The Largest Cities in the US

A view of the Lower East Side in New York, the most populated city in the United States.

According to the United States (US) Census Bureau, the current population of the United States stands at approximately 323,743,027, making it the third most populous country in the world after India and China. Of the 50 US states, California and Texas are the two most populated. The biggest city in the US by population is New York, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. A closer look at every one of the country's biggest cities are available below.

1. New York, New York - 8,398,748

The largest city in the United States is New York with a population of 8.4 million. The city is made up of several boroughs, namely the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. The city is well-known for the influential role it plays in fields such as science, education, the arts, and economy. According to estimates from the government of New York, by 2030, the city is expected to reach a population of 9.3 million residents with Brooklyn witnessing the most growth.

New York holds the distinction of being one of the most diverse cities in the world, with over 3 million foreign-born residents. New York is also one of the world's most photographed cities, attracting more visitors than nearly any other place on the planet.

2. Los Angeles, California - 3,990,456

With 3.9 million residents, Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States. Designated as a global city, LA is a leader in industries such as entertainment, science, technology, and medicine. Los Angeles is well known for its pleasant climate, with sunny, moderate temperatures and little rainfall. Due to its proximity to the coast, there are also well-known beaches in Los Angeles located in nearby areas of Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, and more.

3. Chicago, Illinois - 2,705,994

Chicago, in the American midwest, is home to 2.7 million people, making it the country's third largest city by population. Chicago is known for its historical importance and the role it played in the development of national railway among other things. Chicago is located on Lake Michigan, and is well known for its architect and national sports teams. Chicago is truly a city of neighborhoods, with every one hosting their own unique flair.

4. Houston, Texas - 2,325,502

Houston is the largest city in Texas as well as the fourth largest city in the United States. Houston is known for being the home of several Fortune 500 companies, as well as the headquarters of NASA. Around 2.3 million people live in Houston, with the city's population spread out in such a way that there is not one traditional downtown area and instead are a number of densely populated areas. This is partially because Houston lacks zoning laws - the largest city of its kind to do so.

5. Phoenix, Arizona - 1,660,272

Phoenix, Arizona is a city found in the southwestern United States. It is located in the Sonoran Desert and has a population of 1.6 million, making it by far the most populated place in the desert. City growth in the desert was made possible through Phoenix's established system of canals which provided water to farmers. Phoenix is also notable for being among the most populated state capitals in the United States.

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 1,580,863

Philadelphia is the 6th largest city in the United States. A total of 1.5 million people call Philadelphia home. Philadelphia, which is found in the northeast United States, is sometimes called the "Birthplace of America" for being the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, and experienced rapid population growth from the end of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th century. Today, Philadelphia is known for being a popular destination for American college students, and also for its historic Old City.

7. San Antonio, Texas - 1,532,233

San Antonio is the second-largest city in Texas and the 7th largest in the United States as a whole. Around 1.5 million people live in San Antonio, which is one of the oldest municipalities in the entire country. San Antonio has existed since the year 1731. San Antonio is unique for being a relatively sparsely populated major city. Military, oil and gas, and tourism are all major parts of the economy of San Antonio. Major tourist sites within the city include the River Walk, the Alamo, and SeaWorld.

8. San Diego, California - 1,425,976

San Diego is a major city found in southern California. It is the largest city in California after Los Angeles. San Diego is located near the border between the United States and Mexico, which is the busiest border crossing in the world. San Diego is well-known for its high quality of life and its ability to attract tourists, who come in droves to experience the local beaches, cuisine, and culture. San Diego is also home to a historic downtown area as well as one of the most visited zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo.

9. Dallas, Texas - 1,345,047

Dallas is the ninth most populated city in the United States. The population of Dallas grew quickly throughout its infancy because of its important in the oil industry as well as its location near railway lines. Today, Dallas is one of the fastest growing population areas in the country. While the city merely had a population of 400,000 in 1950, the population of Dallas grew very steadily in the second half of the 20th century to reach 1.3 million today.

10. San Jose, California - 1,030,119

San Jose is a city in the Silicon Valley of northern California. It has a population of just over one million people. San Jose is a global city and has garnered much growth in recent years due to its location in the epicenter of the tech industry. Like Dallas, San Jose has grown considerably in recent years. This fact is mostly thanks to a large economic boom in the mid to late 20th century which encouraged population growth within the city.

Date source: US Census estimates for 2018. 

The 15 Largest Cities in the United States

RankCityPopulation (Est.)
1New York8,398,748
2Los Angeles3,990,456
7San Antonio1,532,233
8San Diego1,425,976
10San Jose1,030,119
13Fort Worth895,008
15San Francisco883,305

More in Society