|Technical notes -
Population of capital cities and cities of 100,000 and more inhabitants
This website presents the population
of capital cities and cities of 100 000 and more inhabitants for
the latest available year.
Description of variables: Since the way in which
cities are delimited differs from one country or area to another,
efforts have been made to include in the table not only data for
the so-called city proper but also those for the urban agglomeration,
if such exists.
City proper is defined as a locality with legally
fixed boundaries and an administratively recognized urban status
that is usually characterized by some form of local government.
Urban agglomeration has been defined as comprising
the city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly
settled territory lying outside of, but adjacent to, the city boundaries.
In addition, for some countries or areas, the data
relate to entire administrative divisions known, for example, as
shi or municipios which are composed of a populated centre and adjoining
territory, some of which may contain other quite separate urban
localities or be distinctively rural in character.
Where possible the surface area of the city or
urban agglomeration is shown at the end of the table.
City names are presented in the original language
of the country or area in which the cities are located. In cases
where the original names are not in the Roman alphabet, they have
been romanized. Cities are listed in English alphabetical order.
Capital cities are shown in the table regardless
of their population size. The names of the capital cities are printed
in capital letters. The designation of any specific city as a capital
city is done solely on the basis of the designation as reported
by the country or area.
For other cities, the table covers those with a
population of 100 000 and more. The 100 000 limit refers to the
urban agglomeration, and not to the city proper, which may be smaller.
The reference date of each population figure appears
in the stub of the table. Estimates based on results of sample surveys
and city censuses as well as those derived from other sources are
identified by footnote.
Reliability of data: Specific information is generally
not available on the method of constructing population estimates
on their reliability for cities or urban agglomerations presented
in this table. Nevertheless, the principles used in determining
the reliability of the data are the same as those used for the total
Data from population censuses, sample surveys and
city censuses are considered to be reliable and, therefore, set
in roman type. Other estimates are considered to be reliable or
less reliable on the basis of the reliability of the 2000 estimate
of the total mid-year population.
In brief, mid-year population estimates are considered
reliable if they are based on a complete census (or a sample survey),
and have been adjusted by a continuous population register or adjusted
on the basis of the calculated balance of births, deaths, and migration.
Limitations: Statistics on the population of capital
cities and cities of 100 000 and more inhabitants are subject to
the same qualifications as have been set forth for population statistics
in general as discussed in section 3 of the Technical Notes.
International comparability of data on city population
is limited to a great extent by variations in national concepts.
Although an effort is made to reduce the sources of non-comparability
somewhat by presenting the data in the table in terms of both city
proper and urban agglomeration, many serious problems of comparability
Data presented in the "city proper" column
for some countries represent an urban administrative area legally
distinguished from surrounding rural territory, while for other
countries these data represent a commune or similar small administrative
unit. In still other countries such administrative units may be
relatively extensive and thereby include considerable territory
beyond the urban centre itself.
City data are also especially affected by whether
the data are expressed in terms of the de facto or de jure population
of the city as well as variations among countries in how each of
these concepts is applied. With reference to the total population,
the difference between the de facto and de jure population is discussed
at length in section 3.1.1 of the Technical Notes.
Data on city populations based on intercensal estimates
present even more problems than census data. Comparability is impaired
by the different methods used in making the estimates and by the
lack of precision possible in applying any given method. For example,
it is far more difficult to apply the component method of estimating
population growth to cities than it is to entire countries.
Births and deaths occurring in the cities do not
all originate in the population present in or resident of that area.
Therefore, the use of natural increase to estimate the probable
size of the city population is a potential source of error. Internal
migration is a second estimating component that cannot be measured
with accuracy in many areas. Because of these factors, estimates
in this table may be less valuable in general and in particular
limited for purposes of international comparisons.
Furthermore, because the sources of these data
include censuses (national or city), surveys and estimates, the
years to which they refer vary widely. In addition, because city
boundaries may alter over time, comparisons of data for different
years should be carried out with caution.
The designations used and the presentation of
the material at this Internet World Wide Web site do not imply the
expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat
of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country,
territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation
of its frontiers or boundaries. The term "country" as
used here also refers, as appropriate to territories or areas.