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List of metropolitan areas by population: Wikis


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Tokyo, the most populous metropolitan area in the world

The question of which are the world's largest cities is a complex one, to which there is no single correct answer, simply because there are many different ways of defining a "city".

One concept is that of the metropolitan area, which is based on the concept of a labor market area and is typically defined as an employment core (an area with a high density of available jobs) and the surrounding areas that have strong commuting ties to the core. There is currently no generally accepted, globally consistent definition of exactly what constitutes a metropolitan area, thus making comparisons between cities in different countries especially difficult.[1]

One attempt at arriving at a consistently defined metropolitan area concept is the study by Richard Forstall, Richard Greene, and James Pick. The basic principles of their definition involve delineating the urban area as the core, then adding surrounding communities that meet two criteria: (1) Less than 35% of the resident workforce must be engaged in agriculture or fishing; and (2) At least 20% of the working residents commute to the urban core.[1] Based on their consistently defined metropolitan area criteria, they tabulate a list of the twenty largest metropolitan areas in 2003.[1][2] As population figures are interpreted and presented differently according to different methods of data collection, definitions and sources, these numbers should be viewed as approximate. Data from other sources may be equally valid but differ due to being measured according to different criteria or taken from different census years.

Rank Metropolitan area Country Population Area (km2) Population Density (People/km2)
1 Tokyo  Japan 32,450,000 8,014 4,049
2 Seoul  South Korea 20,550,000 5,076 4,048
3 Mexico City[3]  Mexico 20,450,000 7,346 2,784
4 New York City[4]  United States 19,750,000 17,884 1,104
5 Mumbai  India 19,200,000 2,350 8,170
6 Jakarta  Indonesia 18,900,000 5,100 3,706
7 São Paulo  Brazil 18,850,000 8,479 2,223
8 Delhi  India 18,600,000 3,182 5,845
9 Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto  Japan 17,375,000 6,930 2,507
10 Shanghai  People's Republic of China 16,650,000 5,177 3,216
11 Metro Manila  Philippines 16,300,000 2,521 6,466
12 Hong Kong-Shenzhen[5]  People's Republic of China 15,800,000 3,051 5,179
13 Los Angeles[6]  United States 15,250,000 10,780 1,415
14 Kolkata  India 15,100,000 1,785 8,459
15 Moscow  Russia 15,000,000 14,925 1,005
16 Greater Cairo  Egypt 14,450,000 1,600 9,031
17 Buenos Aires  Argentina 13,170,000 10,888 1,210
18 London  United Kingdom 12,875,000 11,391 1,130
19 Beijing  People's Republic of China 12,500,000 6,562 1,905
20 Karachi  Pakistan 11,800,000 1,100 10,727

See also


Lists of metropolitan areas by region

Lists of metropolitan areas by country or region


  1. ^ a b c R.L. Forstall, R.P. Greene, and J.B. Pick, Which are the largest? Why lists of major urban areas vary so greatly, Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 100, 277 (2009), Table 4
  2. ^ R.L. Forstall, R.P. Greene, and J.B. Pick, "Which are the largest? Why published populations for major world urban areas vary so greatly", City Futures Conference, (University of Illinois at Chicago, July 2004) – Table 5 (p.34)
  3. ^ Consists of two separate zona metropolitanas: the Zona Metropolitana del Valle de Mexico (ZMVM) and the Zona Metropolitana de Toluca (ZMT)
  4. ^ Consists of two separate metropolitan statistical areas (MSA): the New York–Northern New Jersey Long Island MSA and the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk MSA.
  5. ^ There are restrictions on the movement of labor between Hong Kong and mainland China and the two areas are sometimes listed separately in other lists.
  6. ^ Forstall defines the Los Angeles metropolitan area using census tracts and consists of portions of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura counties

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