Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Population of Every Urban Centre in the World with more than 100,000 Inhabitants in the Year 1900

Contents


1 Introduction
2 Methods of Collection
3 Legend
4 Population Data
5 Observations
  • 5.1 Number of Urban Centres per Country
  • 5.2 Number of Urban Centres by Modern Day Political Divisions
  • 5.3 Number of Urban Centres per Continent
  • 5.4 Compared to Today's Population Data (City Proper)
  • 5.5 Compared to Today's Urban Population Data (Urban Amalgamation)
  • 5.6 An Interactive Map of the Urban Centres
6 Further Reading and Related Articles
7 References

1 Introduction


(Note: I'm currently in the process of updating and revising this article c. 18/07/2014
Reference numbers being updated as of 14/10/2014)

The further back in time you go the more difficult it is to find reliable comprehensive sources of populations data. I've an interest in how the world was in the year 1900 & I've been collecting this data since around 2011. Every now & then I've been releasing some of the data I've collected to the public (Canada + USA communities with more than 5,000 people in 1900). Much of it I haven't released since it is not complete but I suppose it may never be. In the list included in this article I've attempted to display all the cities in the world that had a population of more than 100,000 inhabitants in the year 1900. 


Stanford, E. (1900). Stanford's Library Map of the World on Merctor's Projection. Retrieved from the David Rumsey Collection


2 Methods of Collection


Population data from different sources will vary due to different methods used to calculate the population. For instance, some may quote official figures from 1900, others may calculate how many people once lived within the contemporary boundaries of the city today. Others may estimate or try to overcome potential inaccuracies that might be present in what figures we have available today from the past. Some may include or exclude suburbs. 

The bulk of the data in this article came from three sources. Biguzzi, A. (2013) World city pop. [1], Rand McNally and Company. (1903). Rand McNally & Co.'s Enlarged Business Atlas and Shippers' Guide., [2] and Lahmeyer, J. (2006). Population statistics. [3]. First I collected from sources 1 and 3, then I supplemented them with data from the indices of Rand McNally's 1903 atlas which cites population figures.

The data used for the American urban centres came from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1900). [4]. It appears to be a complete source of information for the majority of the American urban centres.

The data collected for the British Empire came from Darling & son Ltd (1901). Census of the British Empire. [5]. Since Britain and its dominions did censuses during the second year of each decade opposed to the USA which did them during the first year, the population data for the British Empire is for 1901 opposed to 1900 for the USA and in many other places.

If any of my population data isn't from 1900 or 1901 I indicate the closest year I could find in brackets beside the population figure. Sometimes I include an interesting population related note in the brackets as well. If you happen to know of any sources of data that would be great to add to my collection please let me know!


3 Legend


  • Underlined: The city is still part of the same country today as it was in 1900. Therefore it likely was not part of a colony. If it is no longer part of the same country as 1900 I include in brackets the current name of the country it is presently found in. 
  • Bold: Capital City; I don't differentiate if it used to be a capital or has only become a capital in more recent history. 
  • Top 9 countries with the most urban centres are colour coded as follows (included is the population in 1900 and the number of urban centres):

    British Empire - 419,920,000 - 83
    United States
     - 76,212,168 - 40
    Germany
     - 56,000,000 - 31
    Qing Dynasty (China) - 415,001,488 - 25
    Russian Empire
     - 132,000,000 - 19
    French Empire - 76,090,000 - 19
    Italy
     - 32,000,000 - 11
    Austria-Hungary
     - 51,356,465 - 9
    Ottoman Empire 
     - 30,860,000 - 9
  • At the end of each line I indicate [reference numbers] that correspond to the articles listed in the final "References" section.


4 Population Data


Again, this is a work in progress so from time to time I'll be updating the data as I find new information. Information last updated: 03/07/2014


