Cities are hubs of human achievement, where cultures converge, innovations flourish, and dreams come alive. People from diverse backgrounds come together to live, work, and thrive in these cities. Some cities stand out not just for their towering skyscrapers and bustling streets but for their sheer sizes. As such, considering the biggest cities in the world is essential.
Do you know or live in any of the world’s biggest cities? Many people live in these megacities today and are unaware of their city’s size. This article fully uncovers the biggest cities in the world in terms of population and large area. But first, let’s see who takes the crown as the world’s biggest city today.
What Is the Biggest City in the World?
Cities keep growing and evolving thanks to modern innovation and technological advancements. Many large cities today are cultural, commerce, and human innovation centers. Before we explore the list of the biggest cities in the world, we should know the biggest of them all. So, What is the biggest city in the world?
Tokyo, Japan, is the uncontested champion as the largest city in the world. It is a unique city with a population exceeding 37.4 million in the Greater Tokyo Area. Tokyo, as an urban agglomeration, includes the central city, its suburbs, and neighboring areas that are closely connected socially and economically. This urban metropolis surpasses New York City, USA, by over fourfold and encompasses a vast area spanning 13,452 square kilometers.
But what makes Tokyo the true urban titan?
- A Hub of Innovation: Tokyo is not just big but incredibly innovative. It is the birthplace of technology giants like Sony and Toyota. This city houses pioneers of technological advancements in the world.
- A Cultural Center: In Tokyo, ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern life. You can visit centuries-old temples and walk into a high-tech gadget store, all within a few blocks of each other.
- Economic Powerhouse: It’s not just the massive population; Tokyo’s economic dominance is unmatched. It is home to the world’s largest corporations and financial institutions. This megacity seats the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which has a total market value of $705 trillion.
Tokyo is also famous for its low crime rate and pristine streets. This makes it one of the safest and cleanest megacities on the planet. You can find serenity in its ancient gardens and excitement in Tokyo’s bustling streets.
Exploring the Biggest Cities in the World by Population
Now that Tokyo is the undisputed champion of the world’s biggest city let’s check out other bigger cities. The world’s largest cities are home to millions of people living and going about their daily lives. Due to an available large labor force, these megacities have become attractive locations for businesses and industries to thrive.
Besides Tokyo, let’s explore five of the biggest cities in the world by population.
1. Shanghai, China: 26.3 Million People
Shanghai is the second biggest city in the world by population, with over 26.3 million people. Shanghai is China’s largest city, which exemplifies the country’s rapid modernization and global influence.
It is a bustling metropolis famous for the Nanjing Road shopping district. This place is an energeticmix of modern malls and traditional Chinese shops. Shanghai’s skyline is dominated by iconic skyscrapers like the Shanghai Tower, showcasing their strong economy. Shanghai is a financial and technological hub, attracting professionals from around the globe.
2. São Paulo, Brazil: 21.8 Million People
São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, is the third biggest city in the world by population, with a populace exceeding 21 million residents. Famous for its economic significance and being a cultural center, São Paulo is the heartbeat of South America.
This major city in Brazil is a melting pot of cultures. It features lively neighborhoods like Liberdade, which pays homage to the Japanese community. It also showcases Vila Madalena, popular for its bohemian atmosphere.
São Paulo’s energetic atmosphere blends well with its economic influence in the region. Crime rate is low and air quality is better, making it a nicer place for its 22 million residents.
3. Mexico City, Mexico: 21.6 Million People
Mexico City, perched high on the Valley of Mexico plateau, is the oldest capital city in the Americas. Its astonishing growth started from 500,000 in 1900 to 9 million in the 1970s. This rapid increase led to the emergence of illegal shantytowns due to housing shortages.
Today, it is a thriving business hub and a tourist hotspot with many museums and culinary delights. Impressively, if Mexico City were a standalone nation, it would rank as South America’s fifth-largest economy.
4. Cairo, Egypt: 20.4 Million People
Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is famous for its historically significant architecture, comprising over 20 million residents. Cairo is home to one of the wonders of the world still standing today – the Pyramid of Giza.
Cairo is no stranger to dust storms and a desert climate. Yet, these harsh weather conditions do not deter visitors from exploring this city rich in history and culture. Cairo deals with heavy traffic due to its population and small land area. However, plans are underway to alleviate the city’s significant traffic issues by introducing two monorail systems.
