Friday, August 30, 2019

The World's MegaCities

The biggest city in the world is Tokyo, with a population of  38 million. Or it could be Guandong, with a population of 40.5 million. It all depends on which list of the world's largest megacities that you refer to.

Earlier today I linked to a number of maps which allow you to explore population density around the world. However the cities with the most dense populations are not necessarily the cities with the largest populations. The European Commission's Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) provides spatial information on the physical size of human settlements and on the population sizes of those settlements. The GHSL Urban Centres Database maps 32 megacities - cities with a population of over 10 million.

On the interactive map if you select to view the 'Urban Centre Database' and then 'Visualization' from the two drop-down menus you can view the most populated cities in the world. Beneath the map you can select to filter the cities shown by the size of their population. According to the map there are 32 megacities around the world with a population over 10 million. In the USA this includes Los Angeles (14,281,720) and New York (15,950,674). However LA and New York aren't the biggest cities in North America. That honor goes to Mexico City (19,559,564).

One problem with determining the population size of cities is how you define their borders. Which is probably why there is a large discrepancy between the populations sizes of cities given in the GHSL and Wikipedia's list of Megacities. Wikipedia lists Tokyo as the biggest megacity in the world with a population of 38,140,000. The GHSL says Tokyo has a population of 33,028,731, quite a long way behind the 40,589,878 population that the GHSL says lives in Guandong. Wikipedia list Guandong as their sixth largest city, with a population of 25,000,000.

The top 5 megacities with the largest populations according to Wikipedia are:
  1. Tokyo (38,140,000)
  2. Shanghai (34,000,000)
  3. Jakarta (31,500,000)
  4. Delhi (27,200,000)
  5. Seoul (25,600,000)
The UN has a completely different list. Their top 5 (according to this MSN list) is:

  1. Tokyo (37,500,000)
  2. Delhi (28,500,000)
  3. Shanghai (25,600,000)
  4. São Paulo (21,700,000)
  5. Mexico City (21,600,000)

1 comment:

AuggieEast said...

Guangdong Province actually has over 100 million people, but nobody is claiming that all of the province is one urban area. Rather it's the Pearl River Delta Metropolitan Region that is growing into a single urban area with close to 60 million people. There are definitely more people in the PRD than Tokyo. The question has been whether it qualifies as a single urban area, but with the new Hong Kong-Macau Bridge, another bridge upriver currently under construction, new high speed rail between Hong Kong & Shenzhen & Guangzhou, and other new metro lines, bridges, and highways tying the region together, if it doesn't qualify now, it will soon.