  1. London, England, UK: 4,670,177 [x] 4,536,541 [5] 4,536,063 [2]
  2. New York City, New York, USA: 3,437,202 [4]
  3. Paris, France: 2,714,068
  4. Berlin, Germany: 1,888,848
  5. Vienna, Austria-Hungary (Austria): 1,769,137 1,635,647 [2]
  6. Chicago, Illinois, USA: 1,698,575 [4]
  7. Edo/Yedo (Tokyo), Japan: 1,497,000
  8. Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (Russia): 1,439,400
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: 1,293,697 [4]
  10. Moskow (Moscow), Russian Empire (Russia): 1,170,000
  11. Calcutta (Kolkata), India: 1,026,900 [1] 847,796 [5]
  12. Peking (Beijing), China: 1,000,000 [1]
  13. Oosaka (Osaka), Japan: 970,000
  14. Buenos Ayres (Buenos Aires), Argentina: 950,891 663,854 [2]
  15. Constantinople (Istanbul), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 942,900
  16. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 811,443 522,651 [2]
  17. Bombay (Mumbai), India: 776,006 [5]
  18. Glasgow, Scotland, UK: 761,709 [5] [2]
  19. Warsaw, Russian Empire (Poland): 756,400
  20. Tien-Tsin (Tianjin), China: 750,000
  21. Budapest, Austria-Hungary (Hungary), 733,358 505,763 [2]
  22. Hamburg, Germany: 705,738
  23. Liverpool, England, UK: 684,958 [5] [2]
  24. Foochow (Fuzhou), China: 630,000
  25. Brussels, Belgium: 626,000 570,844 [2, excludes suburbs]
  26. Chung-king (Chongqing), China: 620,000
  27. Shanghae (Shanghai), China: 619,000
  28. Copenhagen, Denmark: 600,000 375,251 [2]
  29. Cairo, Ottoman/British Empires (Egypt): 600,000 [5]
  30. Canton (Guangzhou), China: 585,000 [1]
  31. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: 575,238 [4]
  32. Naples, Italy: 563,500
  33. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: 560,892 [4]
  34. Manchester, England, UK: 543,872 [5] [2]
  35. Madrid, Spain: 539,800
  36. Barcelona, Spain: 530,300
  37. Birmingham, England, UK: 522,204 [5] [2]
  38. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 510,000
  39. Madras (Chennai), India: 509,300 [5]
  40. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: 508,957 [4]
  41. Munich, Germany: 499,000
  42. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: 496,079 [5]
  43. Marseille, France: 491,200
  44. Milan, Italy: 491,500
  45. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: 487,932 [5]
  46. Rome, Italy: 462,800
  47. Leipzig, Germany: 456,100
  48. Wuhan, China: 450,000
  49. Odessa, Russian Empire (Ukraine): 449,000
  50. Hyderabad, India: 448,500 [5]
  51. Lyon, France: 441,800
  52. Leeds, England, UK: 428,968 [5] [2]
  53. Breslau (Wroclaw), Germany (Poland): 422,700
  54. Mexico City, Mexico: 400,000
  55. Dresden, Germany: 396,100
  56. Cleveland, Ohio, USA: 381,768 [4]
  57. Sheffield, England, UK: 380,793 [5] [2]
  58. Cologne, Germany: 372,500
  59. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: 368,000
  60. Kyoto, Japan: 362,000
  61. Lisbon, Portugal: 356,000
  62. Buffalo, New York, USA: 352,387 [4]
  63. Hangchow (Hangzhou), China: 350,000
  64. Belfast, Ireland (Northern Ireland), UK: 348,965 [5] [2] [1.]
  65. Łódź, Russian Empire (Poland): 351,600
  66. San Francisco,California, USA: 342,782 [4]
  67. Turin, Italy: 335,700
  68. Bristol, England, UK: 328,945 [5] [2]
  69. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA: 325,902 [4]
  70. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA: 321,616 [4]
  71. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: 316,837 [5] [2]
  72. Alexandria, Ottoman/British Empires (Egypt): 314,000 [5]
  73. Palermo, Italy: 309,700
  74. Stockholm, Sweden-Norway (Sweden): 300,000
  75. Bangkok, Siam (Thailand): 300,000
  76. Ching tu (Chengdu), China: ~300,000 (400,000 in 1911)
  77. Santiago, Chile: 296,600 256,413 [2]
  78. Riga, Russian Empire (Latvia): 294,000
  79. Dublin, Ireland, UK: 289,108 [5] [2] [1.]
  80. Frankfurt, Germany: 288,989
  81. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA: 287,104 [4]
  82. Detroit, Michigan, USA: 285,704 [4]
  83. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: 285,315 [4]
  84. Hong Kong, (China): 283,978 [5]
  85. Soochow (Suzhou), China: 280,000
  86. Bradford, England, UK: 279,767 [5] [2]
  87. Washington, DC, USA: 278,718 [4]
  88. Antwerp, Belgium: 275,100 282,018 [2]
  89. Nanking (Nanjing), China: 270,000
  90. Montevideo, Uruguay: 268,000 252,000 [2]
  91. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: 267,730 [5]
  92. West Ham, England, UK: 267,358 [5] [2]
  93. Lucknow, India: 264,000 [5]
  94. Nuremberg, Germany: 261,100
  95. Bordeaux, France: 257,500
  96. Ningpo (Ningbo), China: 257,000
  97. Sian (Xi'an), China: 250,000
  98. Kiev, Russian Empire (Ukraine): 247,700 (1897)
  99. Newark, New Jersey, USA: 246,070 [4]
  100. Bucharest, Roumania (Romania): 246,033
  101. Kingston-upon-Hull, England, UK: 240,259 [5] [2]
  102. Sao Paulo, Brazil: 239,820 174,442 [2]
  103. Nottingham, England, UK: 239,743 [5] [2]
  104. Havana, Cuba: 235,981
  105. Hannover (Hanover), Germany: 235,600
  106. Rangoon (Yangôn), India (Burmah/Burma/Myanmar234,881 [5]
  107. Genoa, Italy: 234,700
  108. Changsha, China: 230,000
  109. Magdeburg, Germany: 229,700
  110. Christiania (Oslo), Sweden-Norway (Norway): 227,000
  111. Salford, England, UK: 220,957 [5] [2]
  112. Valencia, Spain: 215,700
  113. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, UK: 215,328 [5] [2]
  114. Düsseldorf, Germany: 213,700
  115. Leicester, England, UK: 211,579 [5] [2]
  116. Lille, France: 210,700
  117. Stettin (Szczecin), Germany (Poland): 210,700
  118. Benares (Vârânasi), India: 209,300 [5]
  119. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: 208,040 [5]
  120. Delhi, India: 207,000 [5]
  121. Chemnitz, Germany: 206,900
  122. Jersey City, New Jersey, USA: 206,433 [4]
  123. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil: 205,813 [3] 174,412 [2] 181,933 [1]
  124. Florence, Italy: 205,600
  125. Louisville, Kentucky, USA: 204,731 [4]
  126. Lahore, India (Pakistan): 203,000 [5]
  127. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: 202,718 [4]
  128. Smyrna (Izmir), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 201,000
  129. Prague, Austria-Hungary (Czech Republic): 200,000 184,109 [2]
  130. Tebriz (Tabriz), Persia (Iran): 200,000
  131. Tehran, Persia (Iran): 200,000 (15,000 in 1795)
  132. Wusih (Wuxi), China: 200,000
  133. Foshan, China: 200,000
  134. Ghent, Belgium: 198,000 [1] 163,030 [2]
  135. Kanpur, India: 197,200 [5]
  136. Kharkov (Kharkiv), Russian Empire (Ukraine): 197,000
  137. King-ki-Tao (Seoul), Korea (South Korea): 195,000
  138. Yokohama, Japan: 193,800
  139. Singapore, (Singapore): 193,089 [5]
  140. Manila, Philippines: 190,000 [1]
  141. Charlottenburg (Annexed by Berlin), Germany: 189,300
  142. Portsmouth, England, UK: 189,160 [5] [2]
  143. Âgra, India: 188,300 [5]
  144. Königsberg (Kaliningrad), Germany (Russia): 188,000
  145. Ahmadâbâd (Ahmedabad), India: 185,889 [5]
  146. Mandalay, India (Burmah/Burma/Myanmar: 183,800 [5]
  147. Haag (The Hague), The Netherlands: 180,000 (1895)
  148. Tashkand (Tashkent), Russian Empire (Uzbekistan): 180,000