5. Dhaka, Bangladesh: 20.2 Million People
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is experiencing fast growth and is the sixth most populous city in the world. The cityscape features a thriving publishing industry and soaring high-rise apartments and offices, which partly contributes to its swift growth. Dhaka is the center of Bengali culture, hosting numerous art festivals and religious events. However, its location on the Ganges Delta makes it prone to flooding during monsoon and cyclone seasons.
What Is the Biggest Little City in the World?
While populous cities have the day, let’s remember smaller cities can earn unique titles. The biggest little city in the world is Reno in Nevada, USA. This city has a population of around 250,000, much smaller than the massive cities discussed earlier. Yet, this doesn’t stop Reno from becoming America’s best little city. Here are a few reasons why Reno is the world’s biggest and best little city in America.
- The Birthplace of Modern Gaming: Reno holds a significant place in the history of gambling and entertainment. Long before Las Vegas became the world’s gambling capital, Reno was where people came to try their luck. The city’s historic downtown has casinos, offering a glimpse into the past of American gaming.
- Outdoor Adventures Galore: Beyond the flashing lights of the casinos, Reno is a gateway to outdoor adventures. Situated in the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains, it is a destination for hikers, skiers, and nature enthusiasts. Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the world, is just a short drive away.
- Cultural Hub: Reno is also a blossoming cultural hub with art galleries, theaters, and a rich music scene. The city hosts numerous cultural events and festivals annually, including the renowned Burning Man festival.
What Is the Biggest City in the World by Area
Throughout this article, we’ve recognized the world’s biggest cities by population. However, the answer might come as a surprise regarding the biggest city in the world by area. Hulunbuir, China is the true giant in this category. Located in inner Mongolia, Hulunbuir covers an astounding 263,953 square kilometers (101,000 square miles). To put that into perspective, it is roughly the size of the entire country of Italy.
So, what makes Hulunbuir such an intriguing and expansive city?
- Diverse Landscapes: Hulunbuir is a city of diverse landscapes, ranging from picturesque grasslands and wetlands to forests and deserts. It is home to incredible natural beauty, including the famous Hulun Lake, one of China’s largest freshwater lakes.
- Rich Cultural Heritage: The city is famous for its rich cultural heritage, combining Mongolian, Russian, and Chinese influences. Hulunbuir is a place where traditional nomadic herding meets modern urban life.
- Abundant Wildlife: Hulunbuir boasts a wealth of wildlife, including rare and endangered species like the Siberian tiger and the red-crowned crane. This city is an important region for biodiversity conservation.
- Economic Significance: While it is popular for its natural beauty, Hulunbuir plays a role in China’s agriculture, particularly in producing dairy products. It is a significant contributor to the nation’s economy.
Mapping the Biggest Cities in the World With Mapize
Mapping the biggest cities in the world cities is no small feat, considering their vastness and complexity. This is why you need advanced mapping tools like Mapize. Mapize is a user-friendly mapping platform that empowers you to create interactive maps easily. Here are a few reasons why it is the perfect choice for you:
- Visualization of Population Density: Want to see where the most densely populated areas are within a city? Mapize allows you to overlay population data onto maps, providing insights into the population densities in these massive cities.
- Planning Efficient Routes: Whether you’re a tourist looking to explore the city or optimize transportation, Mapize helps you plan efficient routes. It considers traffic conditions, public transportation networks, and more.
- Integrating Multiple Data: Mapize seamlessly integrates a vast array of data sources. You can overlay multiple data layers onto your maps for a comprehensive view of these massive cities.
- Easy Collaboration: Whether working on a research project or sharing travel tips with fellow explorers, Mapize allows seamless collaboration. You can share your maps with colleagues and work together in real-time.
Mapping the world’s largest cities is a breeze with Mapize. Start by signing up for a Mapize account. Don’t worry; you can try it out for free. Select the data layers you want to include on your map. You can choose from various options, from demographics to points of interest.
After this, customize your map by adding colors, labels, and markers to make it visually engaging. Once your map is ready, you can explore the urban landscapes of the biggest cities in the world. Unlock the potential of Mapize to navigate, understand, and appreciate the world’s largest cities in a whole new way. Sign up with Mapize today and create your first map for free.