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mjesuele

UN Population Division figures

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Hey all. I'm rather new to these forums, but I would like to address what I see as a lack of proper information on city populations, especially when making comparisons between world cities. When doing my own recreational research on world city populations, I find these figures extremely handy:

http://www.un.org/esa/population/publicati...ion2003_Web.xls

They come from the UN Population Division, and the reason they're so useful is because they use consistent methods of determining what constitutes an urban agglomeration. Anyone familiar with the government statistics provided by the US and Canada, for example, and the incompatibility therein, already knows the importance of this. This data is MUCH more useful for determining urban areas than city proper population, and decidedly more useful on an international scale than each country's own statistics. I'm sure you've all heard stories of Toronto suburbs not included in the Canadian CMSA totals that should be and whatnot, but these figures effectively end all quarrelling.

Anyway, just load it up in your Excel-compatible spreadsheet program of your choice (i prefer openoffice) and sort the city rows by column H in ascending order. Voila! The urban agglomerations of the world, objectively ranked from largest to smallest, with a bottom limit of 1 million inhabitants. Some results are surprising, others aren't.

Some highlights:

-> South Korea's official figures put Seoul's city proper population at just over 10 million. However, UN Population Divion figures place the urban agglomeration population at 9.7 million...perhaps Seoul contains land that does not meet the UN's density requirements for urbanity? I have no idea.

-> On this level playing field, the 2003 figures show Tokyo, at 35 million people, 17 million people larger than the next largest agglomeration: Mexico City, at 18 million.

-> Toronto comes in at 48th worldwide, with 4.9 million people

-> ...that's 700,000 more than Boston, at 4.2

-> New York is 3rd now, but by 2015 the UN predicts it will have been superceded by Delhi, Mumbai and Sao Paulo.

-> As of 2003, 10 agglomerations had populations exceeding 10 million, including the obvious (Tokyo, New York City, Mexico City, Shanghai, Los Angeles, to name a few) and some unexpected (Dhaka, anybody?). Paris, Seoul and Istanbul fell just short of the mark.

Well, it's late and I'm tired, so I'm going to leave it at that, but rest assured that if you're trying to compare the sizes of world cities, the UN Population Division is your friend.

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Welcome to the board, very cool link you got there thanks so much for sharing. I too am one that looks only at metroplex #s when comparing cities (for every purpose EXCEPT taxbase or governmental issues since a city can only govern in its jurisdiction). This link will really get used by myself. I know others on the board as well go back and forth on the metroplex issue.

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I took the liberty to sort them by 2003 population :thumbsup:

Agglomeration Country Population (millions)1975 2003 2015

Tokyo Japan 26.6 35.0 36.2

Mexico City Mexico 10.7 18.7 20.6

New York 3 United States of America 15.9 18.3 19.7

S

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Nice link and welcome to the forum!

PghUSA, NYC should drop one in your list as SaoPaulo is larger. I find it amazing that Mexico City and Sao Paulo have become so large.

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nice link, but what are the criteria? Kansas City is listed under 1.2 or 1.3 million. However our metro is 2 million. And our urbanized area is 1.5 million.

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Nice link and welcome to the forum!

PghUSA, NYC should drop one in your list as SaoPaulo is larger.  I find it amazing that Mexico City and Sao Paulo have become so large.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Based on the 2003 population his list is right.

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Nice link and welcome to the forum!

PghUSA, NYC should drop one in your list as SaoPaulo is larger.  I find it amazing that Mexico City and Sao Paulo have become so large.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good observation, I sorted them in Excel, at first I was confused but I left the 1970s 2000s and the projected #s all up there the sort was for PRESENT day #s so ONLY the middle numbers should be sorted. True a sort on the projections would tell us more of where things are headed but I just decided to keep it simple with todays #s. :thumbsup:

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Why is the San Francisco Bay Area sometimes split up into SF-Oakland and San Jose? And sometimes it's incorporated as one? And besides which way is correct?

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urban addict,

I noticed that too, I'd feel kind of slighted personally if they did that to Pittsburgh, I realize that some would argue tons that Oakland/Berkeley and San Jose are their own little worlds but in my mind you really have to include it in the metroplex as a whole. I would really like maps of the UN stat areas that would go a long way in seeing if there is any holes in their rankings.

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I know the census bureau still seperates Boston and Providence, but I wonder why this UN list would do so.

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