The chart above shows the urban area of each city with a population of over one million with an area over 250 square miles while the chart below shows all urban areas with a population of over one million with an area under 250 square miles. The urban area has been normalized so as to avoid any inconsistencies with how cities and their metropolitan areas are defined by their governments. Each urban area has similar characteristics making this the definitive method with which to compare cities across various countries. Most large US cities have an urban area of over 250 square miles and populate the above chart while most EU cities have an urban area of under 250 square miles and thus populate the chart below.
- The difference between the urban area with the greatest size, New York City, and the urban area with the least, Genoa, is 4,639 square miles (12,014.95 square kilometers).
- New York City has 155.63 times the urban area that Genoa does.
- The median size of urban area with a minimum population of one million in the 28 EU states is 119.00 square miles (308.21 square kilometers) and the mean 188.57 square miles (488.39 square kilometers).
- The median size of urban area with a minimum population of one million in the 50 US states is 521.50 square miles (1,350.68 square kilometers) and the mean 816.39 square miles (2,114.45 square kilometers).
- The median size of urban area with a minimum population of one million in the 78 EU and US states is 255.00 square miles (660.45 square kilometers) and the mean 466.77 square miles (1,208.92 square kilometers).
- Data is from 2020.
- The methodology for how these urban areas have been defined can be found in the source link below. As of this writing this is the most reliable way to compare urban areas throughout the world.
- Some of these urban areas span several states, and the state that is being used here is the one where the core of the urban area is located. For instance, New Jersey has parts of the New York City and Philadelphia urban area within it but both of those cores are located in the states of New York and Pennsylvania and are thus included in those states and not New Jersey. This is how Washington DC's urban area size is larger than Washington DC itself.
- All figures are rounded to the nearest whole.
Only 56 of the 78 EU and US states and Washington DC have urban areas with at least one million people. Of these, only EU states have more than ten urban areas with a population of over one million. These include Germany with 16; the United Kingdom with 14; and France, Italy, and Spain with 11 each. The US states with the most urban areas with over one million people are California and Florida with seven each.
New York City makes up over one-twentieth of the total area of EU and US urban areas with over one million inhabitants at 5.99%. It, along with Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles make up one-fifth of the total area of EU and US urban areas with over one million inhabitants at 21.00%. Adding in Washington DC and Philadelphia brings it up to over one-quarter at 26.41%.
All but one of the 19 urban areas with a population of over one million people that have an urban area of over 1,000 square miles are located in the US. All 37 of the urban areas that have an area less than 100 square miles are located in the EU.
Texas has the largest area covered by its urban areas of over one million people with a total of 5,682 square miles (14,716.31 square kilometers) distributed among its six urban areas. In the EU, Germany has the largest area covered by its urban areas of over one million people with a total of 3,687 square miles (9,549.29 square kilometers) distributed among its 16 urban areas.
Cyprus, Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia in the EU do not have any urban areas with a population of over one million inhabitants. Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming in the US do not have any urban areas with a population of over one million inhabitants.
Demographia. 2021. "Demographia World Urban Areas: 16th Annual Edition." Accessed March 9, 2021. http://demographia.com/db-worldua.pdf.