From New Geography, April 16:
Tokyo-Yokohama continues to be the largest city in the world, with nearly 38 million residents, according to the just released Demographia World Urban Areas (12th Annual Edition).Demographia World Urban Areas (Built-Up Urban Areas or Urban Agglomerations) provides annual estimates of the population, urban land area and urban population density of all identified built-up urban areas in the world. This year's edition includes 1,022 large urban areas (with 500,000 or more residents), with a total population of 2.12 billion, representing 53 percent of the world urban population.
Demographia World Urban Areas uses base population figures, derived from official census and estimates data, to develop basic year population estimates within the confines of built-up urban areas. These figures are then adjusted to account for population change forecasts, principally from the United Nations or national statistics bureaus for a 2016 estimate.
Built-up urban areas are continuously built-up development that excludes rural lands. Built-Up urban areas are the city in its physical form, as opposed to metropolitan areas, which are the city in its economic or functional form. Metropolitan areas include rural areas and secondary built-up urban areas that are outside the primary built-up urban area. These concepts are illustrated in Figure 1, which uses the Paris built-up urban area (unité urbaine) and metropolitan area ("aire urbaine") as an example.
The Largest Cities
The world’s eight largest cities are located in Asia. Tokyo-Yokohama became the largest urban area, according to the United Nations, in 1955, more than 60 years ago. However, Japan’s capital may not old onto the top position for long. With Japan now losing population, it seems likely that Tokyo-Yokohama --- which has been about the only place in Japan gaining population --- will begin shrinking in the next decade, while facing a strong challenge from Jakarta.
Jakarta has grown very quickly, and now stands at a population of 31.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, Jakarta added more than 7,000,000 residents, one of the largest population gains of any city in history. Should this growth continue, and the population of Tokyo-Yokohama begin to decline, the largest city in the world could be Jakarta by 2030. Jakarta is also the largest city in size in the southern hemisphere, stretching beyond its city limits, into the regencies of Tangerang, Bogor, Bekasi and Karawang to the large independent cities of Tangerang, South Tangerang, Depok, Bekasi and Bogor.
Jakarta has closed the gap to about 6.4 million. This may seem like a lot, but this is the closest a number two urban area has been since 1965, when New York trailed Tokyo-Yokohama by 5.1 million. The gap between number one and number two New York amounted to 16.5 million in 1995.
Delhi, India’s capital, is not only the third largest city in the world, but is also the largest in India (25.7 million). That may be surprising, since Mumbai (Bombay) was the largest in India for decades and had been widely touted to become the world’s largest city. Delhi spreads from the National Capital Territory of Delhi into the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. These areas include the modern edge city technology hubs of Gargaon and Noida (Figure 2)....MORE