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View Poll Results: The metric that best represents how things are in reality?
City Proper 4 7.14%
United States' Urban Area 11 19.64%
United Nations' Urban Area 10 17.86%
Global Agglomeration 2 3.57%
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) 24 42.86%
Combined Statistical Area (CSA) 5 8.93%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-07-2016, 05:01 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,633 posts, read 8,331,995 times
Reputation: 7594


Six different population metrics, choose which metric's Top 10 represents reality the best (to you)

City Proper, 2015:
01. New York: 8,550,405
02. Los Angeles: 3,971,883
03. Chicago: 2,720,546
04. Houston: 2,296,224
05. Philadelphia: 1,567,442
06. Phoenix: 1,563,025
07. San Antonio: 1,469,845
08. San Diego: 1,394,928
09. Dallas: 1,300,092
10. San Jose: 1,026,908


United States' Urban Area (UA), 2010:
01. New York: 18,351,295
02. Los Angeles: 12,150,996
03. Chicago: 8,608,208
04. Miami/Fort Lauderdale: 5,502,379
05. Philadelphia: 5,441,567
06. Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex: 5,121,892
07. Houston: 4,944,332
08. Washington D.C.: 4,586,770
09. Atlanta: 4,515,419
10. Boston: 4,181,019


United Nations' Urban Area, 2016:
01. New York: 20,685,000
02. Los Angeles: 15,135,000
03. Chicago: 9,185,000
04. Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex: 6,280,000
05. Houston: 6,005,000
06. San Francisco Bay Area: 5,955,000
07. Miami/Fort Lauderdale: 5,820,000
08. Philadelphia: 5,595,000
09. Atlanta: 5,120,000
10. Washington D.C.: 4,950,000

North American Urban Areas with over 3 million people, 2016 (United States, Canada, Mexico)

Global Agglomeration, 2016:
01. New York: 22,000,000
02. Los Angeles: 17,600,000
03. Chicago: 9,800,000
04. Washington D.C.: 8,350,000
05. San Francisco: 7,600,000
06. Boston: 7,350,000
07. Philadelphia: 7,300,000
08. Dallas: 6,550,000
09. Houston: 6,200,000
10. Miami: 6,100,000

North American Agglomerations (United States, Canada, Mexico), 2016

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), 2015:
01. New York: 20,182,305
02. Los Angeles: 13,340,068
03. Chicago: 9,551,031
04. Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex: 7,102,796
05. Houston: 6,656,947
06. Washington D.C.: 6,097,684
07. Philadelphia: 6,069,875
08. Miami/Fort Lauderdale: 6,012,331
09. Atlanta: 5,710,795
10. Boston: 4,774,321


Combined Statistical Area (CSA), 2015:
01. New York: 23,723,696
02. Los Angeles: 18,679,763
03. Chicago: 9,923,358
04. Washington DC-Baltimore: 9,625,360
05. San Francisco Bay Area: 8,713,914
06. Boston: 8,152,573
07. Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex: 7,504,362
08. Philadelphia: 7,183,479
09. Houston: 6,855,069
10. Miami/Fort Lauderdale: 6,654,565

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Old 09-07-2016, 05:18 PM
Location: Montreal/Miami/Toronto
977 posts, read 638,504 times
Reputation: 1038
Personally, when i compare cities i go by city proper, i go by jurisdictions. When it comes to population, diversity, poverty rates, etc.. i do a city v.s city basis. I only use metropolitan when it comes to regional markets/economic factors. That's just me though, I've done this for studies and i haven't heard feedback saying to compare a city you have to use the entire metropolitan area.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:30 PM
1,851 posts, read 1,480,226 times
Reputation: 1283
I was leaning towards U.S. UA but if the United Nations has a definition of UA then I think that is the best option. CSAs can be a bit misleading depending on context.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:33 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,633 posts, read 8,331,995 times
Reputation: 7594
Rank by the metrics in the United States;

- City Proper: 39th
- United States' Urban Area: 9th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 9th
- Global Agglomeration: 11th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 9th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 11th

- City Proper: 23rd
- United States' Urban Area: 10th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 11th
- Global Agglomeration: 6th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 10th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 6th

