When asked the question of which is the biggest city in the world, we know that such a simple question so difficult to answer (at times). If you google the world's biggest city, you'll find various different candidates like Tokyo, Seoul, Chongqing, Shanghai, etc...
When you are not sure of the answer then it all depends on what you mean by "city". Most experts will tell you that Tokyo is the world's largest metropolis, with a population of about 36 million people. But the core of the city has only eight million people living in it. Main reason it gets into the record books is that the surrounding region - which includes the country's second city Yokohama, as well as 86 other towns and cities has become so built up that it is now one huge continuous urbanized area (Yokohama alone has a population of 3.6 million).
Defining the borders of a city is no easy task and no international standard to ensure consistency is in place. In 2009 three scholars compared eight different lists of top cities by population and found there were 30 "top 20 cities" in total.
There are 3 concepts of the city:
1. 1. A municipal definition - the legal city if you will.
2. 2. An urbanized area, or the physical city (the built-up portion).
3. 3. A third we call the metropolitan area, which some people refer to as the influence of the city (how far out does the city go in terms of its influence, such as commuting patterns).
With such concept most experts rate Tokyo as the world's biggest city because of the size of the population in the larger urbanized area and it will probably still be the biggest in 2025, although its population is expected to scarcely increase. Which will be followed by the two major megacities in India (Delhi and Mumbai), which are projected respectively to have 29 million and 26 million inhabitants respectively by then.
And what about the cities in the country everyone is talking about which is China? Its cities are growing so fast that for the first time more than half the population, live in urban areas, it was announced earlier this month. But China's population statistics can be particularly misleading. Time Magazine proclaimed in 2005 that Chongqing has become the largest city not only in China, but in the world wasn’t true. One professor explained that the Chinese population statistics, explains that what China calls a municipality or city is better understood as a province. Many of the 30 million people who are said to live in the city of Chongqing are actually agricultural workers living in a rural setting, he says. In fact, the area is so huge it's about the size of Austria. The largest city in China is actually Shanghai. It is commonly thought to have a population of 20 million, but 16 million is a better estimate.
Everyone just loved to think China's cities are bigger than they actually are. Experts had to be corrected by fellow experts at a world conference on global megacities of the future. As they were trying to paint a really doom and gloom picture of these unmanageable urban giants, megacities with a population range of 20 to 30 million people and saying China will easily have a few of those in that range, is not true.
Quite frankly, I would pass of living in a mega city and live on the countryside where things are more reasonably paced.
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