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World’s Most Populated Cities – Largest Cities in the World – and Population Density by City

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Natural Resources Are Dwindling

Today, the planet earth has a population of 6.8 billion people and this number is increasing every year. The earth has an area of about 500 million square kilometres which means the average population density is about 13 people per square kilometres. One square kilometre is about 225 acres. This means each one of us is entitled to 17 acres. If you have a wife and two children, then your family is entitled to 68 acres. If you are not having 17 acres for yourself, then somebody else is keeping the shortfall for you and perhaps you may shout asking Obama for your rightful share of what God intended to be yours. God have provided unlimited energy from the sun and unlimited water in our oceans. But things are usually not like that. The truth is that our natural resources are dwindling, the earth is getting warmer and climate is changing for the worst. The God who gives is no longer willing to provide easily and the same God may now decide to start taking it from us earlier.

Population Density

Yes, population density is the number of people per unit area - usually per square kilometre. You must have heard that the poor continues to get poorer whilst the rich continues to get richer. That’s how this capitalist world is. By observing humans over long periods of time, it has been noted that everything else being constant, the higher the density of people the higher the chances of one to get poorer. A couple with two children is likely to raise the children into richer adults (quality adults) than a couple with ten children. Experts have suggested that the only solution is for people to practice family planning and population control methods, and fortunately, these methods are well funded without conditions attached by the developed countries. That is a plus to those who forfeit their luxuries to help others from populating the earth with unmanageable number of people. Unfortunately, the subject of family planning and population control is a hot potato to many people. The unspoken reasoning is that numbers are strength. The reason (excuse) given is that matters of creation and propagation of life is the work of god and that god can take away life before the thirty fifth birthday. A couple with ten acres of land propagating at ten children per generation will only need fifty years to realize they no longer have land resources to pass to their grand children.

Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa

At around the year 1225, a Mathematician by the name Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa, published Liber Abacci which is one of the greatest mathematical discoveries of all time. In Liber Abacci, Fibonacci poses the question: How many pairs of rats enclosed in a room can be produced in a single year from one pair of rats if each pair gives birth to a new pair each month starting with the second month?

In arriving at the answer, each pair of rats, including the first pair, will need a month's time to mature, but once matured, begets a new pair of rats each month. The number of pairs is the same at the beginning of each for the first two months, and the sequence is 1, 1. The first pair wills double its number during the second month, and there will be two pairs at the beginning of the third month. From these, the older pair begets a third pair the following month and at the beginning of the 4th month, the sequence will expand to 1, 1, 2, 3. From these three, the two older pairs reproduce, but the youngest pair will not, and the number of rat pairs expands to five. By the next month, three pairs reproduce so the sequence propagates to 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and so on and so forth. By continuing this sequence, you will notice the rats’ family tree growing with logarithmic acceleration. Continue this sequence for a few months and the numbers become astronomical. In 100 months which is about eight years, you will have 354,224,848,179,261,915,075 pairs of rats. The number 354,224,848,179,261,915,075 is not a telephone number or a mistake. But nature has control mechanisms; after all, these are rats and not humans - and that is the Mathematics of growth and decay.

Diminished Quality of Life in the City

World’s most populated cities usually have many problems as the huge number of people places competitive stress on the basic life sustaining resources, leading to a diminished quality of life in the city. Problems to do with provision of clean water, clean air, food, shelter, energy, healthcare, education, proper sewage treatment, waste disposal, security and management of the people are common and almost permanent.

Today, we have cities with population of 14 millions which is higher than populations of some countries. The population of a city can differ from source to source because different sources have different definition of the geographic extent of the area that is being considered to represent a city. Below is a listing of the most populated cities in the world. The populations listed are for the city proper and not for the metropolitan area.

Dhaka – Bangladesh

Dhaka in Bangladesh is the most densely populated city in the world with a population density of 46,000 people per square kilometre – here, every other inch is another person. Dhaka’s population of 7 million is equally very high. Dhaka serves as one of the prime centers for culture, education and business in Bangladesh. Dhaka is a city full of mosques mainly because most people are Muslims. Dhaka has many urban problems such as pollution, congestion, and lack of adequate services due to the high population. With over 400,000 rickshaws running each day in Dhaka, traffic congestion is a common occurrence. The good thing about these rickshaws is that they create employment to the people who operate them and that they are pollution free.

