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Mexico City - the largest?



Paul Simon raises a doubt which has bothered me:

Amazing how many folks claim their city is "the largest" in the world. I've heard this claim about Tokyo, New York, Chongqing, Calcutta, Mexico DF, and others. Truth is it depends on our definition. Considerations are:

  • land versus population Some cities such as Vineland, NJ and Jacksonville, FL are huge in land but not too populous.
  • administrative area versus actual urban area Chinese and South Korean "cities" are actually self-governing mini-provinces and include satillite cities, farms, forests and more-e.g. Chongqing has a purported population of 30 million but the "city" is actually hundreds of kilometers across, more of a province carved out of Sichuan. (In the USA we often see the opposite. For instance, New York City is officially 7-8 million, I think (didn't see latest census figures) but, where NYC stops, many other large cities are contiguous (Yonkers, Jersey City, Newark, etc etc.) Urban population is way over 15 million.
  • census versus actual population In many cities like Moscow, Bombay, Rio, Shanghai (yes and Mexico City) there are a LOT of uncounted or unregistered people in a floating population, often of many millions. Anyone got an accurate count from the favelas of Brazil? In my recent home of Shenyang, PRC, the official census said 7 million but officials admitted about another million "blind flow-ers".

So, is Mexico, DF the largest city? I doubt anyone could say for certain.

Ronald Hilton - 8/4/01


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