The 10 largest cities in the world are determined by population size within the city proper limits. City proper is defined as the actual city limits of a municipality and does not include any adjacent suburbs, urban settings, settled government properties, or near-by towns that associate itself with the larger city.
Starting from the largest city in the world, the 10 ten cities include:
1. Shanghai, China. Shanghai is recognized as the largest city in the world based on population in the proper city limits. This city is home to 24,150,000 people as of 2014, all within a 6,340.5 square kilometer setting. This equals 3,809 people per square kilometer within the city limits.
2. Karachi, Pakistan. Karachi is the second largest city by population with 23,500,000 calling this city home. These figures are based on the 2014 census. The city proper limits are 3,527 square kilometers with a population density of 6,663 people per square kilometer. This population count does not include any of the surrounding areas outside of the city limit.
3. Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria and in Africa. It is the second fastest growing metropolitan area on the African continent. As of 2014, Lagos has an estimated 21,000,000 people living within the 1,171.28 square kilometer city limits. This gives the city a population density of 18,206 people per square kilometer.
4. Delhi, India. Delhi is the National Capital of India and has the largest population in a city area in the country. With 16,787,941 people living within the 1,483 square kilometers, it is India’s most populated city proper. However, it should be noted that Mumbai has a larger population but not within the city limits. Population density of Delhi is 11,320 people per square kilometer.
5. Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and also has the distinction of being located on both the European and Asian continent. There are 14,377,019 people within the city limits. The city is 5,461 square kilometers with a population density of 2,633 people per square kilometer.
6. Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the largest city within the country. Measuring 2,189 square kilometers this city is home to 13,297,629 residents. This equals 6,075 people per square kilometer.
7. Mumbai, India. Within the city proper limits of 603.4 square kilometers, there are 12,478,447 residents that call Mumbai home. Mumbai is considered one of the most heavily populated cities in the world with a population density of 20,680 people per square kilometer.
8. Moscow, Russia. Moscow is the largest city within Russia and is also the capital city. There are 12,197,596 people living within the 2,510.12 square kilometers of the city limits. Population density for this area is 4,859 people per square kilometer.
9. Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and in South America. Sao Paulo has also been designated as the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere. With a population of 11,895,893 within its 1,521.11 square kilometer city limits, this city has a population density of 7,821 people per square kilometer.
10. Beijing, China. Beijing has the distinction of being the most populous city in the world if you count all the attached municipalities and suburban areas associated with this town. Within the city proper limits, however, Beijing has only 11,716,620 people within the 1,368.3 square kilometer city limits. Beijing has a population density of 8,563 people per square kilometer.
We also offer several lists of the largest cities, that you might be interested.
Largest city in Europe by population
- Istanbul, Turkey – 14,377,018
- Moscow, Russia – 12,197,596
- London, United Kingdom – 8,416,535
- Saint Petersburg, Russia – 5,191,690
- Berlin, Germany – 3,562,166
- Madrid, Spain – 3,165,235
- Rome, Italy – 2,874,038
- Kiev, Ukraine – 2,848,597
- Paris, France – 2,241,346
- Bucharest, Romania – 1,924,425
Largest cities in America by population
- New York, New York – 8,491,079
- Los Angeles, California – 3,928,864
- Chicago, Illinois – 2,722,389
- Houston, Texas – 2,239,558
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 1,560,297
- Phoenix, Arizona – 1,537,058
- San Antonio, Texas – 1,436,697
- San Diego, California – 1,381,069
- Dallas, Texas – 1,281,047
- San Jose, California – 1,015,785
Largest canadian cities by population
- Toronto, Ontario – 2,615,060
- Montreal, Quebec – 1,649,519
- Calgary, Alberta – 1,096,833
- Ottawa, Ontario – 883,391
- Edmonton, Alberta – 812,201
- Mississauga, Ontario – 713,443
- Winnipeg, Manitoba – 663,617
- Vancouver, British Columbia – 603,502
- Brampton, Ontario – 523,911
- Hamilton, Ontario – 519,949
Largest cities in Australia by population
- Sydney, New South Wales – 4,840,628
- Melbourne, Victoria – 4,440,328
- Brisbane, Queensland – 2,274,460
- Perth, Western Australia – 2,021,203
- Adelaide, South Australia – 1,304,631
- Gold Coast-Tweed Heads, Queensland/New South Wales – 614,379
- Newcastle-Maitlan, New South Wales – 430,755
- Canberra-Queanbeyan, Australian Capital Territory/New South Wales – 422,510
- Sunshine Coast, Queensland – 297,380
- Wollongong, New South Wales – 289,236
- Hobart, Tasmania – 219,200