List of metropolitan areas by population
One concept which measures the world's largest cities
World's largest cities
This article ranks the world's largest cities, in population or land area, using a variety of ranking methods.-Ambiguities in measuring the "size" of a city:...

 is that of the metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

, 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.

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.

Based on their consistently defined metropolitan area criteria, they tabulate a list of the twenty largest metropolitan areas in 2003. 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.

RankMetropolitan areaCountryPopulationArea (km2)Population Density (People/km2)
1 Tokyo
Greater Tokyo Area
The Greater Tokyo Area is a large metropolitan area in Kantō region, Japan, consisting of most of the prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Tokyo . In Japanese, it is referred to by various terms, including the , , and others....

32,450,000 8,014 4,049
2 Seoul
Seoul National Capital Area
The Seoul National Capital Area is a region located in the north-west of South Korea. It is generally referred to as Sudogwon in Korean, and contains three different administrative districts; Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do....

20,550,000 5,076 4,048
3 Mexico City
Greater Mexico City
Greater Mexico City refers to the conurbation around Mexico City, officially called Mexico City Metropolitan Area , constituted by the Federal District—itself composed of 16 boroughs—and 41 adjacent municipalities of the states of Mexico and Hidalgo...

20,450,000 7,346 2,784
4 New York
New York metropolitan area
The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, is the region that composes of New York City and the surrounding region...

19,750,000 17,884 1,104
5 Mumbai
Mumbai metropolitan area
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region /Mumbai Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area consisting of the metropolis of Mumbai and its satellite towns. Developing over a period of about 20 years, it consists of seven municipal corporations and fifteen smaller municipal councils...

19,200,000 2,350 8,170
6 Jakarta
Jabotabek is an officially recognized definition and term given to the urban region surrounding Jakarta, Indonesia in 2000, officially including five municipalities and three regencies...

18,900,000 5,100 3,706
7 São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

18,850,000 8,479 2,223
8 Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

18,600,000 3,182 5,845
9 Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto
is a Japanese metropolitan region encompassing the metropolitan areas of the cities of Osaka in Osaka prefecture, Kobe in Hyōgo Prefecture, and Kyoto in Kyoto prefecture. The entire region has a population of 18,644,000 over an area of 11,170 km²...

17,375,000 6,930 2,507
10 Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

16,650,000 5,177 3,216
11 Manila
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

16,300,000 2,521 6,466
12 Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

Shenzhen is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones...

15,800,000 3,051 5,179
13 Los Angeles
Greater Los Angeles Area
The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland, is a term used for the Combined Statistical Area sprawled over five counties in the southern part of California, namely Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County...

15,250,000 10,780 1,415
14 Kolkata
Kolkata metropolitan area
Kolkata Metropolitan Area is the urban agglomeration of the city of Kolkata, West Bengal, India.-Constituents:The KMA consists of :...

15,100,000 1,785 8,459
15 Moscow
Moscow metropolitan area
Moscow metropolitan area or Moscow capital region is the largest metropolitan area in Russia and Europe, with population of about 15 million people.- Structure of Moscow metropolitan area :...

15,000,000 14,925 1,005
16 Cairo
Greater Cairo
Greater Cairo is the largest metropolitan area in Egypt and the third largest urban area in the Islamic World after Jakarta and Greater Istanbul. It is the largest urban area in Africa. It is the world's 16th largest metropolitan area, consisting of governorates Cairo, Giza and Shubra El Khiema of...

14,450,000 1,600 9,031
17 Buenos Aires 13,170,000 10,888 1,210
18 London
London commuter belt
The London commuter belt is the metropolitan area surrounding London, England from which it is practical to commute to work in the capital. It is alternatively known as the Greater South East, the London metropolitan area or the Southeast metropolitan area...

12,875,000 11,391 1,130
19 Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

12,500,000 6,562 1,905
20 Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

11,800,000 1,100 10,727

See also

  • World's largest cities
    World's largest cities
    This article ranks the world's largest cities, in population or land area, using a variety of ranking methods.-Ambiguities in measuring the "size" of a city:...

  • World's largest urban agglomerations
    World's largest urban agglomerations
    This is a list of the 100 largest urban agglomerations in the world according to the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects report . The term “urban agglomeration” refers to the population contained within the contours of a contiguous territory inhabited at urban density levels without regard...


Lists of metropolitan areas by region

Lists of metropolitan areas by country or region

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China (including Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

     and Macau
    Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

  • European Union

  • France
  • Germany
    Metropolitan regions in Germany
    The Metropolitan regions in Germany are eleven densely populated areas in the Federal Republic of Germany. They comprise the major German cities and their surrounding catchment areas and form the political, commercial and cultural centers of the country...

  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
    Metropolitan regions of Norway
    There are 16 statistical metropolitan areas in Norway, of which six count as "Greater City Regions" and ten as "City Regions" . The classification comes from Storbymeldingen from the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development...

  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Poland
    Metropolitan areas in Poland
    This is a list of metropolitan areas in Poland.-See Also:* List of metropolitan areas in Europe* Largest metropolitan areas in the Nordic countries* List of metropolitan areas in Sweden- External links :*...

  • Russia
  • Romania
    Metropolitan areas in Romania
    There are 10 metropolitan areas in Romania that have been constituted or are planned to be constituted in the near future.-Legislative status:The current legislation in Romania regulates the status of the 265 cities according to their population and regional importance:* Rank 0 - Bucharest, the...

  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
    Metropolitan Areas of Sweden
    Sweden has three Metropolitan Areas consisting of the areas surrounding the three largest cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. The statistics is retrieved from Statistics Sweden and the statistics released September 30 2011...

  • Switzerland

External links

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