Bangkok at night

Mega cities

They are the largest cities in the world, have several million people and an amazing cultural mixture within their broad levels of population. Goverments and politics aren't comparable with the ones of a small town somewhere in the meadowy countryside. But duties and responsibilities are also immense: Infrastructure and environment are on top of the problem's list of each mega city.

The Asian continent is the obvious leader of our ranking of worldwide mega cities. But Asia also provides the largest urban agglomerations worldwide, which consist of a bundle of political separated cities - such as Tokio-Yokohama, New York, Manila or Delhi.

The biggest US-city is New York City and comes 25th in the worldwide ranking.

Our comparison lists the populations of the actual cities (no summarized metropolitan areas or districts).

See also our ranking of the world's capital cities.

Definition: Megacity

A megacity is, according to the definition of the United Nations, a city with more than 10 million inhabitants. Elsewhere, you can find thresholds between 5 and 8 million. To make matters worse, often a city is confused with a metropolitan area. For example, the area known as "Metro Manila" has about 13 million inhabitants and is often referred to as a megacity. But the city of Manila itself has less than 2 million inhabitants.

Our ranking lists the population of the actual cities with more than 5 million inhabitants. So neither combined metropolitan regions, nor higher-level government districts.

RankMega cityCountryRegionPopulation
1ShanghaiChinaEast Asia24,152,700
2BeijingChinaEast Asia21,700,000
3IstanbulTurkeyWestern Asia15,029,200
4DhakaBangladeshSouth Asia14,543,100
5LagosNigeriaWestern Africa14,234,000
6MoscowRussiaEastern Europe13,197,600
7KarachiPakistanSouth Asia13,052,000
8TianjinChinaEast Asia12,784,000
9MumbaiIndiaSouth Asia12,442,400
10São PauloBrazilSouth America12,038,200
11ShenzhenChinaEast Asia11,908,400
12DelhiIndiaSouth Asia11,034,600
13LimaPeruSouth America10,852,200
14GuangzhouChinaEast Asia10,641,400
15SeoulSouth KoreaEast Asia10,290,000
16KinshasaDemocratic Republic of the CongoCentral Africa10,125,000
17LahorePakistanSouth Asia10,052,000
18JakartaIndonesiaSoutheast Asia10,042,200
19TokyoJapanEast Asia9,508,800
20CairoEgyptNorthern Africa9,500,000
21Mexico CityMexicoCentral America8,918,700
22TehranIranSouth Asia8,846,800
23BaghdadIraqWestern Asia8,765,000
24LondonUnited KingdomBritish Isles8,673,700
25New York CityUnited StatesNorth America8,537,700
26BangaloreIndiaSouth Asia8,443,700
27Ho Chi Minh CityVietnamSoutheast Asia8,247,800
28NanjingChinaEast Asia8,230,000
29ChongqingChinaEast Asia8,165,500
30BogotáColombiaSouth America8,080,700
31WuhanChinaEast Asia7,541,500
32Xi’anChinaEast Asia7,391,000
33DongguanChinaEast Asia7,271,300
34ChennaiIndiaSouth Asia7,088,000
35HyderabadIndiaSouth Asia6,810,000
36FoshanChinaEast Asia6,771,900
37RiyadhSaudi ArabiaWestern Asia6,506,700
38Rio de JaneiroBrazilSouth America6,453,700
39ShenyangChinaEast Asia5,718,200
40BangkokThailandSoutheast Asia5,686,600
41SingaporeSingaporeSoutheast Asia5,607,300
42AhmedabadIndiaSouth Asia5,570,600
43IbadanNigeriaWestern Africa5,509,100
44AnkaraTurkeyWestern Asia5,445,000
45Saint PetersburgRussiaEastern Europe5,323,300
46HangzhouChinaEast Asia5,162,100
47CasablancaMoroccoNorthern Africa5,117,800

Megacities in China

The statistics above shows the official numbers. Especially in China, these may seem a little unfair, as large cities are disproportionately "constructed" here. Normally cities grow and shrink through natural urbanization. But often - especially in China - political decisions are used to combine one or more existing cities that used to coexist separately. This leads to a common municipal law structure with unified administration. In a political point of view this indeed is a single city.

For example, the Chinese government is currently planning to assemble the largest megacity Shanghai with 8 surrounding cities and to create the planned city of Jing-Jin-Ji with 130 million inhabitants. Another super city with a planned population of 40 million people is planned to be built around 2030 at the Pearl River Delta north of Hong Kong around the present cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou. This corresponds to the population of the whole state of California.

According to current plans, there will be over 200 planned cities with a population of more than 1 million people throughout the country by 2025. 8 of them with more than 10 million.

Data as CSV file

A list of all cities with more than 1 million inhabitants can also be obtained as a CSV file in the download area.