  149. Baku, Russian Empire (Azerbaijan): 179,000
  150. Stuttgart, Germany: 176,700
  151. Providence, Rhode Island, USA: 175,597 [4]
  152. Tiflis (Tbilisi), Russian Empire (Georgia): 175,000
  153. Oporto (Porto), Portugal: 172,400
  154. Allahâbâd, India: 172,000 [5]
  155. Venice, Italy: 171,000
  156. Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), French Indochina (Vietnam): 170,000 [1]
  157. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: 169,164 [4]
  158. Gratz (Graz), Austria-Hungary (Austria): 168,808 113,540 [2]
  159. Bolton, England, UK: 168,205 [5] [2]
  160. Chinkiang (Zhenjiang), China: 168,000
  161. Damascus, Ottoman Empire (Syria): 165,000
  162. Cardiff, Wales, UK: 164,333 [5] [2]
  163. Kansas City, Missouri, USA: 163,752 [4]
  164. Bremen, Germany: 163,300
  165. St. Paul, Minnesota, USA: 163,065 [4]
  166. Rochester, New York, USA: 162,608 [4]
  167. Amritsir (Amritsar), India: 162,500 [5]
  168. Adelaide, South Australia, Australia: 162,261 [5]
  169. Vilna (Vilnius), Russian Empire (Lithuania): 162,600
  170. Altona (Annexed by Hamburg), Germany: 161,500
  171. Kôbe, Japan: 161,100
  172. Dundee, Scotland, UK: 161,000 [5] [2]
  173. Bangalore, India: 161,000 [5]
  174. Jypoor (Jaipur), India: 160,200 [5]
  175. Mukden (Shenyang), China: 160,000
  176. Lemberg (Lviv), Austria-Hungary (Ukraine): 159,000 [1] 128,419 [2]
  177. Liège, Belgium: 157,800 171,031 [2]
  178. Hâora (Howrah - twin city with Kolkata), India: 157,594 [5]
  179. Elberfeld (Wuppertal), Germany: 157,000
  180. Halle (Saale), Germany: 156,600
  181. Tunis, Tunisia (French Empire): 156,000
  182. Johannesburg, South Africa: 155,642 (1904) [5]
  183. Poonah (Pune), India: 154,000 [5]
  184. Colombo, Sri Lanka: 153,691 [5]
  185. Aberdeen, Scotland, UK: 153,114 [5] [2]
  186. Bologna, Italy: 152,000
  187. Strasbourg, Germany (France): 151,000
  188. Zürich, Switzerland: 150,700
  189. Nangasaki (Nagasaki), Japan: 150,000
  190. Nanchang, China: 150,000
  191. Ibadan, Nigeria: 150,000 [5]
  192. Kai-fong (Kaifeng), China: 150,000
  193. Bagdad (Baghdad), Ottoman Empire (Iraq): 150,000
  194. Toulouse, France: 149,800
  195. Messina, Italy: 149,800
  196. Catania, Italy: 149,300
  197. Cape Town, South Africa: 148,000 [5]
  198. Seville, Spain: 147,300
  199. Surabaya, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 146,900
  200. Saint-Étienne, France: 146,600
  201. Sunderland, England, UK: 146,565 [5] [2]
  202. Valparaiso, Chile: 145,000 122,447 [2]
  203. Saratov, Russian Empire (Russia): 143,000
  204. Rostov-on-Don, Russian Empire (Russia): 142,000
  205. Dortmund, Germany: 142,000
  206. Barmen (Wuppertal), Germany: 141,900
  207. Mannheim, Germany: 141,100
  208. Danzig (Gdansk), Germany (Poland): 140,600
  209. Algiers, Algeria (French Empire): 140,000
  210. Salonica (Thessaloniki), Ottoman Empire (Greece): 140,000
  211. Gwalior, India: 139,000 [5]
  212. Gelsenkirchen, Germany: 138,000
  213. Oldham, England, UK: 137,238 [5] [2]
  214. Brunn (Brno), Austria-Hungary (Czech Republic): 137,000 [1]
  215. Tsinan (Jinan), China: 135,000
  216. Ekaterinoslav (Dnipropetrovsk), Russian Empire (Ukraine): 135,000
  217. Patna, India: 134,800 [5]
  218. Croydon, England, UK: 133,885 [5] [2]
  219. Denver, Colorado, USA: 133,859 [4]
  220. Nantes, France: 133,000
  221. Aachen, Germany: 132,200
  222. Trieste, Austria-Hungary (Italy): 132,000 [1] 158,344 [2]
  223. Toledo, Ohio, USA: 131,822 [4]
  224. Nagoya, Japan: 131,500
  225. Bareilly, India: 131,200 [5]
  226. Málaga, Spain: 131,100
  227. Gottenburg (Gothenburg), Sweden-Norway (Sweden): 130,600
  228. Le Havre, France: 130,200
  229. Kazan, Russian Empire (Russia): 131,500
  230. Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA: 129,896 [4]
  231. Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany: 128,200
  232. Astrakhan, Russian Empire (Russia): 128,000
  233. Nagpoor (Nâgpur), India: 127,700 [5]
  234. Blackburn, England, UK: 127,527 [5] [2]
  235. Halab (Aleppo), Ottoman Empire (Syria): 127,200
  236. Kichenau (Chisinau), Russian Empire (Moldova): 125,800
  237. Columbus, Ohio, USA: 125,560 [4]
  238. Roubaix, France: 124,400
  239. Brighton, England, UK: 123,478 [5] [2]
  240. Athens, Greece: 123,000 (1896) (4,000 in 1833)
  241. Kashmir (Srînagar), India: 122,600 [5]
  242. Hiroshima, Japan: 122,300 (1898)
  243. Lima, Peru: 122,000 100,000 [2]
  244. Kirinula (Jilin City), China: 120,000
  245. Bogota, Colombia: 120,000 [2] [3] | 105,000 [1] | 110,000
  246. Medina (Marrakech/Marrakesh), Morocco: 120,000
  247. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: 119,428 [5]
  248. Sûrat, India: 119,300 [5]
  249. Essen, Germany: 118,900
  250. Bairut (Beirut), Ottoman Empire (Lebanon): 118,800
  251. Worcester, Massachusetts, USA: 118,421 [4]
  252. Meerut, India: 118,100 [5]
  253. Posan (Poznan), Germany (Poland): 117,000
  254. Rouen, France: 116,300
  255. Batavia (Jakarta) Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 115,000 [1]
  256. Willesden, England, UK: 114,815 [5] [2]
  257. Geneva, Switzerland: 114,500
  258. Karachi, India (Pakistan): 114,000 [1] [5]
  259. Rhondda, Wales, UK: 113,735 [5] [2]
  260. Recife, Brazil: 113,100 111,556 [2]
  261. Preston, England, UK: 112,982 [5] [2]
  262. Rosario, Argentina: 112,462 91,669 [2]
  263. Norwich, England, UK: 111,728 [5] [2]
  264. Birkenhead, England, UK: 110,926 [5] [2]
  265. Lanchu (Lanzhou), China: 110,000
  266. Tula, Russian Empire (Russia): 110,000
  267. Gateshead, England, UK: 109,887 [5] [2]
  268. Basel, Switzerland: 109,800
  269. Surakarta (Solo), Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 109,500
  270. Reims, France: 108,400
  271. Syracuse, New York, USA: 108,374 [4]
  272. New Haven, Connecticut, USA: 108,027 [4]
  273. Krakow, Austria-Hungary (Poland): 108,000 [1]
  274. Kiel, Germany: 108,000
  275. Fez (Fes), Morocco: 108,000
  276. Plymwouth, England, UK: 107,509 [5] [2]
  277. Crefeld (Krefeld), Germany: 106,900
  278. Madura (Madurai), India: 106,000 [5]
  279. Kassel, Germany: 106,000
  280. Derby, England, UK: 105,785 [5] [2]
  281. Paterson, New Jersey, USA: 105,171 [4]
  282. Nice, France: 105,109 (1901)
  283. Halifax, England, UK: 104,933 [5] [2]
  284. Southampton, England, UK: 104,911 [5] [2]
  285. Fall River, Massachusetts, USA: 104,863 [4]
  286. Tanjore (Tiruchchirâppalli/Trichinopoly), India: 104,700 [5]
  287. Baroda (Vadodara), India: 103,800 [5]
  288. Ha nôi (Hanoi), French Indochina (Vietnam): 103,200
  289. St. Joseph, Missouri, USA: 102,979 [4]
  290. Nancy, France: 102,600
  291. Omaha, Nebraska, USA: 102,555 [4]
  292. Tottenham, England, UK: 102,519 [5] [2]
  293. Los Angeles, California, USA: 102,479 [4]
  294. Memphis, Tennessee, USA: 102,320 [4]
  295. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA: 102,026 [4]
  296. Utrecht, The Netherlands: 102,000
  297. Toulon, France: 101,600
  298. Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: 101,200
  299. Szeged (Szegedin), Austria-Hungary (Hungary): 100,300 87,410 [2]
  300. Xiamen, China: 100,000
  301. Guiyang, China: 100,000

