The world’s population is estimated to be 7.53 billion people. But we’re not all evenly spread out across all the land surface area of Earth, are we? We’re not even evenly spread out across the inhabitable areas of Earth (excluding all the deserts and tundras). So, here are the 10 largest cities in the world — the 10 places on our planet where the most people live!
12.4 million people live in Mumbai. It’s on the western coast of the Indian Subcontinent, and was established by the British in the 17th century. Being a coastal city obviously helped its growth, and by the middle of the 18th century Mumbai was a thriving city that was a trade and manufacturing hot spot. Mumbai is also the centre of the Bollywood industry, making it a city with one of the highest GDPs in the world.
Tianjin is on China’s northern coast and has a population of 12.7 million people. Its history is also laden with colonialism, so there is a mix of traditional Chinese and European architecture. Tianjin has the highest GDP per capita in China (over $17,000), and, as was the case with Mumbai, a lot of this has to do with the fact that it’s a coastal city that sees a lot of trade and business.
Manila has a population of 12.8 million people. It was founded by the Spanish in 1571, but the city’s modern layout was planned by American urban planner, Daniel Burnham, in 1905. Manila is the capital city of the Philippines and is also a harbor town that sees a lot of trade. However, this city is very prone to natural disasters like floods, tsunamis, and hurricanes. Nevertheless, it’s population keeps on growing!
Russia’s capital is home to over 13.1 million people. The city’s constant population growth has resulted in the gradual expansion of the city’s borders. More and more “circles” are added to the city, and the city’s haphazard urban architecture results in many people living on the outskirts and commute downtown. This results in insane traffic jams every morning and evening, during peak rush hour. Nevertheless, the city has many green areas and unique architecture.
You knew Tokyo would be on this list. If you ask anyone what a “big city” means to them, chances are they’ll come up with “Tokyo” as an example. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Tokyo’s population is 13.6 million people. It’s the capital of Japan and is home to 51 of the Fortune 500 companies, ranking 4th on the Global Cities Index. It’s a very modern city that has (in my humble opinion) managed to make the best of its rapidly growing population and adjusted its infrastructure accordingly.
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has a population of slightly over 14.5 million people. It’s the biggest city in Bangladesh and one of the biggest cities in South Asia in general. However, it wasn’t always this big! Dhaka saw a rapid population growth in the past several decades, as more and more people move to the city for jobs. It’s the financial and cultural center of the country, and that status comes with a high population!
Turkey’s capital was established 660BC in the Byzantine empire. Since then, it has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman empires, now serving as the capital of Turkey. It currently has a population of 14.6 million people and attracts millions of additional people who come to Istanbul as tourists every year. Its long and rich history has made it very attractive to tourists who are interested in history, culture, the arts, and entertainment in general.
Karachi has a population of 18 million and is a busy city thanks to its strategic location on the coast of the Arabian Sea, being the home of one of Pakistan’s largest and busiest ports. As such, the city generates about 20% of the countries entire GDP, and its “city economy” has been valued at over $113 billion.
The capital of China has a population of over 20 million people. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, and is a business hub, with many of the country’s automobile, textile, chemical, and technological exports being managed there. Needless to say — its GDP is great too, over $174 billion. And yet, it’s not even the biggest city in China.
Shanghai is the biggest city in China and in the world. With a population of over 24 million people, it is far ahead of its nearest competitor, Beijing. It’s located in the strategic location in the Yangtze River Delta and is home to the world’s busiest port. Its strategic location also made it a point of contention with both the British and the French, who wanted to control the city in the 19th century. Later, the Japanese wanted the city for themselves during World War II. However, now, Shanghai is the trading hub of modern China, and has been reported to show double-digit growth in its population and economic output since 1992.