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News / City Life

Five maps that quantify exactly how rammed London is

London – it's quite busy, isn't it? But maybe more than you even realise.

As of this time last year, 8.6 million people call Greater London their home.

That makes London a LOT bigger than other UK cities. You could fit people from all these city districts into London, for example:

Admittedly we're cheating a little, because just as 'London' is much bigger than just the central district, so 'Greater Manchester' is much bigger than just the middle bit of Manchester.

But even if you take entire metropolitan counties, you can still fit everyone from five of the country's biggest into Greater London:

See? There's loads of us. Who else could you fit in London?

Yep, there are more Londoners than Scottish (5.3 million) and Welsh people (3.0 million) put together.

How about some American cities? You could fit the citizens from these all places comfortably inside the Big Smoke: 

In fact, we're even bigger than all these countries combined:

Come to think of it, London is also more populous than Israel, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Jamaica... to name but a few. (If we became our own country, we'd be the 96th largest – just a few thousand people smaller than Austria.)

If this is all making your blood pressure rise, just be glad you don't live in Shanghai, which at 24 million people (nearly three times the size of London) is the largest city in the world: 

Finally, a snappy demographic fact to impress someone on a first date: if you drained the blood from every living Londoner, it would be enough to fill 16.2 Olympic size swimming pools. Mmm... blood pool.

See more:

✚ Infographic: why London isn't as crowded as you think
25 photos that prove London is just a tranquil village
✚ 17 of the best alternative tube maps of 2015
✚ What London will look like once all 250 approved skyscrapers are built



Justin N

Shanghai is not the worlds biggest city. Tokyo is and has been for a long time. It's also important to classify cities by metropolitan area, rather than administrative area. Metro London is larger than 8.6 Million people. There is also no way all those U.S cities could fit inside London. Dallas for instance is connected to Fort Worth, which is called the Metroplex and has a total population of 7 Million.

Thomas B

Just like the map of London is of Greater London at 8.6m people....Greater Chicago is.....9.9m people. London likes to brag how big it is, but rarely every does an apples vs apples comparison to other cities (otherwise it would probably find that it is a fairly low rises/low density suburban city.

Josh S

I heard there was a completely new mutation of a mosquito in the London Underground! People of London, anyone looking to meet new locals and travellers just propose an event on Iceberg and see who's in!

Michael M

You've left out Halton and Sefton from the Merseyside (which is actually the Liverpool city region) regional graphic.

Duane B

so there you go...I'm from LA and lived in London and have been to shanghai, Mexico city, Sao Paulo, Beijing, New York, and Cairo...and while London is crammed (rammed to americans sounds like london is getting sodomized!) it's nowhere near as bad as Cairo or Sao Paulo...the problem with London is piss poor urban planning...driving in london is an exercise in futility, buses that can't get around tiny ass tight roads that have been updated since freaking PM affordable housing, meanwhile tonnes of vacant buildings that are tax write's a great city unfortunately being looted by by a bunch of eton twats!

Duane B

2014 Population
1990 1 Tokyo, Japan 37,833,000 32,530,000 2 Delhi, India 24,953,000 9,726,000 3 Shanghai, China 22,991,000 7,823,000 4 Mexico City, Mexico 20,843,000 15,642,000 5 São Paulo, Brazil 20,831,000 14,776,000 6 Mumbai, India 20,741,000 12,436,000 7 Osaka, Japan 20,123,000 18,389,000 8 Beijing, China 19,520,000 6,788,000 9 New York/Newark, United States 18,591,000 16,086,000 10 Cairo, Egypt 18,419,000 9,892,000 11 Dhaka, Bangladesh 16,982,000 6,621,000 12 Karachi, Pakistan 16,126,000 7,147,000 13 Buenos Aires, Argentina 15,024,000 10,513,000 14 Calcutta, India 14,766,000 10,890,000 15 Istanbul, Turkey 13,954,000 6,522,000 16 Chongqing, China 12,916,000 4,011,000 17 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 12,825,000 9,697,000 18 Manila, Philippines 12,764,000 7,973,000 19 Lagos, Nigeria 12,614,000 4,764,000 20 Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana 12,308,000 10,883,000
*Refers to the urban agglomeration, which would also count the surrounding urban areas in the total. Source: United Nations, "World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision."
Population Statistics

Jonathan P

Refers to urban agglomeration not cities under such stats London would include much of the South East commuter belt and would be about 20 million.

Davy S

@Duane B This is incorrect. You missed Jakarta, whose urban agglomeration is ver 30 million and puts it comfortably in 2nd place

Tony R

these comparisons aren't quite apt; you're comparing "Greater London" to strictly the city populations of many of these places. But the Chicago metro area, known as Chicagoland to locals, has a population of 9.5 million people, and the LA metro area is 13 million...

SHiR8 .

@Tony R

Greater London IS London's city proper. London's metropolitan area easily is 14-16 million people.

Graham W

The city of London proper as u put it is 1 yes 1square mile not too many in there los Angeles is huge by comparison full of the idiot's who ruin our lives in the city of London