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A city proper is the geographical area contained within
city limits City limits or city boundaries refer to the defined boundary Boundary or Boundaries may refer to: * Border, in political geography Entertainment *Boundaries (2016 film), ''Boundaries'' (2016 film), a 2016 Canadian film *Boundaries (2018 film), ...
. The term ''proper'' is not exclusive to
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...

cities
; it can describe the geographical area within the boundaries of any given locality. The
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
defines the term as "the single political jurisdiction which contains the historical city centre." City proper is one of the three basic concepts used to define urban areas and populations. The other two are
urban agglomeration 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 ...
, and the
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
. In some countries, city limits that act as the demarcation for the city proper are drawn very wide, in some very narrow. This can be cause for recurring controversy.City of Saint John
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Usage

In its strict sense, city proper is used as a technical term in
demography 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 ...

demography
, the
statistical study A statistical hypothesis is a hypothesis that is testable on the basis of Observable variable, observed data statistical model, modelled as the realised values taken by a collection of random variables. A set of data is modelled as being realised ...
of
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...

human
populations In biology, a population is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represen ...

populations
. Under the title "World Urbanization Prospects", the United Nations issues every two years estimates and projections of the urban and rural populations of all countries of the world. The book defines the population of a city proper as "the population living within the administrative boundaries of a city." The book continues to say that "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."
In
demography 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 ...

demography
, city proper is one of the three basic concepts used to define urban areas and populations. The other two are
urban agglomeration 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 ...
, and the
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
. In addition, there are Census Statistical Areas and permutations thereof. A United Nations University working paper titled "Urban Settlement" reviews the most commonly used data sources, and highlights the difficulties inherent in defining and measuring the size of urban versus rural populations. It says: "The city proper is determined by legal and administrative criteria, and typically comprises only those geographical areas that are part of a legally defined, and often historically-established administrative unit. However, many urban areas have grown far beyond the limits of the city proper, necessitating other measures. An urban agglomeration is the de facto population contained within the contours of a contiguous territory inhabited at urban density levels without regard to administrative boundaries’. Urban agglomerations are thus determined by density: the agglomeration ends where the density of settlement drops below some critical threshold. A still more comprehensive concept is the metropolitan area." In short, there is no "right" manner to define a city or municipality; city proper is just one manner.


Etymology

The term is a combination of "city" in the sense of "an incorporated administrative district", and "proper" in the sense of "strictly limited to a specified thing, place, or idea" or "strictly accurate". In
encyclopedia An encyclopedia (American English), encyclopædia (archaic spelling), or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discipline. ...
s, the term "city proper" is often used as an example to illustrate the meaning of the word "proper" in the sense of "tightly defined". ;Encarta : "narrowly identified, strictly identified and distinguished from something else" stayed in the suburbs, not the city proper ;Merriam-Webster : "strictly limited to a specified thing, place, or idea 'the city proper;" ;Dictionary.com : "in the strict sense of the word (usually used postpositively)":- Is the school within Boston proper or in the suburbs? ;The Free Dictionary : "Being within the strictly limited sense, as of a term designating something: the town proper, excluding the suburbs".


Internationalization

Especially when translated from the English or back, "city proper" sometimes takes on different meanings in different parts of the world. Some languages have no equivalent. The United Nations Demographic Yearbook is compiled using questionnaires dispatched annually to more than 230 national statistical offices. These questionnaires ask for the country-specific definition of urban areas, rural areas and city proper. In its glossary,The United Nations Demographic Yearbook
/ref> the Yearbook defines "city proper" as "a locality defined according to legal/political boundaries and an administratively recognized urban status that is usually characterized by some form of local government". In its data however, the United Nations Demographic Yearbook affords the individual countries considerable leeway over the definition of "city proper". The table titled "Population of capital cities and cities of 100 000 or more inhabitants" provides several country-specific definitions for "city proper" that diverge from the provided definition: ;Japan: "Except for Tokyo, all data refer to shi, a minor division which may include some scattered or rural population as well as an urban centre". In Tokyo, "data for city proper refer to 23 wards (ku) of the old city". ;Australia: "For all regions it is not possible to distinguish between 'city proper' and 'urban agglomeration' areas, therefore data has been included under 'city proper'". ;UK, Thailand, Qatar, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Suriname, Colombia, Nicaragua, Canada: do not report City Proper data; agglomerations only. ;Turkey: provides city proper data for most cities; for some large cities, such as Istanbul or Ankara, only agglomeration data are given. ;Mexico: provides city proper data for most cities, while for others, such as Guadalajara, Mexico City, or Monterey, only agglomeration data are given. ;Poland: A city can be "an administratively separated area entitled to civil (municipal) rights". ;France: "Data for cities proper refer to communes which are centres for urban agglomeration". These definitions are those given for the purpose of the United Nations Demographic Yearbook. One should not assume that these necessarily are the prevailing definitions in their respective countries.


