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

PRIZE 2018

Nominate exceptional women mayors for the World Mayor Prize

The 2018 World Mayor Project is dedicated to women in local government. It features the achievements of women mayors from across the world and will honour the best of them.

Please nominate your candidate now

Women have fought prejudice and struggled for equal rights and opportunities for hundreds of years. They did it with courage and resolve. In the 20th and early 21st centuries, women have achieved success in many spheres previously reserved to or monopolised by men, but their contributions are still often undervalued and their potential not recognised enough. Only some 20 per cent of the world’s mayors are women.

The 2018 World Mayor Project aims to encourage more women to consider a career in local government and stand for political office.

Please nominate
exceptional women
mayors for the 2018
World Mayor Prize
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