Special Report

50 Largest Cities in the World

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45. Santiago, Chile
> City population: 6,158,000
> Country population: 17,925,262
> Pct. of Chile’s population: 34.4%

While the population of this massive South American capital accounts for about a third of Chile’s total population, Santiago’s city center holds only about 200,000 residents. Together with the surrounding neighborhoods and near suburbs, however, the city has a population density of almost 25,000 people per square mile.

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44. Qingdao, China
> City population: 6,188,000
> Country population: 1,384,688,986
> Pct. of China’s population: 0.4%

Qingdao is known as “China’s Sailing City” for having hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics nautical competitions and a number of subsequent boat racing events. With its comparatively high standard of living and vibrant export economy, the city attracts many newcomers. Qingdao is the headquarters of the consumer electronics and home appliance group Haier and of Tsingtao Brewery, among other major companies.

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43. Shenyang, China
> City population: 6,255,000
> Country population: 1,384,688,986
> Pct. of China’s population: 0.5%

Though it’s a major industrial city, Shenyang was identified in a 2016 United Nations development report as China’s fourth most sustainably developed city. Shenyang is located near substantial coal and mineral deposits. It is also home to major aerospace and automotive concerns. The city’s population has doubled since 1970, and is projected to reach about 8 million by 2030.

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42. Zhengzhou, China
> City population: 6,406,000
> Country population: 1,384,688,986
> Pct. of China’s population: 0.5%

This major manufacturing center — home to the controversial Foxconn plant where 80% of the world’s iPhones are made — is also a major producer of frozen foods, automobiles, and heavy machinery. Zhengzhou’s population actually declined after 2010, and it was termed China’s largest “ghost city” for its many unoccupied buildings. The city began rebounding in 2012 and is now considered an emerging mega-city.

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41. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
> City population: 6,454,000
> Country population: 208,846,892
> Pct. of Brazil’s population: 3.1%

Brazil’s second-largest city, Rio, which hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics, is a popular tourist destination with a fast-growing multi-ethnic population. The city lost its long-held position as the country’s capital in 1960 (in favor of the newly built city of Brasilia), but its population grew by 115.3% over the next 40 years and, since Rio is the country’s major tourism destination and the center of its petroleum industry, it continues to increase.