5 Observations


5.1 Number of Urban Centres per Country


The table below shows the number of urban centres per country that had more than 100,000 inhabitants in the year 1900. It also shows the population. These numbers also reflect the number of cities within each country's colonial empire. Only the top 9 countries with the most urban centres are colour coded. Top 10 urban centres are included below. 
  1. British Empire - 419,920,000 - 83
    1. London, England, UK: 4,670,177 [x] 4,536,541 [5] 4,536,063 [2]
    2. Calcutta (Kolkata), India: 1,026,900 [1] 847,796 [5]
    3. Bombay (Mumbai), India776,006 [5]
    4. Glasgow, Scotland, UK: 761,709
    [5] [2]
    5. Liverpool, England, UK: 684,958 [5] [2]
    6. Cairo, Ottoman/British Empires (Egypt): 600,000 [5]
    7. Manchester, England, UK: 543,872 [5] [2]
    8. Birmingham, England, UK: 522,204 [5] [2]
    9. Madras (Chennai), India: 509,300 [5]
    10. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: 496,079 [5]
  2. United States - 76,212,168 - 40
    1. New York City, New York, USA: 3,437,202 [4]
    2. Chicago, Illinois, USA: 1,698,575 [4]
    3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: 1,293,697 [4]
    4. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: 575,238
    [4]
    5. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: 560,892 [4]
    6. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: 508,957 [4]
    7. Cleveland, Ohio, USA: 381,768 [4]
    8. Buffalo, New York, USA: 352,387 [4]
    9. San Francisco,California, USA: 342,782 [4]
    10. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA: 325,902 [4]
  3. Germany - 56,000,000 - 31
    1. Berlin, Germany: 1,888,848
    2. Hamburg, Germany: 705,738

    3. Munich, Germany: 499,000
    4. Leipzig, Germany: 456,100
    5. Breslau (Wroclaw), Germany (Poland): 422,700
    6. Dresden, Germany: 396,100
    7. Cologne, Germany: 372,500
    8. Frankfurt, Germany: 288,989
    9. Nuremberg, Germany: 261,100
    10. Hannover (Hanover), Germany: 235,600
  4. Qing Dynasty (China) - 415,001,488 - 25
    1. Peking (Beijing), China: 1,000,000 [1]
    2. Tien-Tsin (Tianjin), China: 750,000

    3. Foochow (Fuzhou), China: 630,000
    4. Chung-king (Chongqing), China: 620,000
    5. Shanghae (Shanghai), China: 619,000
    6. Canton (Guangzhou), China: 585,000 [1]
    7. Wuhan, China: 450,000
    8. Hangchow (Hangzhou), China: 350,000
    9. Ching tu (Chengdu), China: ~300,000 (400,000 in 1911)
    10. Soochow (Suzhou), China: 280,000
  5. Russian Empire - 132,000,000 - 19
    1. Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (Russia): 1,439,400
    2. Moskow (Moscow), Russian Empire (Russia): 1,170,000
    3. Warsaw, Russian Empire (Poland): 756,400

    4. Odessa, Russian Empire (Ukraine): 449,000
    5. Łódź, Russian Empire (Poland): 351,600
    6. Riga, Russian Empire (Latvia): 294,000
    7. Kiev, Russian Empire (Ukraine): 247,700 (1897)
    8. Kharkov (Kharkiv), Russian Empire (Ukraine): 197,000
    9. Tashkand (Tashkent), Russian Empire (Uzbekistan): 180,000
    10. Baku, Russian Empire (Azerbaijan): 179,000
  6. French Empire - 76,090,000 - 19
    1. Paris, France: 2,714,068
    2. Marseille, France: 491,200

    3. Lyon, France: 441,800
    4. Bordeaux, France: 257,500
    5. Lille, France: 210,700
    6. Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), French Indochina (Vietnam): 170,000 [1]
    7. Tunis, Tunisia (French Empire): 156,000 [1]
    8. Toulouse, France: 149,800
    9. Saint-Étienne, France: 146,600
    10. Algiers, Algeria (French Empire): 140,000
  7. Italy - 32,000,000 - 11
    1. Naples, Italy: 563,500

    2. Milan, Italy: 491,500
    3. Rome, Italy: 462,800
    4. Turin, Italy: 335,700
    5. Palermo, Italy: 309,700
    6. Genoa, Italy: 234,700
    7. Florence, Italy: 205,600

    8. Venice, Italy: 171,000
    9. Bologna, Italy: 152,000
    10. Messina, Italy: 149,800
  8. Austria-Hungary - 51,356,465 - 9
    1. Vienna, Austria-Hungary (Austria): 1,769,137 1,635,647 [2]
    2. Budapest, Austria-Hungary (Hungary), 733,358
     505,763 [2]
    3. Prague, Austria-Hungary (Czech Republic): 200,000 184,109 [2]
    4. Gratz (Graz), Austria-Hungary (Austria): 168,808 113,540 [2]
    5. Lemberg (Lviv), Austria-Hungary (Ukraine): 159,000
     [1] 128,419 [2]
    6. Brunn (Brno), Austria-Hungary (Czech Republic): 137,000 [1]
    7. Trieste, Austria-Hungary (Italy): 132,000 [1] 158,344 [2]
    8. Krakow, Austria-Hungary (Poland): 108,000 [1]
    9. Szeged (Szegedin), Austria-Hungary (Hungary): 100,300 87,410 [2]
  9. Ottoman Empire - 30,860,000 - 9
    1. Constantinople (Istanbul), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 942,900

