Humans are drawn to the noise of a city, and over the last few centuries, major cities have simply become the epicenter for how we as people define our working and social life. As of 2009, the urban population has exceeded the rural one, and the world has adapted to "city life." We've come a long way, in comparison to the early 1800s, when only 10% of the world lived in cities, to the now 80% of people that live in American cities. However, living in a city isn't for everyone - though it definitely is for enough people to inflate the number of people living in these metropolises. So naturally, the question of "what is the world's largest city?" remains.
With this question in mind, we must decide what factors determine the answer. According to Live Science, there are two ways to calculate a city's size. First, to measure the population, and secondly, to determine its geographical area. Per Kevin Ward, a professor of human geography at the University of Manchester in the U.K., "Both are as bad and as good as each other... They capture different aspects of urban change and transformation. With some cities building upwards and creating increased densification, one might expect some cities to grow their population without necessarily expanding their physical imprint." He also suggested a third option: to assess a city's overall cultural impact on the rest of the world. With this information, Ward said, one could say "Paris, London, or New York" to be the "biggest."
According to WorldAtlas and World Population Review, New York City can be named the world's largest city in the world based on its area. However, both outlets have different statistics on the exact square miles because, according to Ward, there is really no way of understanding where a city begins and ends. "What constitutes a 'city' varies from one country to another." However, based on population, New York City and its 8,177,020 people (2022) is ranked 45 among the world's most populous cities, according to World Population Review.
In terms of the most populated city, according to Statista, Toyko is the world's largest city, with around 39,105,000. Following Toyko is Jakarta, Indonesia, with an estimated 35,362,000, and in third place is Delhi, India, with a popular of 31,870,000. At this rate, according to Ward, by 2050, almost 70% of the entire world will be living in cities. Until then, stay tuned.