Humanities › Geography 30 Largest Cities in the World Share Flipboard Email Print Johner Images/Getty Images Geography Population Basics Physical Geography Political Geography Country Information Key Figures & Milestones Maps Urban Geography By Matt Rosenberg Geography Expert M.A., Geography, California State University - Northridge B.A., Geography, University of California - Davis Matt Rosenberg is an award-winning geographer and the author of "The Handy Geography Answer Book" and "The Geography Bee Complete Preparation Handbook." our editorial process Matt Rosenberg Updated January 13, 2020 The world's largest urban area, Tokyo (37.4 million), has almost the same population as the entire country of Canada (37.6 million). The 2018 data on the 30 largest cities of the world, compiled by the United Nations Population Division, reflects the best possible estimates of the populations of these huge cities. Dynamic population growth makes determining the "exact" population of a city difficult, especially in a developing nation. If you're wondering what these megacities will look like in the future, the UN has also projected their population for the year 2030. The UN's list from 2018 lists 33 cities having a population higher than 10 million but 2030 is expected to have 43 of those. Also, in 2018, 27 of the megacities were located in the less developed regions, and by 2030, nine additional cities are estimated to be located there. 01 of 30 Tokyo, Japan: 37,468,000 Todd Brown/Getty Images The top city is expected to move down the list and with 2030's projected population of 36,574,000 become the second largest city. 02 of 30 Delhi, India: 28,514,000 Gavin Hellier/Getty Images Delhi, India, is projected to gain about 10 million people by 2030 to end up with a population of about 38,939,000 and exchange places with Tokyo, becoming thus the world's first largest city. 03 of 30 Shanghai, China: 25,582,000 Comezora/Getty Images Shanghai's estimated population of 32,869,000 in 2030 will keep it at the number three spot. 04 of 30 São Paulo, Brazil: 21,650,000 Adam Hester/Getty Images Asia and Africa are foreseen to have the most growth in the coming decades. As a result, in 2030, São Paulo, Brazil—with the projected population of 23,824,000—is expected to move down and become only No. 9 on the world's list of most populous cities. 05 of 30 Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City), Mexico: 21,581,000 Linka A Odom/Getty Images In 2030, Mexico City is anticipated to still be in the top 10 in population, but only as No. 8. With 24,111,000 people, it is projected to be the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. 06 of 30 Al-Quahirah (Cairo), Egypt: 20,076,000 Laszlo Mihaly/Getty Images Cairo, Egypt, has been a major city for a thousand years and should continue to be in the top 10 in population with a possible 25,517,000 people living there, making it 2030's No. 5. 07 of 30 Mumbai (Bombay), India: 19,980,000 JFCreative/Getty Images Mumbai, India should move up by one place in the world's rankings in 2030, with an expected population of 24,572,000. 08 of 30 Beijing, China: 19,618,000 Todd Brown/Getty Images The UN Population Division forecasts Beijing, China, to rise to No. 7 on the list with 24,282,000 people in 2030. However, after that year, the country's population may start to decline, based on fertility estimates and its aging population. 09 of 30 Dhaka, Bangladesh: 19,578,000 Michael Runkel / robertharding/Getty Images Bangladesh is among the top 10 countries in the world in population, and Dhaka, its capital, could move up all the way to No. 4 by 2030, with an anticipated population growth of almost 9 million, bringing it up to 28,076,000 inhabitants. 10 of 30 Kinki M.M.A. (Osaka), Japan: 19,281,000 Philippe Marion/Getty Images Tokyo isn't the only Japanese city projected to drop down on the list, as the country is experiencing negative population growth. Based on the projections, Osaka's estimated number of people in 2030 is 18,658,000, bringing it as low as No. 16. 11 of 30 New York, New York–Newark, New Jersey, United States: 18,819,000 Yukinori Hasumi/Getty Images Demographers anticipate the metropolitan statistical area of New York City, New York—Newark, New Jersey, to grow to 19,958,000. This will be a rather slow augmentation, especially by comparison to the fast-growing areas and by 2030 it will get moved down to number 13. 12 of 30 Karachi, Pakistan: 15,400,000 Bashir Osman's Photography/Getty Images Pakistan is also among the world's top 10 most populous countries, and even though Karachi's population is predicted to grow by almost five million by 2030—to 20,432,000 people, it will remain in its position on the list. 13 of 30 Buenos Aires, Argentina: 14,967,000 www.infinitahighway.com.br/Getty Images Demographers project Buenos Aires, Argentina, to keep growing, hitting 16,456,000 in 2030, but this growth will be slower than the fastest-growing cities in the world and Buenos Aires might lose some ground on the list (drop to No. 20). 