World Facts

Largest Cities in North America By Population

A look at some of the largest cities on the North American continent.

When talking about notable cities in terms of having significantly sized populations, many of those in North America are worth taking a look at for their socioeconomic importance. Such cities are recognizable far beyond the borders of the continent, not only standing out in terms of size of the populous, but for their important cultural and economic contributions to their respective countries as a whole. Over the years, cities in Canada, the United States, and Mexico have frequently interchanged in size rankings due to a variety of factors influencing population growth.

Based on official statistics from 2013, the North American continent has an estimated regional population of 529,000,000. Looking more closely at this population of more than half a billion people, we have identified some of the largest, most important cities found on the continent in terms of population. In this article, the city populations listed are those of metro areas, not necessarily city proper populations within the bounds of city limits.

Mexico City

Mexico City is identified as the most populous city in North America, with a population of 21,339,771. This is the second largest metropolitan area in the world, and the population continues to grow, at an annual rate of 1.8%. Mexico City has taken it place as not only the largest city in North America, but as the economic engine of the Mexican nation as well. Most Mexican industrial products are produced within its surrounding area, making it a logical point of relocation for the job-seeking migrants who continue to pour into in this city from all around the country.

New York, New York!

New York City of the United States has long been regarded as one of the most important cities on the continent and, indeed, even the world as a whole. With a metropolitan population of 20,182,305, New York is known globally as “the city that never sleeps”, and as a place where dreams come true. While we may not take that flattering hyperbole literally, it is undeniably a fact that this city offers endless career opportunities, and it’s safe to say that career growth is among the primary drivers behind the choice made by massive numbers of people to reside in and around New York City. People all over the world gamble that their luck will be better in New York, in the hopes of finding a career path that will eventually allow them to stay in the city permanently, and enjoy the bountiful fruits of the ‘Big Apple’.

Home of the Stars

Los Angeles has over time come to rival its cross-country counterpart as one of the largest metropolises in North America. The metro area is home to Hollywood, country’s show business and entertainment heart, as well as internationally important financial establishments. Its location also makes it an important link between the contingent United States and another world across the Pacific. For many, L.A. means unbounded opportunities, prompting local inhabitants to stay and newcomers to continue to arrive in hope of achieving their own “California Dreamin’.

Notable Mentions

Chicago, Illinois of the United States and Toronto, Ontario in Canada are also among the cities recognized as being some of the largest in the continent. The metropolitan populations of these giants are 9,551,031 and 6,129,934 respectively. It is important to note that these sums are for the populations of these cities’ respective metro areas. However, if we regard the city proper alone, Toronto is actually larger than the Chicago in terms of the population living within city limits.

Looking at shared characteristics seen in each of the cities mentioned above, economic stability is a common denominator among them all. These cities have become so large due to the fact that their economies are highly competitive in both national and international markets. Looking at these North American cities, we see that, as a city’s economy grows, more people are drawn into it, promoting the metropolitan population to grow right alongside it.

Largest Cities in North America By Population

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RankMetropolitan areaPopulationCountry
1Mexico City21,339,771 Mexico
2New York20,182,305 United States
3Los Angeles13,340,068 United States
4Chicago9,551,031 United States
5Dallas–Fort Worth7,102,796 United States
6Houston6,656,947 United States
7Toronto6,129,934 Canada
8Washington6,097,684 United States
9Philadelphia6,069,875 United States
10Miami6,012,331 United States
11Atlanta5,710,795 United States
12Guadalajara4,796,050 Mexico
13Boston4,774,321 United States
14San Francisco–Oakland4,656,132 United States
15Phoenix4,574,531 United States
16Inland Empire4,489,159 United States
17Monterrey4,477,614 Mexico
18Detroit4,302,043 United States
19Montreal4,060,692 Canada
20Seattle3,733,580 United States
21Minneapolis–St. Paul3,524,583 United States
22San Diego3,299,521 United States
23Tampa–St. Petersburg2,975,225 United States
24Puebla–Tlaxcala2,954,767 Mexico
25Denver2,814,330 United States
26St. Louis2,811,588 United States
27Baltimore2,797,407 United States
28Vancouver2,504,340 Canada
29Charlotte2,426,363 United States
30Portland2,389,228 United States
31Orlando2,387,138 United States
32San Antonio2,384,075 United States
33Pittsburgh2,353,045 United States
34Sacramento2,274,194 United States
35Toluca2,189,481 Mexico
36Cincinnati2,157,719 United States
37Las Vegas2,114,801 United States
38Kansas City2,087,471 United States
39Cleveland2,060,810 United States

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