroy communities near the
epicenter.
One every year
or two

The largest earthquake felt in the area over the past 50 years was a 5.3 magnitude quake that occurred in Au Sable Forks, New York, in 2002. It damaged houses and cracked roads in a remote corner of the Adirondack Mountains, but caused no injuries.

DateMagnitudeLocationState
April 20, 20025.3Au Sable ForksNew York
October 7, 19835.1NewcombNew York
April 5, 20244.8Whitehouse StationNew Jersey
October 16, 20124.7Hollis CenterMaine
January 16, 19944.6Sinking SpringPennsylvania
January 19, 19824.5SanborntonNew Hampshire
September 25, 19984.5AdamsvillePennsylvania
June 9, 19754.2AltonaNew York
May 29, 19834.2PeruMaine
April 23, 19844.2ConestogaPennsylvania
January 16, 19944.2Sinking SpringPennsylvania
November 3, 19754Long LakeNew York
June 17, 19914WorcesterNew York

The largest earthquake in U.S. history, however, was the 1964 Good Friday quake in Alaska, measuring 9.2 magnitude and killing 131 people.

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