Dhaka - 400,000 rickshaws running each day in Dhaka is awesome?

Dhaka - 400,000 rickshaws running each day in Dhaka is awesome?

Cairo – Egypt

Ancient civilization may have started in Cairo, Egypt. With a population of 6.8 million people and a population density of 32,000 people per square kilometre, Cairo rank as one of the most densely populated cities in the world. In the Arab world, it’s the main city for one to visit at least once in a lifetime. Cairo is called the city of a Thousand Minarets. All political and cultural problems of the Arab world are solved in Cairo. When in Cairo, the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza are not very far. Cairo, like any other large city is suffering from high levels of pollution and traffic. Traffic in Cairo is overwhelming and overcrowded. Egypt is generally a very dry country but for God so much loved Egypt that he gave them River Nile as a source of water. It is because of the NileRiver that Cairo development into a city it is. Cairo is one area that has been densely populated even before Christ.

Cairo - All political and cultural problems of the Arab world are solved in Cairo. Nile, the world's longest river run through the city. Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Cairo - All political and cultural problems of the Arab world are solved in Cairo. Nile, the world's longest river run through the city. Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Delhi – India

With a population of 13 million people and a population density of 29,000 people per square kilometre, Delhi is no doubt one of the world’s most populated cities. Look at that population density of 29,000 people per kilometre – if a coin falls down on the street you won’t see it again. Delhi also includes New Delhi, which is the capital of India where the decisions that matters to Indians are made. Indians have been inhibiting this city for more than 600 years before the birth of Christ. Today, Delhi is a respected cultural, political, and commercial center.

Delhi has the highest percentage of the crimes rates – crimes against women and crimes against children in the whole of India.

New Delhi - The North Block which houses key government offices - built during the British Raj. Image credit wikipedia commons.

New Delhi - The North Block which houses key government offices - built during the British Raj. Image credit wikipedia commons.

Wuhan – China

Wuhan, China is the most populous city in central China with a population of 8.1 million people and a population density of 21,000 people per square kilometre. Wuhan is the thoroughfare of nine provinces – several railways, roads and expressways pass through Wuhan city. In spite of the Wuhan having largely been destroyed by US firebombing of December 1944 and several devastating floods, the city has managed to keep its population numbers high. Wuhan is the city of the YellowCraneTower which is a tourist attraction. YellowCraneTower was first built in 220 AD.

Wuhan - the city of the Yellow Crane Tower. Image Credi - Wikimedia Commons

Wuhan - the city of the Yellow Crane Tower. Image Credi - Wikimedia Commons

New York City

New York City is the most populous city in United States of America with a population of 8.5 million people and a population density of 10,500 people per square kilometre. New York City has been for a very long time the gateway for immigration to the US. When people from outside US think of going to America, they think of New York City. The city is a very important financial, cultural, transportation and manufacturing center for the Americans as well as the rest of the world at large - the New York Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in the world. These factors have given the city as well as the country sufficient financial strength to be able to maneuver with problems of huge population numbers. You should therefore not be worrying much with population and population density in this city - perhaps not until when they mention that numbers are strength which can easily be translated into power.

New York City has the Statue of Liberty which was given to Americans free by France to mark the centennial of the American declaration of independence. New York City is one city which has the most extensive transportation infrastructures in the world. If one would critically look at the population size of New York city in comparison to other cities in the world, one will notice that the city has low automobile use and high transit utility which makes New York the most energy efficient city in the world – emissions of greenhouse gasses is very low relative to other highly populated cities in the world. This city is also one of the few cities with high population density where crime rates have progressively been going down.

New York Midtown Manhattan - Image Credit: DAVID ILIFF  Wikipedia Commons

New York Midtown Manhattan - Image Credit: DAVID ILIFF Wikipedia Commons

Your City Has Not Been Left Out

But just incase you may not feel that your city has been left out in the title of the world’s most populated cities and world’s most densely populated cities, here below is a listing of the most populated cities in the world. Remember that high population numbers are not good numbers to be proud of when it comes to the quality of life for the people – unless a time will come when we shall start thinking that numbers are strength.

