World Facts

Largest Cities in North America

New York City has the largest metropolitan area in North America by population, followed by Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Many North American cities are well-known far beyond the borders of the continent. Not only do they stand 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.

The population of North America is around 579 million. 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.

The 10 Biggest Cities in North America

1. New York, United States (23,723,696)

New York City has long been regarded as one of the most important cities on the continent and in the world as a whole. With a metropolitan population of 23,723,696, 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".

2. Mexico City, Mexico (22,000,000)

Mexico City closely follows New York as the most populous metro area in North America, with a population of 22,000,000. The population of Mexico City continues to grow, at an annual rate of 1.8%. 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.

3. Los Angeles, United States (17,500,000)

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, the 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’.

4. Chicago, United States (8,759,312)

Chicago is located in the midwestern United States. It has a total metropolitan population of more than 8.7 million people. Despite cold winters, the city of Chicago has attracted people from all over the United States as well as the world with its culture, opportunities, and easy-going vibe.

5. Washington, United States (8,300,000)

Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States of America. It is home to more than 8.3 million people in its wider metro area, which includes sections of Virginia and Maryland. Many residents of Washington, D.C. are employed by the Federal Government, which is a big source of job opportunities in the area.

6. San Francisco, United States (7,610,000)

San Francisco, California, is the sixth largest city in North America and the second largest city on the west coast of the United States by population. With more than 7.6 million people in its metro area, San Francisco has longtime been famous as a cultural hub within the United States. Its iconic cityscape has drawn millions to its borders. More recently, jobs in the Silicon Valley have also acted as pull factors to new residents who move into the area.

7. Boston, United States (7,350,000)

Boston is the largest city in the New England region of the United States. It is also the seventh largest city in North America, with more than 7.3 million people living in its metro area. Boston is known for being one of the most historic cities in the United States, as well as the site of some of the country's best-rated universities, including Harvard and MIT.

8. Philadelphia, United States (7,350,000)

Philadelphia is the largest city in the US state of Pennsylvania and the eighth largest city in North America. Known as the Birthplace of America, Philadelphia was the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Today, it is a well-connected city on the eastern seaboard with a vibrant city culture.

9. Dallas-Fort Worth, United States (7,233,323)

The Dallas-Forth Worth area is the most populated city in the US state of Texas, with a total population of 7.2 million in its metro area. It is an important center for air travel and business, as well as southern US culture.

10. Houston, United States (6,150,000)

Also located in Texas, Houston holds the spot of the tenth most populated city in North America with a metro population of 6.1 million. Houston is perhaps best known for its Space Center.

Commonalities Shared Between Big Cities

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.

The 40 Largest Cities in North America

RankCity Country Metro Area Population
1New York United States23,723,696
2Mexico CityMexico22,000,000
3Los AngelesUnited States17,500,000
4ChicagoUnited States8,759,312
5WashingtonUnited States8,300,000
6San FranciscoUnited States7,610,000
7BostonUnited States7,350,000
8PhiladelphiaUnited States7,300,000
10Dallas-Fort WorthUnited States 6,500,000
11HoustonUnited States6,150,000
12MiamiUnited States6,050,000
13DetroitUnited States5,700,000
14AtlantaUnited States5,450,000
16Monterrey Mexico4,625,000
17TampaUnited States4,300,000
18PhoenixUnited States4,300,000
20SeattleUnited States4,050,000
21Santo DomingoDominican Republic3,625,000
22Denver United States3,500,000
23San DiegoUnited States3,250,000
24ClevelandUnited States3,075,000
25OrlandoUnited States3,050,000
26Guatemala CityGuatemala3,025,000
27Minneapolis-St. PaulUnited States3,025,000
30Cincinnati United States2,725,000
31Vancouver Canada2,475,000
32St. LouisUnited States2,350,000
33Salt Lake CityUnited States2,275,000
34CharlotteUnited States2,250,000
35PortlandUnited States2,250,000
38San JuanPuerto Rico2,150,000
39PittsburghUnited States2,075,000
40Las VegasUnited States2,075,000

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