What is the Largest City in the World?

Tokyo is considered the world's largest city by population.

What is the Largest City in the World?

The United Nations provides three characteristics that define a city. Firstly, the city is defined based on the administrative boundaries of the city which is controlled by the city authority regardless of the size or the population limit. Secondly, the UN defines a city as a contiguous urban area regardless of the administrative or other boundaries within the urban environment. Thirdly, it is defined by the metropolitan area. A metropolitan area consists of the Urban environment and its constituent primary commuter areas. This article discusses the largest city municipalities by population.

Greater Tokyo

Greater Tokyo is the most populated metropolitan in the world with a population of 38 million as of 2016 which is about 25% of the Japan's population. Greater Tokyo consists of the prefecture of Yamanashi, Kantō region, and the Tokyo Metropolis. Together they are also referred to as the National Capital Region. The area covers an area of 5,200 mi² and has a population density of 6,814/sq mi. The urban metropolis has a population of about 13.5 million. However, the population of Japan is shrinking unlike the rest of the world. The Global Cities Institute estimates that by 2100 the population of Japan would have dropped from the current 127 million to about 80 million while the population of Tokyo would drop to about 15 million by the same year. Little immigration, low fertility rate, and an aging population have been identified as the core reasons for the dwindling population.

Although it is referred to as a city, Tokyo is governed as a prefecture with 23 special wards and 39 municipalities. The city is also home to fifty-one of the Fortune Global 500 top companies and prides itself on being the largest urban agglomeration economy in the world. Tokyo ranked third in the 2015 Global Power City Index behind London and New York and is thus considered an Alpha + city while the top two are considered Alpha ++ cities. In 2014 it topped TripAdvisor's World City Survey for the best traveler's overall experience and street cleanliness. In 2015 it was ranked the 11th most expensive city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. However, it was ranked the most livable city by Monocle magazine in the same year. QS Best Student cities ranked Tokyo the third best city for University students in 2016. The city is set to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

The city's dominance in the global scene is attributed to its planning, friendly culture, modern infrastructure, and a well-developed, clean, extensive, and efficient transportation system. The electric trains, trams, buses, monorails ensure that the city is never at a standstill while the Narita, Hashima, and Haneda airports and opens up the city to the outside world. A survey conducted in 2015 revealed that 13.2 million people are found in the city during the night compared to 15.6 million during the day which means 2.4 Million commute to and from the city boundaries every day.


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