    2. Cairo, Ottoman/British Empires
     (Egypt): 600,000 [5]
    3. Alexandria, Ottoman/British Empires (Egypt): 314,000 [5]
    4. Smyrna (Izmir), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 201,000
    5. Damascus, Ottoman Empire (Syria): 165,000
    6. Bagdad (Baghdad), Ottoman Empire (Iraq): 150,000
    7. Salonica (Thessaloniki), Ottoman Empire (Greece): 140,000
    8. Halab (Aleppo), Ottoman Empire (Syria): 127,200
    9. Bairut (Beirut), Ottoman Empire (Lebanon): 118,800
  10. Japan - 42,000,000 - 8
    1. Edo/Yedo (Tokyo), Japan: 1,497,000
    2. Oosaka (Osaka), Japan: 970,000
    3. Kyoto, Japan: 362,000

    4. Yokohama, Japan: 193,800
    5. Kôbe, Japan: 161,100
    6. Nangasaki (Nagasaki), Japan: 150,000
    7. Nagoya, Japan: 131,500
    8. Hiroshima, Japan: 122,300 (1898)
  11. Dutch Empire - 51,246,000 - 7
    1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 510,000

    2. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: 368,000
    3. Haag (The Hague), The Netherlands: 180,000 (1895)
    4. Surabaya, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 146,900
    5. Batavia (Jakarta) Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 115,000 [1]
    6. Surakarta, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 109,500
    7. Utrecht, The Netherlands: 102,000
  12. Spain - 20,750,000 - 5
    1. Madrid, Spain: 539,800

    2. Barcelona, Spain: 530,300
    3. Valencia, Spain: 215,700
    4. Seville, Spain: 147,300
    5. 
    Málaga, Spain: 131,100
  13. Brazil - 17,000,000 - 4
    1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 811,443
     522,651 [2]
    2. Sao Paulo, Brazil: 239,820 174,442 [2]
    3. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil: 205,813 [3] 174,412 [2] 181,933 [1]
    4. 
    Recife, Brazil: 113,100
     111,556 [2]
  14. Belgium - 6,136,000 - 4
    1. Brussels, Belgium: 626,000
     570,844 [2, excludes suburbs]
    2. Antwerp, Belgium: 275,100 282,018 [2]
    3. Ghent, Belgium: 198,000 [1] 163,030 [2]
    4. 
    Liège, Belgium: 157,800 171,031 [2]
  15. Sweden-Norway - 7,560,000 - 3
    1. Stockholm, Sweden-Norway (Sweden): 300,000
    2. Christiania (Oslo), Sweden-Norway (Norway): 227,000
    3. 
    Gottenburg (Gothenburg), Sweden-Norway (Sweden): 130,600
  16. Switzerland - 3,525,300 - 3
    1. Zü
    rich, Switzerland: 150,700
    2. Geneva, Switzerland: 114,500

    3. 
    Basel, Switzerland: 109,800
  17. Persia (Iran) - 7,000,000 - 2
    1. Tebriz (Tabriz), Persia (Iran): 200,000
    2. 
    Tehran, Persia (Iran): 200,000 (15,000 in 1795)
  18. Portuguese Empire - 12,434,000 - 2 (All within Portugal)
    1. Lisbon, Portugal: 356,000

    2. Oporto (Porto), Portugal: 172,400
  19. Chile - 2,867,000 - 2
    1. Santiago, Chile: 296,600 256,413 [2]
    2. 
    Valparaiso, Chile: 145,000
     122,447 [2]
  20. Mexico - 12,050,000 - 2
    1. Mexico City, Mexico: 400,000

    2. Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: 101,200
  21. Argentina - 5,800,000 - 2
    1. Buenos Ayres (Buenos Aires), Argentina: 950,891
     663,854 [2]
    2. 
    Rosario, Argentina: 112,462 
    91,669 [2]
  22. Morocco - 4,162,000 - 2
    1. Fez (Fes), Morocco: 108,000
    2. Medina (Marrakech/Marrakesh), Morocco: 120,000
  23. Greece - 2,800,000 - 1
    1. 
    Athens, Greece: 123,000 (1896) (4,000 in 1833)
  24. Denmark - 2,182,000 - 1
    1. 
    Copenhagen, Denmark: 600,000
     375,251 [2]
  25. Korea - 12,000,000 - 1
    1. 
    King-ki-Tao (Seoul), Korea (South Korea): 195,000
  26. Siam (Thailand) - 7,200,000 - 1
    1. 
    Bangkok, Siam (Thailand): 300,000
  27. Roumania (Romania) - 6,630,000 - 1
    1. 
    Bucharest, Roumania (Romania): 246,033
  28. Uruguay - 1,026,000 - 1
    1. 
    Montevideo, Uruguay: 268,000
     252,000 [2]
  29. Peru - 3,700,000 - 1
    1. 
    Lima, Peru: 122,000
     100,000 [2]
  30. Colombia - 4,604,000 - 1
    1. 
    Bogota, Colombia:
     120,000 [2] [3] | 105,000 [1] | 110,000

An interesting observation is how only two of the cities in the Russian Empire's top ten are still part of Russia today. 



A pie chart showing the number of urban centres per country with a population of more than 100,000 inhabitants in the year 1900.



5.2 Number of Urban Centres by Modern Day Political Divisions


It's an interesting perspective to rank by modern day political divisions. The following table is ranked by the number of urban centres per modern political division and includes a list of the top ten. I include the same colour coding as used in the rest of this article to indicate if the predecessor state that had sovereignty over the city was part of the top 9 containing the most urban centres in 1900.

  1. United States: 38
    1. New York City, New York, USA: 3,437,202 [4]
    2. Chicago, Illinois, USA: 1,698,575 [4]
    3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: 1,293,697 [4]
    4. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: 575,238
    [4]
    5. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: 560,892 [4]
    6. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: 508,957 [4]
    7. Cleveland, Ohio, USA: 381,768 [4]
    8. Buffalo, New York, USA: 352,387 [4]
    9. San Francisco,California, USA: 342,782 [4]
    10. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA: 325,902 [4]
  2. United Kingdom: 38
    1. London, England, UK: 4,670,177 [x] 4,536,541 [5] 4,536,063 [2]
    2. Glasgow, Scotland, UK: 761,709
    [5] [2]
    3. Liverpool, England, UK: 684,958 [5] [2]
    4. Manchester, England, UK: 543,872 [5] [2]
    5. Birmingham, England, UK: 522,204 [5] [2]
    6. Leeds, England, UK: 428,968 [5] [2]
    7. Sheffield, England, UK: 380,793 [5] [2]
    8. Belfast, Ireland (Northern Ireland), UK: 348,965 [5] [2] [1.]
    9. Bristol, England, UK: 328,945 [5] [2]
    10. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: 316,837 [5] [2]
  3. Germany: 29
    1. Berlin, Germany: 1,888,848
    2. Hamburg, Germany: 705,738

