Karachi is the world's largest city (Photo: City Hall)

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The largest cities in the
world and their mayors

By Tann vom Hove, Editor
Additional research by Guy Kervella and Sven Krüger

27 December 2010: The mayors of the world’s 25 largest cities are each responsible for more people than most national prime ministers. For example, London, ranked 23rd in the world, has more residents than nations like Paraguay, Denmark, New Zealand or Ireland, and if Karachi, globally the largest city, was a country it would rank above Greece, Portugal or Hungary. The combined population of the world’s eleven megacities - cities with more than 10 million inhabitants - equals that of Japan.

Cities by size: 1 to 150 | 151 to 300 | 301 to 450 | 451 to 600 |
Cities in alphabetical order: A to D | E to L | M to R | S to Z |
Cities by countries: A to D | E to L | M to R | S to Z |

These are some of the findings of the City Mayors 2011 survey The world’s largest Cities and their Mayors. Since similar research was last carried out, Karachi has become the largest city in the world. In 2003, with a population of 9.3 million, the Pakistani metropolis was ranked fifth in the world. Today the city has a population of some 15.5 million – indeed, some estimates put the figure as high as 18 million.

According to the survey, there are eleven megacities in 2011. In addition to Karachi, Shanghai, Mumbai, Beijing, Delhi, Buenos Aires, Metro Manila, Seoul, Sao Paulo, Moscow and Jakarta are members of this select group of cities. Istanbul and Bangkok, with populations of more than nine million, are placed 12th and 13th in the list of largest cities in the world.

The survey’s ranking of the largest cities is based on the population of actual cities and, although providing the data, does not include people living in adjoining metropolitan areas. If greater metropolitan areas were taken into account, some additional 20 cities could claim megacity-status. For example, Tokyo with a population of 8.7 million is part of a metro region of some 31 million people. Cities with a populous hinterland also include, Mexico City, New York City, Cairo, London, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles and Dhaka.

The job of running a big city is one of the most arduous tasks imaginable. The survey The World’s largest Cities and their Mayors names the men and women who do it.

The research was carried out in 2010 and 2011. For the population data City Mayors consulted numerous national and international sources and in cases of large statistical inconsistencies elected to publish cautious averages. Readers and scholars are invited to inform of any discrepancies and/or provide missing facts and figures. The data is updated monthly. Please insert ‘Largest cities 2011’ in the subject line of any email.

By size of cities: 1 to 150 | 151 to 300 | 301 to 450 | 451 to 600 |
City by city: A to D | E to L | M to R | S to Z |
Country by country: A to D | E to L | M to R | S to Z |

© Copyright: City Mayors & Tann vom Hove. All rights reserved

Mayors with exceptional courage, compassion and competence sought for the 2016 World Mayor Prize
The 2016 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be awarded to mayors who have accepted and successfully managed the challenges posed by migration but are also convinced of its longterm benefits. They will be leading a city where past and/or more recent immigrants have contributed to the city’s society, economy and culture. The City Mayors Foundation will also consider mayors for the honours whose communities has shown exceptional resilience during the recent arrivals from disaster-torn regions of the world.

If you are convinced, like us, that the world’s cities have greatly benefited from immigrants, whose perseverance in the face of hardship and often prejudice has created the civic societies that we value and enjoy today, we invite you to nominate a mayor for the 2016 World Mayor Prize.

At a time when there are some 60 million refugees worldwide, mayors to be considered for the World Mayor honours will need to have shown exceptional compassion, courage and competence. Compassion for people who have travelled great distances to find safety. Courage to fight prejudice even in the face of unpopularity. Competence to leverage the value and potential each person offers society.

By taking part in this year’s World Mayor Project you are also voicing your support for all those cities that have had to bear the brunt of the recent influx of migrants and refugees.

Previous winners and runners-up include the mayors of Calgary, Ghent, Bilbao, Perth, Mexico City, Oklahoma City, Cape Town, Zurich, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Athens, Mississauga and Tirana. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.