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10 Largest U.S. Cities by Population

February 12th, 2016 - 9:51 AM

What city has the largest population?

Coming in at 8.1 million people, New York is the largest US city. When we looked further into the results, we were surprised at which cities made the list. In fact, we searched beyond the 10 largest US cities by population as defined by 2010 U.S. Census, and also looked at the 10 largest metro areas. Take a peek at the places with the largest populations and share the infographics below!

US city populations

10 Largest U.S. Cities by Population

The data in the U.S. Census Bureau is reported from a national count and post-count survey. The areas reported are according to the Census cartographic boundaries. Here are the 10 largest US cities:

1.    New York City, NY – 8,174,959

It’s no surprise that NYC is the most populated city in America. New York is so big that it’s over twice the size of the next largest city! Along with being a global power city leading the way in finance, it’s also a forerunner in media, fashion, technology, and entertainment. Whether you call it the Big Apple, the Capital of the World, or the Empire City, you could join the 8.1 million residents who call it home.

2.    Los Angeles, CA – 3,792,657

While the 2010 census shows more people moving out of California than into the state (about 100,000 more,  actually), L.A. is still the second largest city in the country. If you’re into warm weather, entertainment, and sharing the city with 3.8 million people, the “Creative Capital of the World” might be the city for you!

3.    Chicago, IL – 2,695,598

The Windy City’s downtown area is one of the fastest growing in the nation – more than 48,000 people moved to downtown Chicago between 2000 and 2010. Along with being home to 2.7 million people, Chicago is also home to one of the world’s last free zoos!

4. Houston, TX – 2,096,661

Houston is the largest city in the big state of Texas. If you’re looking for a city that is culturally diverse, you may be intrigued to know that there are more than 90 languages spoken among the 2.1 million residents.

5. Philadelphia, PA – 1,526,006

Philadelphia is the second largest city on the East Coast (behind NYC), and the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. With historical landmarks such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, you’ll quickly see why 1.5 million people find this city such a fascinating place to live.

6. Phoenix, AZ – 1,447,617

Because the city has a total area of 517.9 square miles (about 2,797 people per square mile), the 1.4 million residents of Phoenix have plenty of room to move around! Perhaps a move to the Valley of the Sun will provide the city life you’re looking for without all the crowding.

7. San Antonio, TX – 1,327,556

Known for SeaWorld, Six Flags, the Alamo, and its downtown River Walk, the 1.3 million San Antonio residents have plenty to enjoy! The area also has a strong military presence – Fort Sam Houston, Randolph AFB, and Lackland AFB make up the Joint Base San Antonio.

8. San Diego, CA – 1,301,621

As the second largest city in California (behind L.A.), San Diego is known for balmy weather, beautiful beaches, and U.S. Navy presence. No wonder more than 1.3 million people choose to live here!. If you’re craving sun, sand, and adventure, San Diego may be for you.

9. Dallas, TX – 1,197,792

According to this Business Journal article, Dallas is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation, with a population of 1.1 million in 2010. Sources report that Dallas adds another person every four minutes and 10 seconds. Will you be the next person to move to the “Big D?”

10. San Jose, CA – 945,942

The “Capital of Silicon Valley” is seriously close to reaching one million residents, and we can see why! San Jose gets 301 days of sunshine per year on average, so you can see why more and more people are moving to the city.>

Check out the infographic below to see how the 10 largest USA cities stack up. If you find it interesting, we’d love for you to share it with your friends!

US city populations

More populations of U.S. cities​

Now that you know the top 10 largest cities in the U.S., check out which cities are close to reaching the one million mark:

Which metro areas are the largest in the US?

The Census Bureau uses the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget. These areas include one or more adjacent counties with an urban core area of at least 50,000.  There are a total of 366 defined MSAs.

Top 10 Largest Metropolitan Areas

1.    New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – 19,567,410

Naturally, since New York was so much bigger than any city, the New York Metropolitan area is the largest by far. It takes a lot of public transportation to serve all those people. In fact, if the tracks of the NYC Transit trains were laid end to end, they would reach from New York to Chicago!

2.    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA – 12,828,837

With the beautiful weather, it’s no mystery why so many people call the Southland, or Metropolitan Los Angeles, home. The skies may be blue, but the people go green – nearly 14% of LA’s energy comes from renewable resources and 80% of the city’s trash trucks run on natural gas.

3.    Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (9,461,105)

The Chicago metro, or Chicagoland, holds about 75% of Illinois’ population, but only 3% of its land mass. This means the population density is 1,318 per square mile. The area is also home to the largest public library in the world, the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago.

4.    Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (6,426,214)​

This area is commonly called DFW or the Metroplex. It spans a large area, being larger in area than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. The Metroplex is also home to the DFW airport, which is the second largest airport in the world, having 62.9 million passengers in 2014.

5.    Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX (5,920,416)

Greater Houston is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. When you add this area to DFW, Austin and San Antonio, you get the giant Texas Triangle, or Texaplex, which is home to 70% of all Texans. 

6.    Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (5,965,343)

Residents call this area the Delaware Valley or “Greater Philadelphia,” depending on who you ask. It borders the New York metro area, giving residents a plethora of options for careers and entertainment. There's always a game to watch, as this is the home of five professional sports leagues. 

7.    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (5,636,232)

This is the largest metro area in the Southeast region, and it has a rich history. The Department of Homeland Security calls this area the National Capital Region, while many locals call it the D.C. Area or DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia). There are over 140,000 government employees living in this area.

8.    Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (5,564,635)

This region, called South Florida, includes the three largest counties in the state. If you want to move here, you’re in luck. While there are over 2.3 million houses, around 13% of them are vacant, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to live.

9.    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (5,286,728)

Metro Atlanta spans over 30 counties and is home to over half of the population of Georgia. With the world’s largest fiber-optic bundles, it’s the most wired city in the US. It’s also home to several TV stations, with CNN, Turner Broadcasting, and The Weather Channel calling this area home.

10. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH (4,552,402)​

Most people call the area surrounding the city as Metro Boston, but the entire MSA covers most of the eastern third of Massachusetts. Many “firsts” happened here – the first public beach, the first subway, the oldest public park, and the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.

Check out the heat map of the 10 largest metro areas below. This infographic gives an insight into these 10 largest cities. Share it with your friends!

the largest US cities and metro areas

Do you live in one of the largest cities in the U.S.?

We would love to hear from you! Tell us what new residents should expect when they move to your area – just leave a comment below.