    3. Munich, Germany: 499,000
    4. Leipzig, Germany: 456,100
    5. Dresden, Germany: 396,100
    6. Cologne, Germany: 372,500
    7. Frankfurt, Germany: 288,989
    8. Nuremberg, Germany: 261,100
    9. Hannover (Hanover), Germany: 235,600
    10. Magdeburg, Germany: 229,700
  4. India: 27
    1. Calcutta (Kolkata), India: 1,026,900 [1] 847,796 [5]
    2. Bombay (Mumbai), India776,006 [5]
    3. Madras (Chennai), India: 509,300
    [5]
    4. Hyderabad, India: 448,500 [5]
    5. Lucknow, India: 264,000 [5]
    6. Benares (Vârânasi), India: 209,300 [5]
    7. Delhi, India: 207,000 [5]
    8. Kanpur, India: 197,200 [5]
    9. Agra, India: 188,300 [5]
    10. Ahmadâbâd (Ahmedabad), India: 185,900 [5]
  5. China: 26
    1. Peking (Beijing), China: 1,000,000 [1]
    2. 
    Tien-Tsin (Tianjin), China: 750,000

    3. Foochow (Fuzhou), China: 630,000
    4. Chung-king (Chongqing), China: 620,000
    5. 
    Shanghae (Shanghai), China: 619,000
    6. Canton (Guangzhou), China: 585,000 [1]
    7. Wuhan, China: 450,000
    8. Hangchow (Hangzhou), China: 350,000
    9. Ching tu (Chengdu), China: ~300,000 (400,000 in 1911)
    10. Hong Kong, (China): 283,978 [5]
  6. France: 16
    1. Paris, France: 2,714,068
    2. Marseille, France: 491,200

    3. Lyon, France: 441,800
    4. Bordeaux, France: 257,500
    5. Lille, France: 210,700

    6. Toulouse, France: 149,800
    7. Saint-Étienne, France: 146,600
    8. Nantes, France: 133,000
    9. Le Havre, France: 130,200
    10. Roubaix, France: 124,400
  7. Italy: 12
    1. Naples, Italy: 563,500

    2. Milan, Italy: 491,500
    3. Rome, Italy: 462,800
    4. Turin, Italy: 335,700
    5. Palermo, Italy: 309,700
    6. Genoa, Italy: 234,700
    7. Florence, Italy: 205,600
    8. Venice, Italy: 171,000
    9. Bologna, Italy: 152,000
    10. Messina, Italy: 149,800
  8. Russia: 8
    1. Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (Russia): 1,439,400
    2. Moskow (Moscow), Russian Empire (Russia): 1,170,000 
    3. Königsberg (Kaliningrad), Germany (Russia): 188,000
    4. Saratov, Russian Empire (Russia): 143,000

    5. Rostov-on-Don, Russian Empire (Russia): 142,000
    6. Kazan, Russian Empire (Russia): 131,500
    7. Astrakhan, Russian Empire (Russia): 128,000
    8. Tula, Russian Empire (Russia): 110,000 
  9. Japan: 8
    1. Edo/Yedo (Tokyo), Japan: 1,497,000
    2. Oosaka (Osaka), Japan: 970,000
    3. Kyoto, Japan: 362,000

    4. Yokohama, Japan: 193,800
    5. Kôbe, Japan: 161,100
    6. Nangasaki (Nagasaki), Japan: 150,000
    7. Nagoya, Japan: 131,500
    8. Hiroshima, Japan: 122,300 (1898)
  10. Poland: 7
    1. Warsaw, Russian Empire (Poland): 756,400
    2. Breslau (Wroclaw), Germany (Poland): 422,700

    3. Łódź, Russian Empire (Poland): 351,600
    4. Stettin (Szczecin), Germany (Poland): 210,700
    5. Danzig (Gdansk), Germany (Poland): 140,600
    6. Posan (Poznan), Germany (Poland): 117,000
    7. Krakow, Austria-Hungary (Poland): 108,000 [1]
  11. Spain: 5
    1. Madrid, Spain: 539,800

    2. Barcelona, Spain: 530,300
    3. Valencia, Spain: 215,700
    4. Seville, Spain: 147,300
    5. Málaga, Spain: 131,100
  12. Ukraine: 5
    1. Odessa, Russian Empire (Ukraine): 449,000

    2. Kiev, Russian Empire (Ukraine): 247,700 (1897)
    3. Kharkov (Kharkiv), Russian Empire (Ukraine): 197,000
    4. Lemberg (Lviv), Austria-Hungary (Ukraine): 159,000 [1] 128,419 [2]
    5. Ekaterinoslav (Dnipropetrovsk), Russian Empire (Ukraine): 135,000
  13. Brazil: 4
    1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 811,443 522,651 [2]
    2. Sao Paulo, Brazil: 239,820 174,442 [2]
    3. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil: 205,813 [3] 174,412 [2] 181,933 [1]
    4. 
    Recife, Brazil: 113,100
     111,556 [2]
  14. Belgium: 4
    1. Brussels, Belgium: 626,000
     570,844 [2, excludes suburbs]
    2. Antwerp, Belgium: 275,100 282,018 [2]
    3. Ghent, Belgium: 198,000 [1] 163,030 [2]
    4. Liège, Belgium: 157,800 171,031 [2]
  15. The Netherlands: 4
    1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 510,000

    2. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: 368,000
    3. Haag (The Hague), The Netherlands: 180,000 (1895)
    4. Utrecht, The Netherlands: 102,000
  16. Australia: 4
    1. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: 496,079
    [5]
    2. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: 487,932 [5]
    3. Adelaide, South Australia, Australia: 162,261 [5]
    4. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: 119,428 [5]
  17. Indonesia: 3
    1. Surabaya, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 146,900
    2. Batavia (Jakarta) Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 115,000 [1]
    3. Surakarta, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia): 109,500
  18. Switzerland: 3
    1. Zürich, Switzerland: 150,700
    2. Geneva, Switzerland: 114,500

    3. 
    Basel, Switzerland: 109,800
  19. Sweden: 2
    1. Stockholm, Sweden-Norway (Sweden): 300,000
    2. Gottenburg (Gothenburg), Sweden-Norway (Sweden): 130,600
  20. Portugal: 2
    1. Lisbon, Portugal: 356,000

    2. Oporto (Porto), Portugal: 172,400
  21. Turkey: 2
    1. Constantinople (Istanbul), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 942,900
    2. Smyrna (Izmir), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 201,000
  22. Iran: 2
    1. Tebriz (Tabriz), Persia (Iran): 200,000
    2. 
    Tehran, Persia (Iran): 200,000 (15,000 in 1795)
  23. Hungary: 2
    1. Budapest, Austria-Hungary (Hungary), 733,358 505,763 [2]
    2. Szeged (Szegedin), Austria-Hungary (Hungary): 100,300
     87,410 [2]
  24. Austria: 2
    1. Vienna, Austria-Hungary (Austria): 1,769,137 1,635,647 [2]
    2. Gratz (Graz), Austria-Hungary (Austria): 168,808
     113,540 [2]
  25. Argentina: 2
    1. Buenos Ayres (Buenos Aires), Argentina: 950,891 663,854 [2]
    2. 
    Rosario, Argentina: 112,462
     91,669 [2]
  26. Egypt: 2
    1. Cairo, Ottoman/British Empires
     (Egypt): 600,000 [5]
    2. Alexandria, Ottoman/British Empires (Egypt): 314,000 [5]
  27. Mexico: 2
    1. Mexico City, Mexico: 400,000