Controversy

In some countries,
city limits City limits or city boundaries refer to the defined boundary Boundary or Boundaries may refer to: * Border, in political geography Entertainment *Boundaries (2016 film), ''Boundaries'' (2016 film), a 2016 Canadian film *Boundaries (2018 film), ...
that act as the demarcation for the city proper are drawn very wide, or very narrow. This can be a recurring cause for controversy. "List of cities by surface area" lists little known cities that are larger than many countries. By area, the city of Altamira, Brazil (population 84,000) is bigger than
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
. The
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...
(population 32,000) covers more area than
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
,
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
, or
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
. While these examples cause limited debate, cities in China are a source of continuing contention. The Chinese city of
Hulunbuir Hulunbuir or Hulun Buir ( mn, , ''Kölün buyir'', Mongolian Cyrillic: Хөлөнбуйр, ''Khölönbuir''; zh, s=呼伦贝尔, ''Hūlúnbèi'ěr'') is a region that is governed as a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.j ...

Hulunbuir
in Inner Mongolia was recognized as the largest city in the world by area until 2018 (see image caption above). According to the "Urban Settlement" working paper, "in 1986, to cope with growing administrative demands at the local level, China essentially reclassified counties as cities in order to allow local city governments to control the surrounding areas". The authors state that "the Chinese city of Chongqing is another case in point. Even though the municipal district of Chongqing has a total population of more than 30 million inhabitants, fewer than 6 million actually live in Chongqing city proper. Depending on which classification is used, Chongqing is sometimes listed as the world's largest city and, in other cases, does not even appear in the top rung of urban population rankings". On the other side of the extreme is . This city has a population of nearly 8 million according to the latest census, which is debated. Official data by the Lagos State estimate the population of Metropolitan Lagos at more than 14 million. However, there is no Metropolitan Government. The Municipality of Lagos was disbanded in 1976 and divided into several
Local Government Areas A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division of a country that a local government is responsible for. The size of an LGA varies by country but it is generally a subdivision of a State (administrative division), state, province, divis ...
. As a result, the most populous city in Africa, and one of the most populous and fastest growing cities in the worldWorld's fastest growing cities and urban areas from 2006 to 2020
by CityMayors.com
can be missing from lists of cities proper. A similar situation exists in Australia, where large cities are divided into much smaller
Local Government Areas A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division of a country that a local government is responsible for. The size of an LGA varies by country but it is generally a subdivision of a State (administrative division), state, province, divis ...
, with the exception of
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
.


See also

*
List of cities by country This is a list of lists on the city, cities of present-day nations, states and dependencies. Countries are listed in bold under their respective pages, whereas territories and dependencies are not. Disputed and unrecognized countries are italicized. ...
*
List of cities proper by population density This is a list of cities worldwide by population density. The population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group or species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, cl ...
*
List of largest cities The 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, ...
*
List of national capitals by population This is a list of national Capital city, capitals, ordered according to population. Capitals of dependent territory, dependent territories and Territorial dispute, disputed territories are marked in ''italics''. The population statistics given refe ...
*
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 ...


References


External links


WHICH ARE THE LARGEST? WHY PUBLISHED POPULATIONS FOR MAJOR WORLD URBAN AREAS VARY SO GREATLY
(Slightly outdated study that became the basis for
List of metropolitan areas by population A ''list'' is any set of items. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname)List or Liste is a European surname. Notable people with the surname include: List * Friedrich List (1789–1846), German economist * Garrett List (194 ...

List of metropolitan areas by population
)
Misconceptions and Complexities in the Study of China’s Cities: Definitions, Statistics, and Implications
(An attempt to clarify China's population statistics, with special emphasis on the ukou system
The urban transformation in the developing world
(Nearly two-thirds of the world's urban population, more than one and a half billion people, live in the cities of the South. Within little more than a generation their number will triple) {{DEFAULTSORT:City Proper City Types of cities Types of administrative division Demographics Censuses