Largest Metropolitan Area

Five of the world's largest metropolitan areas

Tokyo, Japan
Seoul, South Korea
Mexico City, Mexico
New York City, United States
Mumbai, India

One concept which measures the world's largest cities is that of the metropolitan area, which is based on the concept of a labor market area and is typically defined as an employment core (an area with a high density of available jobs) and the surrounding areas that have strong commuting ties to the core. There is currently no generally accepted, globally consistent definition of exactly what constitutes a metropolitan area, thus making comparisons between cities in different countries especially difficult.[1]

One attempt at arriving at a consistently defined metropolitan area concept is the study by Richard Forstall, Richard Greene, and James Pick. The basic principles of their definition involve delineating the urban area as the core, then adding surrounding communities that meet two criteria: (1) Less than 35% of the resident workforce must be engaged in agriculture or fishing; and (2) At least 20% of the working residents commute to the urban core.[1]

Based on their consistently defined metropolitan area criteria, they tabulate a list of the twenty largest metropolitan areas in 2003.[1][2] As population figures are interpreted and presented differently according to different methods of data collection, definitions and sources, these numbers should be viewed as approximate. Data from other sources may be equally valid but differ due to being measured according to different criteria or taken from different census years.


Metropolitan area Country Rank Forstall
2003 est.[2]
Official population Year
Ahmedabad  India 6,352,254[3] 2011
Atlanta  United States 5,457,831[4] 2012
Bangalore  India 8,728,906[3] 2011
Barcelona  Spain 5,357,422[5] 2012
Belo Horizonte  Brazil 5,504,635[6] 2012
Beijing  China 19 12,500,000
Berlin  Germany 5,097,712[5] 2012
Bogotá  Colombia 7,881,156[7] 2005
Buenos Aires  Argentina 17 13,170,000 12,801,364[8] 2010
Cairo  Egypt 16 14,450,000
Chennai  India 8,917,749[3] 2011
Chicago  United States 9,175,000 9,522,434[4] 2012
Dallas–Fort Worth  United States 6,700,991[4] 2012
Delhi  India 8 18,600,000 21,753,486[3] 2011
Dhaka  Bangladesh 12,797,394[9] 2008
Houston  United States 6,177,035[4] 2012
Hong Kong-Shenzhen  China 12 15,800,000
Hyderabad  India 7,749,334[3] 2011
Jakarta  Indonesia 6 18,900,000 23,308,500[10] 2000
Karachi  Pakistan 20 11,800,000
Kolkata  India 14 15,100,000 14,617,882[3] 2011
Lima  Peru 8,482,619[11] 2007
London  United Kingdom 18 12,875,000 13,614,409[5] 2012
Los Angeles  United States 13 15,250,000 13,052,921[4] 2012
Madrid  Spain 6,387,824[5] 2012
Manila  Philippines 11 16,300,000 11,855,975[12] 2010
Mexico City  Mexico 3 20,450,000 20,116,842[13] 2010
Miami  United States 5,762,717[4] 2012
Moscow  Russia 15 15,000,000 17,000,000[14][15]
Mumbai  India 5 19,200,000 20,748,395[3] 2011
Nagoya  Japan 9,046,000[16] 2005
New York  United States 4 19,750,000 19,831,858[4] 2012
Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (Keihanshin)  Japan 9 17,375,000 16,663,000[16] 2005
Paris  France 12,161,542[17] 2009
Philadelphia  United States 6,018,800[4] 2012
Pune  India 5,049,968[3] 2011
Ruhr  Germany 5,135,136[5] 2012
Rio de Janeiro  Brazil 11,846,530[6] 2012
São Paulo  Brazil 7 18,850,000 19,956,590[6] 2012
Santiago  Chile 6,683,852[18] 2012
Shanghai  China 10 16,650,000
Seoul  South Korea 2 20,550,000 25,721,000[19] 2012
Singapore  Singapore 5,312,000[20] 2012
Tokyo  Japan 1 32,450,000 31,714,000[16] 2005
Toronto  Canada 5,583,064[21] 2011
Washington, D.C.  United States 5,860,342[4] 2012

See also

Lists of metropolitan areas by region

Lists of metropolitan areas by country or region


External links

  • World's largest cities and their mayors
  • Geopolis
  • World Gazetteer
  • OECD countries
  • Map of cities
ar:قائمة الأقاليم الأكثر كثافة سكانية في العالم

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