    2. Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: 101,200
  28. Myanmar: 2
    1. Rangoon (Yangôn), India (Burmah/Burma/Myanmar): 234,900 [5]
    2. Mandalay, India (Burmah/Burma/Myanmar: 183,800 [5]
  29. Czech Republic: 2
    1. Prague, Austria-Hungary (Czech Republic): 200,000 184,109 [2]
    2. Brunn (Brno), Austria-Hungary (Czech Republic): 137,000
     [1]
  30. Canada: 2
    1. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: 267,730 [5]
    2. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: 208,040
    [5]
  31. Chile: 2
    1. Santiago, Chile: 296,600 256,413 [2]
    2. 
    Valparaiso, Chile: 145,000
     122,447 [2]
  32. Vietnam: 2
    1. Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), French Indochina (Vietnam): 170,000 [1]
    2. Ha nôi (Hanoi), French Indochina (Vietnam): 103,200
  33. Syria: 2
    1. Damascus, Ottoman Empire (Syria): 165,000
    2. Halab (Aleppo), Ottoman Empire (Syria): 127,200
  34. Greece: 2
    1. Smyrna (Izmir), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 201,000
    2. Athens, Greece: 123,000 (1896) (4,000 in 1833)
  35. South Africa: 2
    1. Johannesburg, South Africa: 155,642 (1904)
    [5]
    2. Cape Town, South Africa: 148,000 [5]
  36. Pakistan: 2
    1. Lahore, India (Pakistan): 203,000 [5]
    2. Karachi, India (Pakistan): 114,000
     [1] [5]
  37. Morocco: 2
    1. Fez (Fes), Morocco: 108,000
    2. Medina (Marrakech/Marrakesh), Morocco: 120,000
  38. Iraq: 1
    1. Bagdad (Baghdad), Ottoman Empire (Iraq): 150,000
  39. Ireland: 1
    1. Dublin, Ireland, UK: 
    289,108 [5] [2] [1.]
  40. Uzbekistan: 1
    1. Tashkand (Tashkent), Russian Empire (Uzbekistan): 180,000
  41. Georgia: 1
    1. Tiflis (Tbilisi), Russian Empire (Georgia): 175,000
  42. Azerbaijan: 1
    1. Baku, Russian Empire (Azerbaijan): 179,000
  43. Norway: 1
    1. Christiania (Oslo), Sweden-Norway (Norway): 227,000
  44. Latvia: 1
    1. Riga, Russian Empire (Latvia): 294,000
  45. Lithuania: 1
    1. Vilna (Vilnius), Russian Empire (Lithuania): 162,600
  46. Algeria: 1
    1. Algiers, Algeria (French Empire): 140,000
  47. Denmark: 1
    1. Copenhagen, Denmark: 600,000
     375,251 [2]
  48. Thailand: 1
    1. Bangkok, Siam (Thailand): 300,000
  49. Romania: 1
    1. Bucharest, Roumania (Romania): 246,033
  50. Uruguay: 1
    1. Montevideo, Uruguay: 268,000
     252,000 [2]
  51. Cuba: 1
    1. Havana, Cuba: 235,981
  52. South Korea: 1
    1. King-ki-Tao (Seoul), Korea (South Korea): 195,000
  53. Singapore: 1
    1. Singapore, (Singapore): 193,089
    [5]
  54. Philippines: 1
    1. Manila, Philippines: 190,000
     [1]
  55. Tunisia: 1
    1. Tunis, Tunisia (French Empire): 156,000
     [1]
  56. Sri Lanka: 1
    1. Colombo, Sri Lanka: 153,691
    [5]
  57. Nigeria: 1
    1. Ibadan, Nigeria: 150,000
    [5]
  58. Moldova: 1
    1. Kichenau (Chisinau), Russian Empire (Moldova): 125,800
  59. Peru: 1
    1. Lima, Peru: 122,000
     100,000 [2]
  60. Lebanon: 1
    1. Bairut (Beirut), Ottoman Empire (Lebanon): 118,800
  61. Colombia: 1
    1. Bogota, Colombia: 120,000
     [2] [3] | 105,000 [1] | 110,000 





A pie chart showing the number of urban centres with more than 100,000 inhabitants in the year 1900 by modern political divisions. 

One thing that stand out is how there are twice as many countries constituting the area of the previous countries & empires from 1900. This is largely due to the decline of colonialism & the breakup of larger empires. A number of cities have also shifted from power to power (ex. Konigsberg, Germany is now Kaliningrad, Russia).

It's also interesting to note how the United Kingdom & the United States have exactly the same number of urban centres over 100,000 inhabitants once you remove their external possessions (the UK's possession of India contributed to a significant number of the British Empire's large cities).

One point that may surprise people are how many cities in the USA had a population of more than 100,000 in 1900. Although North America is traditionally considered the "New World" from a European perspective it was during the Industrial Revolution that cities really began to grow. By 1900 the second industrial revolution was already well underway. Many of the countries listed above were already highly industrialized with mills, railways, canals, & worker's housing abounding.


5.3 Number of Urban Centres per Continent


The table below lists the number of urban centres in the year 1900 with more than 100,000 inhabitants by continent. I also include the population of each continent for the year 1900. Note, I considered Baku, Azerbaijan & Tbilisi, Georgia to be part of Europe in the following table & consequent pie chart. 
  1. Europe: 408,000,000 156
  2. Asia: 947,000,000 83
  3. North America: 106,000,000 43
  4. South America: 38,000,000 12
  5. Africa: 120,000,000 9
  6. Oceania: 6,000,000 4






A pie chart showing the number of urban centres with more than 100,000 inhabitants by continent.