14 of 30 Chongqing, China: 14,838,000 Luis Martinez/Design Pics/Getty Images China has six locations on the largest cities list, and UN number-crunchers expect Chongqing to grow to 19,649,000 by 2030. 15 of 30 Istanbul, Turkey: 14,751,000 TAMVISUT/Getty Images Turkey has a slightly lower-than-replacement fertility (1.99 and 1.88 by 2030), but Istanbul is still expected to grow to 17,124,000 by 2030. (Replacement fertility is 2.1 births per woman.) 16 of 30 Kolkata (Calcutta), India: 14,681,000 Tuul & Bruno Morandi/Getty Images India is one of the top two countries in population and is expected to surpass China at the No. 1 position by 2025. As one of its cities, Kolkata's 2030 population projection is 17,584,000 people. 17 of 30 Manila, Philippines: 13,482,000 Rex Montalban Photography/Getty Images The Philippines was No. 13 on the world population list in 2017, but its capital should remain in the middle of the populous cities pack with a forecast population of 16,841,000 in 2030. 18 of 30 Lagos, Nigeria: 13,463,000 James Marshall/Getty Images Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world and is expected to surpass the United States in population by 2050. Lagos, it is thought, will move up to No. 11 on the list in 2030 with 20,600,000 people living there. 19 of 30 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 13,293,000 Ingo Roesler/Getty Images The second of two Brazilian entries on the list, Rio will likely remain on the world's most populous list in 2030 but since it is expected to grow only to 14,408,000, it might slide down to No. 26. 20 of 30 Tianjin, China: 13,215,000 Dong Wenjie/Getty Images UN demographers still see growth for all the cities of China already on the list, but even though Tianjin is calculated to grow to 15,745,000 people, it might become only No. 23 on the 2030 list. 21 of 30 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo: 13,171,000 violettenlandungoy/Getty Images Twenty-two countries in the world have high fertility, one of them being the Congo. Its capital city Kinshasa is expected to achieve 21,914,000 in population and rise to No. 10 of the most populous cities in the world. 22 of 30 Guangzhou, Guangdong, China: 12,638,000 Gu Heng Chn/EyeEm/Getty Images The UN expects China's population to remain stable until 2030 when it is expected to start decreasing, but Guangzhou's future has growth in it, to 16,024,000 people by 2030. 23 of 30 Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana, United States: 12,458,000 Allan Baxter/Getty Images The Los Angeles metropolitan statistical area might not be anticipated to grow quickly, but it should still reach about 13,209,000 in 2030, moving to No. 27. 24 of 30 Moskva (Moscow), Russia: 12,410,000 Pola Damonte/Getty Images The UN demographers think that Moscow, Russia will come in at No. 28 by 2030 with 12,796,000 people. 25 of 30 Shenzhen, China: 11,908,000 gjp311/Getty Images It looks like the city of Shenzhen, China remains among the world's 30 most populated in 2030, coming in with 14,537,000 residents, moving up just barely to No. 24. 26 of 30 Lahore, Pakistan: 11,738,000 Tetra Images/Getty Images Since 2016, Lahore, Pakistan, replaced London, England, the last European city, out of the top 30 cities. The city is expected to grow quickly to a population of 16,883,000 and move up as high as No. 18 on the 2030 list. 27 of 30 Bangalore, India: 11,440,000 Akash Bhattacharya/Getty images One of three Indian cities forecast to move up in rank by 2030 (to No. 21), Bangalore could grow to 16,227,000 residents. 28 of 30 Paris, France: 10,901,000 Westend61/Getty Images The Western cultural center, Paris, France, may still be growing (projected 11,710,000 in 2030), but it won't be fast enough to stay in the top 30 cities, possibly falling to No. 35. 29 of 30 Bogotá, Colombia: 10,574,000 Paddy Photography/Getty Images Bogotá won't be staying on the list in 2030 either. Even though the UN projects an increase to 12,343,000, it might fall just out of the first 30, to No. 31 30 of 30 Jakarta, Indonesia: 10,517,000 Herianus Herianus/EyeEm/Getty Images More than half of the world's population growth between 2017 and 2050 is estimated to happen in just nine countries, Indonesia among them. Indonesia's capital is expected to grow to 12,687,000 by 2030 and remain No. 30 on the list. Sources “The Worlds Cities in 2018 Data Booklet.” United Nations, 2018.“30 Largest Cities.” World Urbanization Prospects—Population Division. United Nations, 2018.“Canada Population (LIVE).” Worldometer, 2020.“The Worlds Cities in 2016 Data Booklet.” United Nations, 2016.