Top largest cities in the world – new edition

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I’ve presented you the top 50 largest cities in the world in 2016. It’s time to see how things changed and which are now the largest cities in the world by population, the largest cities in the world by area, the megacities in the world, the built-up urban area population, and some interesting discoveries.

1072 larger urban areas – meaning urban agglomerations with 500,000 or more residents are presented in the new report by Demographia World Urban Areas.

As you’ll see, there are more megacities in 2019 than in 2018, and some changes in terms of the top most populous cities in the world.

Top largest cities in the world

Distribution of population

Striking fact: There are 38 megacities, yet approximately 70% of the world’s population lives in urban areas with fewer than 500,000 residents or in rural areas.

How come?

Well, it’s rather easy to understand: most of the big cities have suburbs with a lower population density and it’s here that most people live, as well as in rural areas.

World population distribution

World population by continent

The most populous continent is Asia with 57.6% of the people living here. Next on the list is North America – 12.5% – followed by Africa – 11.6% – and Europe – 9.7%.

Indeed, there’s a huge distance between the biggest continent – in terms of the distribution of the population by continent – and the rest of the continents. It is no surprise that the most populous city is from Asia.

World population by continent - built-up urban areas population

Top 10 largest cities in the world

  1. Tokyo-Yokohama – Tokyo is also the SAFEST city in the world, according to a study
  2. Jakarta
  3. Delhi
  4. Manila
  5. Seoul-Incheon
  6. Mumbai
  7. Shanghai
  8. New York
  9. Sao Paolo
  10. Mexico City

As you can easily see, most of these biggest cities in the world are from Asia. In fact. Apart from New York, Sao Paolo, and Mexico City, the rest (7) are from Asia – therefore it is no surprise that Asia is the most populous continent in the world.

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Tokyo is the most populous urban area in the world. Discover the top 50 most populated cities in the world. These are the largest cities in the world!
Tokyo is the most populous urban area in the world

Tokyo is the most populous urban area in the world. There are more than 38.5 million people living here which makes this the largest city in the world, in terms of population.

Jakarta has over 34 million residents.

The other large urban areas in the world have more than 20 million people each.

For comparison, back in 2016, the first 10 largest urban areas in the world were:

 

  • Tokyo–Yokohama (Japan)
  • Jakarta (Indonesia)
  • Delhi (India)
  • Seoul–Incheon (South Korea)
  • Manila (Philippines)
  • Mumbai (India)
  • Karachi (Pakistan)
  • Shanghai (China)
  • New York (United States)
  • Sao Paolo (Brazil)

 

Urban areas and Metropolitan areas

Megacities – 2019 – most populous urban areas

It’s time to discover the largest urban areas across the globe. These are the biggest cities and biggest urban areas – they have more than 10 million residents.

  1. Tokyo-Yokohama
  2. Jakarta
  3. Delhi
  4. Manila
  5. Seoul-Incheon
  6. Mumbai (read the local’s guide to Mumbai here)
  7. Shanghai
  8. New York (discover the local’s guide to NYC, the perfect itinerary for 3 days in New York City by a local, a dedicated guide to Queens and one for Brooklyn, and 20 free things to do in NYC, and a few day trips from New York ideas)
  9. Sao Paolo
  10. Mexico City
  11. Guangzhou-Foshan
  12. Beijing
  13. Dhaka
  14. Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto
  15. Cairo
  16. Moscow
  17. Bangkok
  18. Los Angeles (here’s your LA travel guide and discover the natural wonders in Los Angeles here)
  19. Kolkata (this is the comprehensive guide to Kolkata)
  20. Buenos Aires
  21. Lagos
  22. Tehran
  23. Istanbul
  24. Karachi
  25. Shenzhen
  26. Tianjin
  27. Kinshasa
  28. Chendu
  29. Rio de Janeiro
  30. Lahore
  31. Lima
  32. Bangalore
  33. Paris (here’s how to spend 1 day in Paris, things to know before your first trip to Paris, what not to do in Paris, my favourite 5 places to visit in Paris, the perfect bucket list for your first trip to Paris)
  34. Ho Chi Minh City
  35. London (discover London like a local – hidden gems, read the insider’s guide to London, create your bucket list if you are a museum lover, find out the best free things to do in London, and UNESCO sites in London)
  36. Bogota
  37. Chennai
  38. Nagoya (read the insider’s guide to Nagoya)
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As you can see, these largest cities in the world are from almost all continents.

Megacities – 2019 – most populous urban areas. The most populous cities in the world - the largest cities in the world

Top 50 Largest build-up urban areas in the world

Now, apart from the 38 megacities above, let’s see the rest of the largest urban areas in the world:

39. Hyderabad (discover the best places to visit in Hyderabad)
40 Johannesburg-East Rand
41. Chicago, IL-IN-WI
42. Taipei
43. Wuhan, HUB
44. Dongguan, GD
45. Hanoi (discover the best things to do in Hanoi, restaurants and more)
46. Chongqing, CQ
47. Onitsha (Nigeria)
48. Kuala Lumpur (read here the comprehensive guide to Kuala Lumpur)
49. Ahmadabad, GJ
50. Luanda (Angola)

Built-up urban areas by land area (urban footprint): 2019

Another interesting thing to look at is the top 20 built-up urban areas by land area. As you’ll see below, these areas are different than the largest cities in the world. Apart from a city in Russia, 2 in Japan, 3 in China, 1 in Indonesia, and 1 in Argentina, all the other built-up urban areas by land area are from the United States!

Let’s see the top 20 most populated cities in the world by area.

  1. New York
  2. Boston-Providence
  3. Tokyo-Yokohama
  4. Atlanta
  5. Chicago
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Moscow
  8. Washington-Baltimore
  9. Philadelphia
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth
  11. Houston
  12. Beijing
  13. Detroit
  14. Shanghai
  15. Guangzhou-Foshan
  16. Nagoya
  17. Cleveland
  18. Jakarta
  19. Phoenix
  20. Buenos Aires

Built-up urban areas by land area (urban footprint)

Built-up urban areas by urban population density

Now, these are indeed the cities and urban areas!

If you want to know which are the most populated cities in the world by density, pay attention below:

  1. Dhaka (Bangladesh)
  2. Mogadishu (Somalia)
  3. Surat (India)
  4. Mumbai (India)
  5. Macau (China)
  6. Hong Kong (China)
  7. Tshikapa (Congo)
  8. Al-Raqqa (Syria)
  9. Bukavu (Congo)
  10. Muzaffarnagar (India)
  11. Firozabad (India)
  12. Kinshasa (Congo)
  13. Malegaon (India)
  14. Ahmadabad (India)
  15. Asansol (India)
  16. Moradabad (India)
  17. Vijayawada (India)
  18. Siliguri (India)
  19. Aleppo (Syria)
  20. Hama (Syria)

As you can see, most of the cities are from India – and even more from Asia – so it’s no surprise that Asia is the most populated continent in the world.

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Of course, I was curious to see where does my hometown – Bucharest, Romania – fit in these tops. I discovered that Bucharest ranks 264 in the largest cities in the world top, 314 in the top most populated cities by area, and 571 in the top built-up areas by population density.

In conclusion:

  • the largest built-up urban area in the world is Tokyo-Yokohama (Japan)

  • the largest built-up area by land area is New York (USA)

  • the largest built-up area by population density is Dhaka (Bangladesh)

The study is quite interesting so I am truly recommending it to you. You may download the pdf and check it out – see where your hometown ranks or other favorite cities!

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