5.4 Compared to Today's Population Data (City Proper)


Below, the populations of the top 20 most populated urban centres in the world in the year 1900 are compared to their c. 2014 populations. For this comparison only official quotes of the city proper is used opposed to metropolitan or urban populations. Latest population data available as of 10th April, 2014. Included in the table below is both the most recent population data & the surface area of the city in kilometres squared.
  1. London, England, UK: 8,308,369 | 1,572.15
  2. New York City, New York, USA: 8,405,837 | 783.84
  3. Paris, France: 2,243,833 | 2,844.8
  4. Berlin, Germany: 3,517,424 | 891.75
  5. Vienna, Austria-Hungary (Austria): 1,765,649 | 414.65
  6. Chicago, Illinois, USA: 2,714,856 | 606.1
  7. Tokyo, Japan: 9,071,577 | 622.99
  8. Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (Russia): 5,131,967 | 1,439
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: 1,526,006 | 367
  10. Moscow, Russian Empire (Russia): 12,111,194 | 2,510.12
  11. Calcutta (Kolkata), India: 4,486,679 | 185
  12. Beijing, China: 11,716,620 | 1,368.32
  13. Osaka, Japan: 2,666,371 | 223
  14. Buenos Aires, Argentina: 2,890,151 | 203
  15. Constantinople (Istanbul), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 14,160,467 | 2,189.79
  16. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 6,429,923 | 1,200.27
  17. Bombay (Mumbai), India: 12,478,447 | 603.4
  18. Glasgow, Scotland, UK: 595,080 | 175.5
  19. Warsaw, Russian Empire (Poland): 1,715,517 | 517.24
  20. Tianjin, China: 9,341,844 | 4,037



The chart above compares the populations of the top ten most populated urban centres in the year 1900 with their populations today.



The chart above compares the populations of the 10-20th most populated urban centres in the year 1900 with their populations today.


Interestingly, Glasgow's proper population has actually decreased since the year 1900. If more cities were plotted one would also see this occur with other British & American cities. Examples given in the table below. 


  • St. Louis, Missouri: 1900: 575,238 | 2014: 318,416 - Difference = 256,822
  • Liverpool, England: 1900: 684,958 | 2014: 466,415 - Difference = 218,543
  • Glasgow, Scotland: 1900: 761,709 | 2014: 595,080 - Difference = 166,629
  • Buffalo, New York: 1900: 352,387 | 2014: 259,384 - Difference = 93,003
  • Manchester, England: 1900: 543,872: 2014: 502,900 - Difference = 40,972
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: 1900: 325,902 | 2014: 296,943 - Difference = 28,959
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 1900: 321,616 | 2014: 306,211 - Difference = 15,405

Much of the decrease is due to suburbanization, deindustrialization, & a number of other factors (I go into more detail about these processes in one of my previous blog posts). Although the city proper populations have decreased, urban amalgamation populations have not. This is illustrated by the data in the next section. 

5.5 Compared to Today's Urban Population Data (Urban Amalgamation)


Below, the populations of the top 20 most populated urban centres in the world in the year 1900 are compared to their c. 2014 urban populations. For this comparison the largest urban area (ie including the metropolitan area & commuter towns) is used. In the table below the surface area is not included because reliable information was not available.

  1. London, England, UK: 15,010,295
  2. New York City, New York, USA: 20,673,000
  3. Paris, France: 10,869,000
  4. Berlin, Germany: 3,401,147
  5. Vienna, Austria-Hungary (Austria): 2,419,000
  6. Chicago, Illinois, USA: 9,522,434
  7. Tokyo, Japan: 37,239,000
  8. Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire: 4,899,000
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: 6,018,800
  10. Moscow, Russian Empire: 15,788,999
  11. Calcutta (Kolkata), India: 14,630,000
  12. Beijing, China: 21,150,000
  13. Osaka, Japan: 18,768,395
  14. Buenos Aires, Argentina: 13,776,000
  15. Constantinople (Istanbul), Ottoman Empire (Turkey): 14,160,467
  16. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 11,616,000 
  17. Bombay (Mumbai), India: 20,748,395
  18. Glasgow, Scotland, UK: 2,850,000
  19. Warsaw, Russian Empire (Poland): 2,666,278
  20. Tianjin, China: 11,524,238



The chart above compares the populations of the top ten most populated urban centres in the year 1900 with the population of their present urban amalgamations. 

The chart above compares the populations of the 10-20th most populated urban centres in the year 1900 with the population of their present urban amalgamations.

Based of these charts, cities on the Asian continent appear to have increased in population the most. As mentioned in the previous section, although some city proper populations have decreased (ie. UK & the USA), the populations of urban amalgamations have not largely due to the trend of suburbanization.


5.6 An Interactive Map of the Urban Centres


Below is a map showing the distribution of all of the urban centres in the world listed in the data. I maintain the colour-coding as close as possible to that used in this article. On the map as star icon represents 1,000,000+ inhabitants, diamond 500,000-1,000,000, square 250,000-500,000, and circle 100,000-250,000. When you click on an icon it will display a description that shows that urban centre's population in 1900 and its relative rank. 

I've updated the data on this article since making the map, the rank in the description of each icon is slightly inaccurate. So it's best to refer to the data in the article. Nevertheless it gives you a good ballpark measurement. Here's a link to a version of the map where Google Street View is enabled: Map The only issue is that my overlay seems to intermittently crash from time to time so you might have to reload the map now and then.

There's a full screen option on the map in the upper right of its interface, that version has a search bar that you can use to search for any of the urban centres.





Further Reading and Related Articles



For links to all of my related writings you can visit my Population Data and Architecture Articles page.



7 References


Currently the reference numbering is in the process of being updated. For now, if you see a reference below with two numbers the first number will be the new reference and the second one is the current reference number which corresponds to the numbers used in this article.

1. Darling & son Ltd, (1901). Census of the British Empire. Portsmouth, United Kingdom: University of Portsmouth. Retrieved from the Cornell University LibraryVision of Britain, and Histpop. Histpop Pages: Queensland, AustraliaVictoria, AustraliaNew South Wales, AustraliaSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaIrelandMunicipal & Police Burghs of Scotland;

5. 1. Darling & son Ltd, (1901). Census of the British Empire. London, England. Retrieved from the Cornell University Library and Histpop.

1. 18. Biguzzi, A. (2013) World city pop. Retrieved from: http://worldcitypop.com/1_data.asp

2. 9. Rand McNally and Company. (1903). Rand McNally & Co.'s Enlarged Business Atlas and Shippers' Guide. Retrieved from the David Rumsey Collection. Text pages with population data: Central and South America; Europe; Europe and Asia; Asia and China; Korea and the Philippines; The Philippines and AfricaOceania;

3. 6. Lahmeyer, J. (2006). Population statistics. Retrieved from http://www.populstat.info/

4. 2. U.S. Bureau of the Census (1900). Data sheets: Urban Centres that have Ranked within the Top One-Hundred from 1790-1990. Related Wikipedia article.

6. 25. Abrams, L., & Brown, C. G., (2010). A history of everyday life in twentieth century Scotland. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press Ltd. Retrieved from Google Books.

7. 26. Candler, T., (1974). Four Thousand Years of Urban Growth. St. David's University Press. 

10. 27. Stanford, E. (1900). Stanford's library map of the world on Merctor's projection. Retrieved from the David Rumsey Collection

12. 28. University of Michigan. (2006). Population growth over human history. Retrieved from globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/human_pop/human_pop.html  

13. 29. University of Botswana History Department. (2000). Estimated world population, 1800-1950. Retrieved from: thuto.org/ubh/ub/h202/wpop1.htm