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China is the world's most populous country. According to the Demographic research group in 2017, there are 102 Chinese cities with over 1 million people in the "urban area", as defined by the group's methodology.


Definition and classification

According to the
administrative divisions of China Due to China's large population and geographical area, the administrative divisions of China have consisted of several levels since ancient era. The constitution of China provides for three ''de jure'' levels of government. Currently, however, ...
, there are three levels of cities, namely direct-administered municipalities (),
prefecture-level cities A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning">Yangxin County, Hubei">Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. ...
(), and
county-level cities A county-level municipality (), county-level city or county city, formerly known as prefecture-controlled city (1949–1970: ; 1970–1983: ), is a county-level administrative division of the People's Republic of China. County-level ...
(). The
Special Administrative Regions The special administrative regions (SAR) are one type of provincial-level administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China directly under Central People's Government. As a region, they possess the highest degree of autonomy in China ...
() of
Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and special administrative region of the People's Republic of China on the eastern Pearl River Delta o ...
and
Macau Macau (; , ; ), also spelled Macao and officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Chinese: 中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區), is a city and special administrative region of the People's Republ ...
and the areas controlled by the
Republic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main island of Ta ...
are not included in this administrative classification. Municipalities and prefecture-level cities are not each a "city" in the strictest sense of the term, but instead an administrative unit comprising, typically, both an urban core (''a city in the strict sense'') and surrounding
rural A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000.">South_Karelia.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Lappeenranta, South Karelia">Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In gen ...

rural
or less-urbanized areas usually many times the size of the central, built-up core. Prefecture-level cities nearly always contain multiple
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
(),
county-level cities A county-level municipality (), county-level city or county city, formerly known as prefecture-controlled city (1949–1970: ; 1970–1983: ), is a county-level administrative division of the People's Republic of China. County-level ...
, and other such sub-divisions. To distinguish a prefecture-level city from its actual urban area (''city in the strict sense''), the term "" (''shì qū''; "urban area") is used. However, even this term often encompasses large suburban regions often greater than , sometimes only the urban core whereas the agglomeration overtake the city limits. Thus, the "urban core" would be roughly comparable to the American term "city limit", the "shì qū", or "urban area", would be roughly comparable to "metropolitan area", and the municipality is a political designation defining regions under control of a municipal government, which has no comparable designation.


List of major cities by population

The list contains all the cities with the administrative designation of "
National Central City National Central Cities () are a group of cities in China charged with leading, developing, and performing tasks in politics, economics, and culture. The concept was proposed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People's ...
" () and "
Sub-Provincial City A sub-provincial division () (or deputy-provincial divisions) in China is like a prefecture-level city that is governed by a province, but is administered independently in regard to economy and law. Sub-provincial divisions, similar to prefectural ...
" () – including five " Municipalities with Independent Planning Status" () and ten large " Provincial Capital Cities" (), as well as some large "
Special Economic Zones A special economic zone is an area in which the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country. SEZs are located within a country's national borders, and their aims include increased trade balance, employment, increased inve ...
" (), " Open Coastal Cities" () and "
Prefecture-Level Cities A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning">Yangxin County, Hubei">Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. ...
" ().


Urban population

N.B.: The source did not include
Suzhou Suzhou (; , Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ), alternately romanized as Soochow, is a major city in southeastern Jiangsu Province of East China, its city center being west of that of Shanghai – and outer suburbs of the two global hubs ...
on the list. With 4,242,500 residents, Suzhou is the second largest city in
Jiangsu Province Jiangsu (; formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal province of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, technology, and tourism, with its capital in Nanjing. Jiangsu is the third ...
, behind only
Nanjing Nanjing ( ), formerly romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu province of the People's Republic of China and the second largest city in the East China region. With 11 districts, Nanjing, which is located in southwestern Jiangsu, has an ...
, the
capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a department, country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the ...
. If included, Suzhou could be 25th on the list, just ahead of
Hefei Hefei (, ) is the capital and largest city of Anhui Province, People's Republic of China. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, and cultural center of Anhui. Its population was 7,965,300 as of 2017 sampling and its built-up (''o ...
, the capital city of
Anhui Province Anhui (; formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocked province of the People's Republic of China, part of the East China region. Its provincial capital and largest city is Hefei. The province is located across the basins of the Yangtze River and ...
.


Locations of the 50 most populous cities in Mainland China


See also

*
List of capitals in China The scope of this list is limited to capital cities of first-level administrative divisions such as provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, and special administrative regions, also including sub-provincial cities which are governed by provin ...
*
List of cities in China According to the administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China including Hong Kong and Macau, there are three levels of cities, namely provincial-level (consists of municipalities and SARs), prefecture-level cities, and county-lev ...
* List of largest cities in the world *
List of urban areas in China 330px, right This list of the twenty largest urban areas in China by population in 2010 uses data compiled by the OECD based on its methodology to determine economically linked areas of high population density in China it calls "functional urban ar ...
*
List of villages in China This is a list of villages in China. A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. In China, an administrative village () is a ...


References


External links


National Bureau of Statistics of China official website


(unofficial) {{DEFAULTSORT:Cities in China by population
Population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group or species who live in a particular geographical area and are capable of interbreeding. The area of a sexual population is the area where inter-breeding is possible bet ...
Metropolitan areas of China, x Lists of cities by population, China Lists of cities in Asia, China, Population Lists of cities by demography, China Populated places in China