World Facts

Largest Cities In Europe

Moscow remain the most populous urban area on the European continent in terms of its respective metro area populations. Many other national capitals are also large cities.

Europe has a relatively slow growing population compared to all of the other inhabited continents of the world. As of 2010, the population of the continent was found to be 740 million, as per the estimates released by the United Nations. This figure represented only 11% of the world's population, and it is expected that by 2050, the European population's relative proportion will further fall to represent only 7% of the world population. A rapidly declining birth rate contributes to this dramatic decline in the continent’s population. However, despite the fall in the continent of Europe's population, a large influx of immigrants from the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world, many in search of a better life in these European countries, are largely responsible for the booming populations that nonetheless do exist in the large metropolitan cities on the continent. If we observe the data on the most populous cities in Europe, we find that four cities of Europe make it across the 10 million-strong population mark, while 11 cities have a population of more than 3 million. This data clearly indicates that, despite the slow growth rate of the continent’s population, its major metropolitan areas are still huge crowd pullers.

Largest City In Europe

The list of Europe’s most populous cities reveals that the Russian capital of Moscow, the country’s largest city, ranks the highest in the list with a metropolitan population of 16.2 million. Moscow serves as a major economic, political, cultural and scientific center, and a bridge of sorts between Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Asia. This is the reason for the city’s enormous population, despite Moscow being one of the northernmost and coldest metropolises on Earth. According to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, Moscow is ranked as an "alpha global city", meaning it has one of the world’s largest urban economies. In the past, the city has served as the capital of major empires, and currently is the seat of power of the Russian Government. The rich infrastructure of the city, its prosperity and cosmopolitan nature, and its powerful presence in the world economy all act as catalysts to attract people to this most populous of European metropolises. Another Russian city, regarded to be the most "Westernized" Russian city as well, is the financially thriving and culturally rich former imperial capital of Russia. Namely, this is St. Petersburg, which, with a population of 5.1 million people, is the 10th most populous European city.

European National Capitals Dominate The List

When we look at the data on Europe’s most populous cities, we also find that 5 German metropolitan areas feature on the list, with the Ruhr-Essen-Dusseldorf region of Germany, with a population of 13.4 million people, being the second most populous European metropolitan area. Despite occupying a smaller land area than many European countries, Germany is Europe’s second most populated nation. This could be the result of the high immigration rates of people, primarily from Southern and Eastern Europe, into Germany, and the country’s liberal policies regarding harboring of refugees and political asylum seekers. The attractive economic prospects of Germany also bring people to the country. Besides Russia and Germany, the capital cities of the major European countries of the United Kingdom (London), France (Paris), Spain (Madrid), Italy (Rome), and Greece (Athens) also feature upon the list of the most populous cities in Europe. Among these cities, Paris and London each have metropolitan populations of over 10 million. Both of these cities are famous for their world-class infrastructures, high living standards, thriving economies, cultural richness, and multiculturalism. All of these factors act as huge crowd pullers, attracting immigrants from all over the globe to these cities. Besides these capital cities, Milan in Italy and Barcelona in Spain also feature among the 15 most populous cities on the European continent today.

Future Trends Of Major Cities

Over the years, there has been a drastic change in the demographics in most of Europe’s major cities. These populations are now more multicultural in nature than ever before. For example, 36.7% of London’s population is foreign born. However, despite the high rates of immigration, the growth of European population is predicted to be slow in the coming years when compared to the population growth of other continents, estimated to be seen peaking in 2050, and then declining afterwards. Though the growth will be slow, the tendency of people to gather at Europe’s urban areas will put ongoing stresses on the existing infrastructures of Europe’s most populous cities. More houses, hospitals, schools, and transport infrastructure will be thus needed to accommodate the growing populations in these large cities. Hence, city planners in Europe need to focus their attention on such tasks to ensure that the population of Europe's cities will continue to be able to enjoy the high standards of living offered in these cities.

Largest City Metro Populations In Europe

RankCities In EuropeMetro Population
1Moscow, Russia16,200,000
2Ruhr-Essen-Dusseldorf, Germany13,400,000
3Paris, France10,900,000
4London, United Kingdom10,200,000
5Amsterdam, the Netherlands7,500,000
6Madrid, Spain6,200,000
7Munich, Germany6,100,000
8Rhine-Frankfurt, Germany5,800,000
9Milan, Italy5,300,000
10St. Petersburg, Russia5,100,000
11Barcelona, Spain4,700,000
12Hamburg, Germany4,600,000
13Berlin, Germany4,100,000
14Rome, Italy3,900,000
15Athens, Greece3,500,000

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