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United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classified using the same criteria. Cities may be defined as the cities proper, the extent of their
urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as city, cities, towns, conurbat ...
, or their . The largest city by population using the city proper definition, which is the area under the administrative boundaries of a local government, is
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingu ...

Chongqing
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. The largest city by population using the metropolitan area definition, which is a loose term referring to urban area and its primary commuter areas, is
Tokyo Tokyo (Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is capital of Japan, the capital and most populous Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan ...

Tokyo
,
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
. The largest city by population using the urban area definition, which is a loose term referring to a contiguous area with a certain population density, is also Tokyo, Japan.


Definitions


City proper (administrative)

A city can be defined by its administrative boundaries (
city proper A city proper is the geographical area contained within city limits. The term ''proper'' is not exclusive to city, cities; it can describe the geographical area within the boundaries of any given locality. The United Nations defines the term as "t ...
). UNICEF defines city proper as "the population living within the administrative boundaries of a city or controlled directly from the city by a single authority." A city proper is a locality defined according to legal or political boundaries and an administratively recognised urban status that is usually characterised by some form of
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
. Cities proper and their boundaries and population data may not include suburbs. The use of city proper as defined by administrative boundaries may not include suburban areas where an important proportion of the population working or studying in the city lives. Because of this definition, the city proper population figure may differ greatly with the urban area population figure, as many cities are amalgamations of smaller municipalities (Australia), and conversely, many Chinese cities govern territories that extend well beyond the traditional "city proper" into suburban and rural areas. The Chinese municipality of
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingu ...

Chongqing
, which claims the largest city proper in the world, comprises a huge administrative area of 82,403 km2, around the size of
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
. However, more than 70% of its 30-million population are actually agricultural workers living in a .


Urban area

A city can be defined as a conditionally
contiguous Contiguity or contiguous may refer to: *Contiguous data storage, in computer science *Contiguity (probability theory) *Contiguity (psychology) *Contiguous distribution of species, in biogeography *Geographic contiguity of territorial land *Contiguo ...
urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as city, cities, towns, conurbat ...
, without regard to territorial or other boundaries inside an urban area.
UNICEF UNICEF, also known as the United Nations Children's Fund, is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide. The agency is among the most widespread and recognizable social welfare or ...

UNICEF
defines urban area as follows: According to
Demographia Wendell Cox is an American urban policy analyst and academic, known as a leading proponent of the use of the private car over rail projects. He is the principal and sole owner of Wendell Cox Consultancy/Demographia, based in the St. Louis St ...
, an urban area is a continuously built up land mass of urban development that is within a labor market (metropolitan area or metropolitan region) and contains no .


Metropolitan area

A city can be defined by the inhabitants of its
demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period ...

demographic
population, as by
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the cul ...

metropolitan area
, or
labour market Labour economics seeks to understand the functioning and dynamics of the markets Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finlan ...
area. UNICEF defines metropolitan area as follows: In many countries, metropolitan areas are established either with an official organisation or only for statistical purposes. In the United States,
metropolitan statistical area #REDIRECT Metropolitan statistical area#REDIRECT Metropolitan statistical area In the United States, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throu ...
(MSA) is defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for statistical purposes. In the Philippines, metropolitan areas have an official agency, such as
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority ( Filipino: ''Pangasiwaan sa Pagpapaunlad ng Kalakhang Maynila'', MMDA), is an agency of the Republic of the Philippines created embracing the cities of Manila Manila ( , ; fil, Maynila, ), o ...
(MMDA) which manages . Similar agencies exist in Indonesia such as Jabodetabekjur Development Cooperation Agency for
Jakarta metropolitan area The Jakarta metropolitan area, or Greater Jakarta known locally as Jabodetabek (an acronym of ––––), and sometimes extended to Jabodetabekjur (with the acronym extended to include part of ), or Jabodetabekpunjur (further extended to inc ...
.


List

There are 81 cities with a population over 5 million people according to the United Nations 2018 estimates. The UN figures are a mixture of city proper, metropolitan area, and urban area. Several cities such as
Jakarta Jakarta (; ), officially the Special Capital Region of Jakarta ( id, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the lette ...

Jakarta
and
Seoul Seoul (, like ''soul''; ko, 서울 ; ), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppe ...

Seoul
have significantly larger metropolitan/urban population figures which are excluded in the UN data. File:Skyscrapers of Shinjuku 2009 January.jpg,
Tokyo Tokyo (Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is capital of Japan, the capital and most populous Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan ...

Tokyo
has a population of 39 million (urban area) File:Jakarta_Skyline_Part_2.jpg,
Jakarta Jakarta (; ), officially the Special Capital Region of Jakarta ( id, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the lette ...

Jakarta
has a population of 35 million (urban area) File:Chaotianmen Bridge, Nan'an District of Chongqing.jpg,
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingu ...

Chongqing
has a population of 32 million (city proper) File:Skyline at Rajiv Chowk.JPG,
Delhi Delhi (; ''Dillī''; ''Dillī''; ''Dêhlī''), officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a of containing , the capital of India. * * * Straddling the river, but primarily its western or right bank, Delhi ...

Delhi
has a population of 31.87 million (urban area) File:Seoul (South Korea).jpg,
Seoul Seoul (, like ''soul''; ko, 서울 ; ), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppe ...

Seoul
has a population of 25.51 million (metropolitan area) File:South-mumbai-2020.jpg,
Mumbai Mumbai (, ; also known as Bombay — List of renamed Indian cities and states#Maharashtra, the official name until 1995) is the capital city of the Indian States and union territories of India, state of Maharashtra. According to the United ...

Mumbai
has a population of 24 million (metropolitan area) File:Manila downtown - Binondo, Quiapo, Quezon Bridge, Pasig River, Arroceros (close-up) (Manila)(2018-02-07).jpg,
Manila Manila ( , ; fil, Maynila, ), officially the City of Manila ( fil, Lungsod ng Maynila, ), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are ...

Manila
has a population of 23.97 million (urban area)


See also

*
Historical urban community sizes This article lists historical urban community sizes based on the estimated populations of selected human settlements from 7000 BC – AD 1875, organized by archaeological periods. Many of the figures are uncertain, especially in ancient times. ...
*
List of largest cities throughout history This article lists the largest human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena ...
*
List of towns and cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants By country name A-B • List of towns and cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants/country: C, C • List of towns and cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants/country: D-E-F, D-E-F • List of towns and cities with 100,000 or more ...
*
Number of urban areas by country Demographia defines an urban area (urbanized area agglomeration or urban centre) as a continuously built up land mass of urban development that is within a labor market (i.e. metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consistin ...


Notes


References


External links


UNSD Demographics Statistics – City population by sex, city and city type

Nordpil World Database of Large Urban Areas, 1950–2050
{{Cities Cities-related lists of superlatives Lists of cities (worldwide) by population Urban geography Largest things