The figures below shows the Rank, city name, country, population and population density per square kilometre.

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1. Dhaka, Bangladesh, population - 7,000,940 and density - 45,461

2. Cairo, Egypt, population - 6,758,581 and density - 31,582

3. Delhi, India, population - 12,259,230 and density - 28,438

4. Kolkata, India, population - 5,080,519 and density - 27,462

5. Chennai, India, population - 4,590,267 and density - 24,547

6. Hyderabad, India, population - 4,025,335 and density - 23,403

7. Mumbai, India, population - 13,922,125 and density - 23,088

8. Wuhan, China, population - 8,001,541 and density - 20,004

9. Ahmedabad, India, population - 3,913,793 and density - 19,185

10. Seoul, South Korea, population - 10,456,034 and density - 17,271

11. Buenos Aires, Argentina, population - 3,050,728 and density - 15,028

12. Tokyo, Japan, population - 8,795,000 and density - 14,254

13. Surat, India, population - 4,523,022 and density - 13,852

14. Jakarta, Indonesia, population - 8,489,910 and density - 12,738

15. Kanpur, India, population - 3,144,267 and density - 11,776

16. New York City, US, population - 8,363,710 and density - 10,452

17. Tehran, Iran, population - 7,873,000 and density - 10,359

18. Moscow, Russia, population - 10,508,971 and density - 9,722

19. Yokohama, Japan, population - 3,670,000 and density - 8,398

20. Bangalore, India, population - 5,840,155 and density - 8,231

21. Lagos, Nigeria, population - 7,937,932 and density - 7,938

22. Beijing, China, population - 10,123,000 and density - 7,400

23. São Paulo, Brazil, population - 11,037,593 and density - 7,247

24. Pune, India, population - 3,337,481 and density - 7,214

25. Shanghai, China, population - 13,831,900 and density - 7,174

26. Yangon, Myanmar, population - 4,088,000 and density - 6,828

27. Singapore, Singapore, population - 4,987,600 and density - 6,814

28. Hong Kong, China, population - 7,008,900 and density - 6,418

29. Jaipur, India, population - 3,102,808 and density - 6,398

30. Istanbul, Turkey, population - 11,372,613 and density - 6,211

31. Mexico City, Mexico, population - 8,841,916 and density - 5,954

32. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, population - 4,465,000 and density - 5,581

33. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, population - 6,186,710 and density - 5,234

34. London, United Kingdom, population - 7,556,900 and density - 4,863

35. Busan, South Korea, population - 3,596,076 and density - 4,697

36. Madrid, Spain, population - 3,213,271 and density - 4,604

37. Bogotá, Colombia, population - 7,259,597 and density - 4,566

38. Bangkok, Thailand, population - 7,025,000 and density - 4,478

39. Nairobi, Kenya, population - 3,038,553 and density - 4,366

40. Berlin, Germany, population - 3,426,354 and density - 3,842

41. Karachi, Pakistan, population - 12,991,000 and density - 3,683

42.Lahore, Pakistan, population - 318,745 and density - 3,566

43. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, population - 7,123,340 and density - 3,401

44. Saint Petersburg, Russia, population - 581,854 and density - 3,184

45. Los Angeles, United States, population - 3,849,378 and density - 2,980

46. Lima, Peru, population - 7,605,742 and density - 2,848

47. Tianjin, China, population - 5,800,000 and density - 2,820

48. Santiago, Chile, population - 5,012,973 and density - 2,469

49. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, population - 3,012,000 and density - 2,425

50. Johannesburg, South Africa, population - 3,888,180 and density - 2,364

51. Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, population - 3,802,000 and density - 1,794

52. Guangzhou, China, population - 6,367,700 and density - 1,657

53. Alexandria, Egypt, population - 4,110,015 and density - 1,611

54. Ankara, Turkey, population - 3,901,201 and density - 1,551

55. Durban, South Africa, population - 3,468,086 and density - 1,513

56. Cape Town, South Africa, population - 3,497,097 and density - 1,424

57. Shenyang, China, population - 4,101,197 and density - 1,173

58. Chongqing, China, population - 4,776,027 and density - 1,057

59. Pyongyang, North Korea, population - 3,255,388 and density - 1,019

60. Kinshasa, DR Congo, population - 7,843,000 and density - 787

You now have seen how your city is doing. What do you think of your city?

