World Facts

Cities with the Most Skyscrapers

The United States and China lead the world in skyscraper architecture.

Nearly every major city in the developed world has skyscrapers that provide for spectacular views from the ground and air alike. The number of skyscrapers, however, differs significantly from city to city in every country, with most cities in the lead hailing from Asia. The most fundamental question in this regard has been why this phenomenon has been more pronounced in the East as compared to European and North American cities that also have developed economies. Indeed, driven by fast economic growth and a steadily rising number of millionaires, real estate investment has been on the rise in Asia. Building skyscrapers for many of these investors is a way of maximizing the value of their land holdings for a huge return on investment. Most of the Asian cities listed, like Hong Kong, have very dense populations which put pressure on land, and thus the need to build skyscrapers to make maximum use of the land by moving further in the vertical direction when ground space is limited. Again, many Asian countries have very bad terrains, which often restrict certain places from erecting buildings, and in turn this leads to more frequent construction of high-rise buildings on the space that is accessible. Some cities also use it as a way to show-off architectural and technological prowess in order to drive government agendas and lure investors. Additional, there are certain European countries and American cities that restrict the construction of tall buildings in bids to preserve the landscape, and thereby make sightings of skyscrapers fewer and farther between. As economies rise, populations increase and investments pour in, Asian cities are bound to continue rapidly constructing skyscrapers in comparison to cities from other parts of the world. Taking a look at these and other intriguing aspects along the way, we have denoted the cities with the most skyscrapers in the world.

10. Manila, Philippines - 92 skyscrapers

Manila, the Philippines. Manila has the tenth most skyscrapers in the world.

The largest city in the Philippines, Manila is also one of the most densely populated cities on the planet. The city, which is located on Manila Bay, has a burgeoning skyline which is set to grow even more in coming years. The tallest building in the city of Manila is Metrobank Financial Center, which was completed in 2017 with a total of 66 floors.

9. Guangzhou, China - 75 Skyscrapers

Guangzhou, China. Guangzhou has the ninth largest collection of buildings in the world.

Faced with similar logistical problems in construction as most other large Asian cities, the city of Guangzhou has made deliberate attempts to solve its land problems by building skyscrapers to accommodate the huge population therein. Not far from the South China Sea, Hong Kong or Macau, its location on the Pearl River has long made it one of the most commercially important locales in China.

8. Shenzhen, China - 101 Skyscrapers

Shenzhen, China. Shenzhen is home to the world's eighth largest collection of skyscrapers.

The city of Shenzhen serves as an important link between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. It is a vibrant metropolis with a fast growing economy. It is also a known shopping destination with a number of high-rise malls amidst its skyscrapers. As is the case with most of China’s largest cities, it has limited land for development despite a population that is rapidly growing.

7. Chongqing, China - 105 Skyscrapers

Guangzhou, China.

Chongqing is the fourth largest municipality in China, and within one of the most economically important areas in the country. The inland port city has an uneven terrain, but is surrounded by a wealth of natural resources. It is set to become one of the most important cities in China because of its rapid economic development. It has managed to witness economic growth while still preserving much of the natural environment by building skyscrapers to avoid interference with most of its naturally occurring forests and rivers. Indeed, its growth has been phenomenal. With barely one million people at the time of the People’s Republic of China’s establishment, its population grew almost 30-fold over the next five decades.

6. Chicago, United States - 119 Skyscrapers

Chicago, Illinois, boats the fourth largest collection of buildings in the world, and the second largest in the United States.

Chicago has a large number of skyscrapers compared to most cities in the United States, and some of the country’s highest-reaching structures. Of the twelve tallest residential buildings in the US, seven are found in Chicago. This pattern is driven by the fact that Chicago has been the birth place of many great architectural innovators. It also is in an unofficial competition with New York City over construction braggadocio, and this has seen its business and economic leaders step up their investments in real estate.

5. Shanghai, China - 139 Skyscrapers

Shanghai, China, is known for its extensive and somewhat futuristic skyline.

A fast growing economy, dense population, and limited land space have combined to force Shanghai builders to look to the skies. The city has been moved to mitigate such challenges by constructing skyscrapers to make use of the land available there. The growing number of Shanghai millionaires has also pushed investment in real estate to new levels, placing the metropolis as one of the cities in the world with the highest numbers of skyscrapers. Many Asian cities also compete amongst themselves for investor recognition and bragging rights, and showing off great architectural designs is a fine way of accomplishing that.

4. Tokyo, Japan - 143 Skyscrapers

Tokyo, Japan, is the largest cit yin the world by population.

Japan is known for its investment in modern technology, and this is very much reflected in many of the skyscrapers that dot its world-famous skyline. Tokyo, being the capital city of Japan, has a large population with limited space for development of real estate. This problem is also compounded by the fact that most of Tokyo has bad terrain which makes available land for the erection of buildings even scarcer still. It has found a solution in skyscrapers, and that's why many of its buildings today reach towards the heavens.

3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates - 173 Skyscrapers

Dubai is home to a large collection of skyscrapers.

Ever since the United Arab Emirates started its journey towards a more fully developed economy, it has attracted several investors which view it as among the up-and-coming economic hubs. Dubai has some of the most well-designed skyscrapers in the world showing off trendsetting architecture. Most of Dubai’s investors have made their fortunes from the petrochemicals and energy sectors, and are keen on turning the city into a tourist destination to be reckoned with. It is also faced with the problem of limited land for construction as well, which necessitates a need for skyscrapers. That is the only way by which Dubai’s queue of potential investors can achieve their ambitious development objectives.

2. New York City, United States - 257 Skyscrapers

New York is home to the second largest collection of skyscrapers on the planet.

A longstanding icon emblematic of skyscraper construction, New York City makes it onto our list. As one of the most robust cities in the United States and world as a whole, it hosts several key business centers and world organizations. New York City has several multi-millionaires with ready money for investment, and real estate is often their investment of choice. Because the city hosts a huge population and has limited space for new development, many of its buildings are high-rise structures, including a good deal of skyscrapers. There are several hotels, apartments and office buildings that are constructed skywards in order to make efficient use of the city’s low availability of ground space. The city is also experiencing a skyscraper boom because of an improved economy and a strengthened upper class.

1. Hong Kong, Hong Kong - 317 Skyscrapers

Hong Kong tops our list of the cities with the most skyscrapers in the world.

Hong Kong resorted to high-rise buildings and skyscrapers due to the imposing challenge of limited land available for new buildings. This was driven by a huge population and a rapidly rising economy that required a great deal of commercial real estate to be developed. Evolutions in modern architectural designs that allowed for the construction of such tall buildings was also a key factor in this construction pattern. As such, there was a deliberate government policy to build skyscrapers in order to meet the challenge of unavailability of land for new developments. Today, Hong Kong is among the cities with the highest numbers of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings of any in the world. It also showcases some of the most internationally applauded contemporary architectural designs within them, and is therefore a tourist destination for many who appreciate great architecture.

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