- City Proper: 3rd
- United States' Urban Area: 3rd
- United Nations' Urban Area: 3rd
- Global Agglomeration: 3rd
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 3rd
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 3rd

- City Proper: 9th
- United States' Urban Area: 6th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 4th
- Global Agglomeration: 8th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 4th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 7th

- City Proper: 4th
- United States' Urban Area: 7th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 5th
- Global Agglomeration: 9th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 5th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 9th

Los Angeles:
- City Proper: 2nd
- United States' Urban Area: 2nd
- United Nations' Urban Area: 2nd
- Global Agglomeration: 2nd
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 2nd
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 2nd

- City Proper: 44th
- United States' Urban Area: 4th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 7th
- Global Agglomeration: 10th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 8th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 10th

New York:
- City Proper: 1st
- United States' Urban Area: 1st
- United Nations' Urban Area: 1st
- Global Agglomeration: 1st
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 1st
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 1st

- City Proper: 5th
- United States' Urban Area: 5th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 8th
- Global Agglomeration: 7th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 7th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 8th

San Francisco:
- City Proper: 13th
- United States' Urban Area: 13th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 6th
- Global Agglomeration: 5th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 11th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 5th

Washington D.C.:
- City Proper: 22nd
- United States' Urban Area: 8th
- United Nations' Urban Area: 10th
- Global Agglomeration: 4th
- Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): 6th
- Combined Statistical Area (CSA): 4th
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:37 PM
63 posts, read 45,178 times
Reputation: 61
Wow, nice thread. I dont think i've seen this one before. Its long overdue.

Last edited by pointer212; 09-07-2016 at 06:19 PM..
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:39 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,633 posts, read 8,331,995 times
Reputation: 7594
America doesn't appear to have a designated consensus 4th city, or 5th city, or 6th city, or 7th city, or 8th city, or 9th city, or 10th city, so on and so forth. It ranges depending on which metric you use.

Actually, you know what, it is literally just easier to list what cities America definitely does have set in place;

America has a first city (New York), a second city (Los Angeles), and a third city (Chicago). That's it. It has nothing else beyond that, set in place, since from 4th onwards it is like a different city every single time.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:54 PM
63 posts, read 45,178 times
Reputation: 61
I just have to post this CSA map that shows how overinflated the CSA metric really is. I think some people will vote CSA is best just because it might show the highest population for their area. CSA is useless when trying to compare population.

Last edited by pointer212; 09-07-2016 at 07:14 PM..
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:36 PM
Location: Virginia Beach
4,214 posts, read 2,835,064 times
Reputation: 4502
1) I think it should go without saying that city proper is nearly useless. Atlanta has only the 39th city population, and literally NOBODY will agree that there are 38 American cities larger or "more major" than Atlanta. And Atlanta is just one example, there are scores of size discrepancies using the city proper metric...

2) United States UA seems to be much more accurate, but I have issues with it, too. How is Virginia Beach-Norfolk a larger UA than Charlotte? It certainly doesn't feel larger, not by a long shot, but this metric is more appreciated than city proper...

3) I feel the same way about UN UA that I feel about US UA...

4) Not convinced with agglomeration at all...

5) MSA has been my favorite metric, as I'd always thought it to be the truest reflection of size. However, I don't believe it to be flawless. The San Francisco Bay Area is one metropolitan area. It's large, with three primary cities, but I think the configurations have to change. No reason it, and plenty of others, should not be considered as one metro...

6) CSA? Absolutely not, don't even get me started...
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:45 PM
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,512 posts, read 2,975,743 times
Reputation: 2742
UN Urban Area seems to be the most accurate and most up-to-date. Bonus points in that it measures all areas around the globe by one standard.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:50 PM
Location: Alexandria, Commonwealth of Virginia
1,609 posts, read 1,109,761 times
Reputation: 1908
Red John, Demographia is not the same as the United Nations. Demographia uses UN Excel files but adds their own methodology. The UN and Demographia urban areas are distinctly different.

Here are the UN urban areas: https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Publicat...Highlights.pdf

Notice they give LA almost 3 million fewer people than Demographia.

Demographia is from Belleville, Illinois. They do not represent the US in any way.

For me, I prefer CSA but since there are no global CSAs, I use Demographia. I've grown to like Citypopulation.de's Agglomerations more though.
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