Special Report

50 Largest Cities in the World

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30. Bangalore, India
> City population: 8,444,000
> Country population: 1,296,834,042
> Pct. of India’s population: 0.7%

Bangalore, or Bengaluru, the so-called Silicon Valley of India, has seen its population density increase 47% in the past decade. Most of the new residents come from other parts of the country, drawn by job opportunities. Today, it is India’s third most populous city.

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29. Nanjing, China
> City population: 8,460,000
> Country population: 1,384,688,986
> Pct. of China’s population: 0.6%

A major commercial, agricultural, and industrial center and Yangtze River port, Nanjing has been the capital of China twice in the nation’s history and today is the capital of Jiangsu province. The city’s population has more than quadrupled since the 1980s.

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28. New York City, USA
> City population: 8,550,000
> Country population: 329,256,465
> Pct. of United States’s population: 2.6%

New York has been the largest American city ever since the first U.S. census in 1790. Today, it is twice the size of the second largest metropolis, Los Angeles. New York’s population grew from 80,000 to 3.4 million in the course of the 19th century. Growth slowed after 1950, and a mass exodus from New York to the suburbs in the 1970s, said to have been driven by economic problems and a high crime rate, reduced the population by almost a million. The population grew again in the 1990s, before tapering off to a current growth rate of about 0.08%. The city has by far the highest population density in the country — Manhattan alone contains about 66,000 people per square mile — and boasts a longer life expectancy than America as a whole.

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27. London, UK
> City population: 8,674,000
> Country population: 65,105,246
> Pct. of United Kingdom’s population: 13.3%

London — not to be confused with the City of London, which is the British capital’s financial district and historic heart — is the U.K.’s largest municipality by far. (The second largest, Birmingham, has just over a million residents.) London is also the largest city in the European Union, at least until next year, and the third largest in Europe, after Istanbul and Moscow. As early as the second century A.D., under Roman rule, the city had a population of about 60,000, and it hit the million-person mark in the early 19th century. After a decline in population following World War II, the city began growing again in the 1980s. It is estimated that over a third of London’s residents today were born outside the U.K.

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26. Xi’an, China
> City population: 8,705,000
> Country population: 1,384,688,986
> Pct. of China’s population: 0.6%

Home of the famous Qin Dynasty terracotta warriors and eastern terminus of the legendary Silk Road, Xi’an is now a major business and industrial center, and the focal point of China’s economic Western Development Program. The city has grown dramatically in size since 2000, when it had a population of less than 4 million, thanks largely to new investment and employment opportunities.