Top 50 largest cities in the world (2016 edition)

Updated post with the largest cities in the world in 2019 here

I woke up curious to find out which are the largest cities in the world. I looked up data for 2015, and I was happy to discover the Demographia World Urban Areas (Built-Up Urban Areas or World Agglomerations) – a report with the top 1000 largest cities in the world.

As you can easily imagine, Asia is the continent with the most cities on this top. In fact, I had to look a lot until I found the first city in Europe in the top.

“More than 70 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas with less than 500,000 residents4 or in rural areas (See: What is a Half-Urban World?5).

Approximately one quarter (23.9 percent) of the world population lives in urban areas of 1,000,000 population or more. Less than 30 percent (28.6 percent) live in urban areas with 500,000 or more population.6

More than 70 percent of the world’s population lives outside urban areas with 500,000 or more residents (Figure 1).” – is specified in the report.

Read this article to discover the safest cities in the world

World population distribution

According to this report, this is how the built-up urban area population by continent looks like:

Built-up urban areas

So, the top 50 largest built-up urban areas in the world, with a population of 500,000 and over are:

Top 50 largest cities in the world (2016 edition) //

  1. Tokyo–Yokohama (Japan)
  2. Jakarta (Indonesia)
  3. Delhi (India)
  4. Seoul–Incheon (South Korea)
  5. Manila (Philippines)
  6. Mumbai (India)
  7. Karachi (Pakistan)
  8. Shanghai (China)
  9. New York (United States)
  10. Sao Paolo (Brazil)
  11. Beijing (China)
  12. Mexico City (Mexico)
  13. Guangzhou-Foshan (China)
  14. Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (Japan)
  15. Moscow (Russia)
  16. Shaka (Bangladesh)
  17. Cairo (Egypt)
  18. Bangkok (Thailand)
  19. Los Angeles (United States)
  20. Kolkata (India)
  21. Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  22. Tehran (Iran)
  23. Istanbul (Turkey)
  24. Lagos (Nigeria)
  25. Shenzhen (China)
  26. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  27. Kinshasa (Congo)
  28. Tianjin (China)
  29. Lima (Peru)
  30. Paris (France)
  31. Chengdu (China)
  32. Lahore (Pakistan)
  33. London (United Kingdom)
  34. Bangalore (India)
  35. Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam)
  36. Nagoya (Japan)
  37. Chennai (India)
  38. Bogota (Colombia)
  39. Chicago (United States)
  40. Johannesburg-East Rand (South Africa)
  41. Taipei (China: Taiwan)
  42. Dongguan (China)
  43. Hyderabad (India)
  44. Wuhan (China)
  45. Hangzhou (China)
  46. Hanoi (Viet Nam)
  47. Chongqing (China)
  48. Onitsha (Nigeria)
  49. Ahmadabad (India)
  50. Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
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Traveler tip: As we are talking about traveling abroad, don’t forget your visa for each destination you are planning to visit!

Also, the top 50 built-up urban areas by land areas are:

Top 50 largest cities in the world (2016 edition) //

  1. New York (United States)
  2. Tokyo-Yokohama (japan)
  3. Chicago (United States)
  4. Atlanta (United States)
  5. Los Angeles (United States)
  6. Boston (United States)
  7. Moscow (Russia)
  8. Dallas-Fort Worth (United States)
  9. Philadelphia (United States)
  10. Houston (United States)
  11. Beijing (China)
  12. Shanghai (China)
  13. Nagoya (Japan)
  14. Guangzhou-Foshan (China)
  15. Detroit (United States)
  16. Washington (United States)
  17. Jakarta (Indonesia)
  18. Phoenix (United States)
  19. Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (Japan)
  20. Miami (United States)
  21. Seattle (United States)
  22. Paris (France)
  23. San Francisco-San Jose (United States)
  24. Sao Paolo (Brazil)
  25. Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  26. Essen-Dusseldorf (Germany)
  27. Minneapolis-St. Paul (United States)
  28. Johannesburg-East Rand (South Africa)
  29. Seoul-Incheon (South Korea)
  30. Bangkok (Thailand)
  31. Melbourne (Australia)
  32. Tampa-St. Petersburg (United States)
  33. St. Louis (United States)
  34. Pittsburg (United States)
  35. Toronto (Canada)
  36. San Juan (US: Puerto Rico)
  37. Delhi (India)
  38. Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  39. Mexico City (Mexico)
  40. Orlando (United States)
  41. Cincinnati (United States)
  42. Sydney (Australia)
  43. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  44. Tianjin (China)
  45. Cleveland (United States)
  46. Brisbane (Australia)
  47. Onitsha (Nigeria)
  48. Charlotte (United States)
  49. San Diego (United States)
  50. Milan (Italy)

As you can easily notice, there are some huge differences between the top places, depending on the criteria used.

Bringing your furry friend along for your trip? Read more here.

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