Special Report

30 Most Crowded Cities in the World


To identify the most crowded cities in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed population and land area estimates for the city proper with data from the United Nations’ 2015 Demographic Yearbook. The UN defines the city proper as a locality with legally fixed boundaries and an administratively recognized urban status. Because the definition of city boundaries varies from country to country, the UN also provides data for the urban agglomeration of a city, a measure of population and land area that includes the city or town proper as well as the suburban fringe or densely populated territories adjacent to the city boundaries. Because city centers tend to be the most crowded parts of an urban area, the population and land area measures for the city proper were used in the calculation of density. Because new residents often move to the outlying suburbs when migrating to a new city, the urban agglomeration definition of a city boundaries were used in the calculation of population change between 2005 and 2015. Data on the population by urban agglomerations came from the UN’s World Cities 2016 report.

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