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nicomp really from Ohio, USA on February 17, 2012:

"You must have heard that the poor continues to get poorer whilst the rich continues to get richer. That’s how this capitalist world is."

Ummm... No. In a free market with a free press and some semblance of elected representative government, people move between the classes all the time.

ngureco (author) on January 21, 2012:

@ploc. Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kinshasa is located on the Congo River.

ploc on January 21, 2012:

Common you said you talk only about city (withou metroplitan area but you considered Kinshasa as a 7M of inhabitant cities .... this is the procince

justin on December 11, 2011:

My village has 12,258 people (2011 census) and its size is 1.1 sq. miles. The population density is 11,144 people. To nearest ten.

alex on October 08, 2011:

y does it not say y it is so densely populated?


Otherwise it is OK


GT on October 03, 2011:

What about Kathmandu?

Paul Cronin from Winnipeg on September 01, 2011:

Yow, those are scary numbers, I'm so grateful to live where we are. I don't think we'd be in the top 1000 cities for density. We are also lucky to live in the today's world, might be a very congested planet short of resources in a few hundred more years. Thanks for sharing this very informative hub! Voted Up and Interesting!

Akash on August 01, 2011:

Great Job.

The population of Dhaka City is supposed to be more than the mentioned figure. In that case the density may increased.

Alexa on April 18, 2011:

What about Bucharest?

Bucharest has probably the highest density from Europe's capitals. It is about 9.000.

Camaron Elliott from San Diego on March 10, 2011:

Great hub, thanks for sharing this!

Ricardo deFlor on January 17, 2011:

Where's Taipei? I live here now but originaly from Brazil, I am sure Taipei must be inside de 20 most...

ds on August 27, 2010:

Bucharest is missing: population 1,944,367; density 8,510

saket71 from Delhi, India on July 18, 2010:

Nice and well researched hub. Great job.

meharkarim@hotmai from karachi on July 09, 2010:


lizy22 on March 19, 2010:

Great job. Thanks for this information.........keep it up

hafeezrm from Pakistan on February 26, 2010:

I agree with MiguelAngel. I have been to Mexico City and found it awesome. Its popultion was reportedly 25 million, almost 25% of the country population.

The cities are spreading left and right, many areas are not covered by the City Governments but are, neverthelss, a part of the City.

I am living at Karachi, Pakistan and every now and then I run into an area never seen or heard before. But it is there, putting pressure on the city resources.

It is good hub and brought back old memories as I have been to nearly all places mentioned therein.

ngureco (author) on November 23, 2009:


The populations listed are for the city proper and not for the metropolitan area. Mexico is position 31 based on population density of Mexico city proper.

MiguelAngel from Desert Hot Springs, Coachella Valley on November 23, 2009:

Being originally from Mexico I have always known Mexico City to be one of the largest cities in the world. In this Hub, Mexico City is placed as 31st largest. The figure for population you have is only for the Federal District (D.F.) which is the country's capital,a political boundary in which the government offices reside, but what in Wikipedia is called the Metro area, which encompases all of Mexico City, the population is 19.331.365 people (2005), almost 20 percent of the country's population. I am wondering if there was a similar situation, in which political boundaries were taken into consideration, when placing other cities in your list; for instance, for NY City, did you just mean Manhattan? If not, Mexico City, should be placed accordingly.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on November 22, 2009:

You have done a great job and fantastic research. Very interesting. Thank you.

JamesBenjaminJrMD from USA on November 21, 2009:

Interesting. An excellent read. Continue to write.

ngureco (author) on November 21, 2009:

Thank you, Tom Cornett and saurabhpande. Nagpur is the 13th largest city in India with a population of 2,500,000

saurabhpande on November 21, 2009:

I can add one more

Nagpur, India population - more than 50,00,000

Tom Cornett from Ohio on November 21, 2009:

Interesting hub....great job! :)

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