Want to know which is the most populous city in the world? Here’s a list of the most populated cities in the world 2019. 

How to measure the largest city in the world by the population can vary, and the list can look different depending on if you measure the metro area, urban area or city proper. Also, some countries, like China measure their city limits differently than the majority. 

Which is the most populated city in the world?

The most populous city in the world is Tokyo with a total population of 38 million people. 

Most populated city in the world

Photo: 2p2play / Shutterstock.com

The largest cities in the world by population

How many of these do you know? Test your knowledge, and see how many of the most populous cities you know before reading this list!

10. New York, USA

In New York City, there are about 9-10 million people, but the New York City Metro area is home to about 18,6 million people. The city also goes by the names NYC or “The Big Apple” and is also one of the most visited cities in the world. 

new york skyline

9. Cairo, Egypt

One of the world’s megacities is without a doubt the capital of Egypt – Cairo, which has upwards 20 million residents. The city is famous worldwide for the Giza Pyramids, which is located about 45 minutes from Cairo. 

The city suffers from overpopulation, and a vast majority of the city’s residents live in poverty. There are ongoing projects though that do their best to improve the living standard, however, the population continues to grow rapidly, so there aren’t enough resources to support everyone. 

cairo crowded city

Photo: leshiy985 / Shutterstock.com

8. Osaka, Japan

Osaka is famous for being a culinary destination, but it’s also a huge city that is home to more than 20,3 million people, which makes it one of the largest cities in the world by population.

This megacity is quite easy to get around by public transport, and it’s a well-developed city with an interesting mix of modern and ancient. Osaka is one of my personal favorite cities, and I can highly recommend you to visit.

Osaka - largest cities in the world by population

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Mexico City, Mexico

The seventh-largest city in the world by population is the capital of Mexico with more than 21.2 million residents, which also makes it the most populous city in North America. 

Mexico City has had a bad reputation for a long period of time, but in recent years, there have been large cleanups and the crime rate is being reduced, and more people are moving to the city. 

The biggest con of living in Mexico City is without a doubt the traffic, but on the plus side, there are more than 40 000 restaurants to enjoy a culinary experience. 

Mexico city

6. Beijing, China

The capital of China is one of the most populated cities in the world with more than 21.2 million people living in the metro area. In Beijing, you can visit the forbidden city, the Tiananmen square, which is the world’s largest palace and square.

China is the most populated country in the world, so it might not come as a surprise that Beijing fits into this list. 

Bejiing most populous cities in the world

Photo: testing / Shutterstock.com

5. São Paulo, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is perhaps the most famous city in Brazil, but São Paulo is the most populous city with 21.3 million people living there. São Paulo is the most populated city in South America, and lots of students come here to study at one of the many universities. 

In addition to studying, São Paulo is also famous for its culture, nightlife, and delicious food. 

sao paulo

4. Mumbai, India

Mumbai, also known as Bombay is another megacity with more than 21.4 million people, which makes it the 4th most populous city in the world! 

This Indian coastal city is famous for being one of the most affordable major cities to live in, and the low costs of living along with the improved standard are attracting more and more people to come to Mumbai. 

There is also no signs of stagnation in the population growth, so it’s quite likely that Mumbai will become even more populated in the future.

mumbai indien

3. Shanghai, China

Shanghai is famous for being the economic center of China and has more than 24.5 million people living within its metro area. Shanghai has everything you can imagine, including the world’s longest shopping street. 

The city is sometimes referred to as the Eastern version of New York, but in the future, the comparison might be the other way around since Shanghai becomes more and more attractive and developed.

shanghai megastäder

2. Delhi, India

Delhi has been named the dirtiest city in the world and for some time, schools and companies had to close down for several days when the smog was at its worst. It is safe to say that the infrastructure of Delhi doesn’t coup with the explosive population growth that the city has seen for the last decades. 

For being the second most populated city in the world, Delhi is highly undeveloped, even though it is slowly getting modernized and improve the living standard for its residents. 

Some experts also estimate that it will become the largest city in the world by population within the near future. Currently, there are 26.5 million people living in the metro area, and it’s the world’s fastest-growing megacity. 

Delhi most populated cities in the world

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the largest city in the world according to most experts, even though a part of the metro area includes Yokohama as well. But considering the fact that many of the people living in Yokohama are commuting to and from Tokyo every day, it’s more or less like any other metro line in the city, so the two cities are more or less combined as one. 

Tokyo has 38.1 million residents, and it will be a while before another city takes over the position as the most populous city in the world.

tokyo

The 25 Most Populated cities in the world (metro area)

Rank  City Country Population (Metropolitan Area)
1 Tokyo Japan 38,001,000
2 Delhi India 25,703,168
3 Shanghai China 23,740,778
4 Sao Paulo Brazil 21,066,245
5 Mumbai India 21,042,538
6 Mexico City  Mexico 20,998,543
7 Beijing China 20,383,994
8 Osaka  Japan 20,237,645
9 Cairo  Egypt 18,771,769
10 New York United States 18,593,220
11 Dhaka Bangladesh 17,598,228
12 Karachi Pakistan 16,617,644
13 Buenos Aires Argentina 15,180,176
14 Kolkata India 14,864,919
15 Istanbul Turkey 14,163,989
16 Chongqing China 13,331,579
17 Lagos Nigeria 13,122,829
18 Manila Philippines 12,946,263
19 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 12,902,306
20 Guangzhou China 12,458,130
21 Los Angeles United States 12,309,530
22 Moscow  Russia 12,165,704
23 Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo 11,586,914
24 Tianjin China 11,210,329
25 Paris France 10,843,285

Most populous cities in Europe

  • London, UK
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Madrid, Spain

Moscow and Istanbul could also count as the largest cities in Europe by population, but Russia is considered to be mostly located within Asia, although Moscow is in fact situated on the European continent.

Istanbul has a major share of its population living on the “European” side of the city, but a large chunk of the city is also located on the Asian continent. 

Most populous cities in Africa

  • Kairo, Egypt
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Most populous cities in South America

  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Lima, Peru
  • Bogota, Colombia

More about the most populated cities in the world

According to UN, it is estimated that some of the most populous cities in the world will have an increase of more than 10 million residents each until the year 2030. 

The cities that are increasing their population growth the most are all located in Africa and Asia. That’s why they have created Agenda 2030, which aims to make the cities safer and better as well as more sustainable to live in. 

In modern society, the majority of the populations worldwide will leave the countryside and move to the big cities because of job opportunities. More than 50% of the world population is now living in cities, instead of rural towns and villages across the globe. 

This number will continue to rise as education, medical services and employment are better and more widely available in metro areas and other cities compared to the countryside.

most populous cities in the world

Photo: sladkozaponi / Shutterstock.com


Did you know about the most populated cities in the world? Leave a comment below!