Metropolitan areas vs. urban settlements vs. communities
Coordinates of the Places
Continents of Places and Countries
Area Size of Countries and Regions
Structure of Population Tables
About the Flags
Guidelines for Using Maps
Unique codes of geographical entities
If the default settings are still turned on, the place names appear in the language as the World Gazetteer's language, i.e. English since you are using the English version. If you prefer the places to be displayed in another language, you can change the options. Available languages: English, French, German, Spanish and international. International means, that local place names are preferably used. Important secondary names, which might be historical or foreign names, can be viewed in the relative place's profile. You can also toggle a column showing the alternative names in the options.
Sometimes it is very difficult to get population figures for cities and towns because the statistical registration in a country is not working due to civil wars and poverty (e.g. Afghanistan, Africa). Many refugees have left their homes to find a better place to live. Thus many refugee camps have been created, and their population is floating and can hardly be registered. Generally the usually resident population is shown, so refugee camps are not considered in these statistics, unless the refugees have settled down permanently (e.g. Palestine).
Population specified for the current year has been calculated from previous years. The mathematical function for this calculation is very complex, but generally one can say, that census figures are more accurate than estimates and that figures officially issued by the national or local statistical agency are more accurate than figures from other sources.
However in some cases census figures are not too accurate and undercounts may occur. (E.g. in Guinea, South Africa, Nigeria or Colombia with an undercount of 10% to 20% each). Population figures which are not plausible are omitted and do not influence the calculation.
The specification of an exact date for these figures is omitted by intention, because for most of the countries such a date is not available. The calculated figures refer to the beginning of the year.
Population figures can be specified on several politcal or geographical levels: There are communities, municipalities, urban localities (or urban settlements), agglomerations and metropolitan areas.
On this website there are three levels of population data for cities:
Some countries provide data for communities only, while others provide data for urban settlements. If population figures for urban settlements are available, they are used. If not, figures for communities are specified. Most countries however do not specify the type of data for their places. Some even have data for both types available.
Some of the countries with urban localities are:
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Some of the countries with municipalities are:
Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain
A full list of countries can be viewed from a map
It is a matter of personal opinion which type is considered to be the better definition of 'city'. The most famous example is Buenos Aires. While the municipality of Buenos Aires (i.e. the Distrito Federal) has about 2.7 million inhabitants, the urban locality has more than 11 million inhabitants. Most of these are located in the province of Buenos Aires outside the Distrito Federal.
For many metropolitan areas it is difficult to specify an exact population figure, especially for the fast growing agglomerations in developing countries, because they are continuously incorporating cities and urbanizing areas in their environment. Hence the list of metropolitan areas can only be considered as a rough reference table for the world's largest agglomerations.
There is a list of the world's largest communities/urban settlements/agglomerations
At the beginning of the project the coordinates of the places have been extracted from atlases and maps. The most geocoordinates have been taken from the Geonet Names Server
The coordinates on this site are presented in the decimal system (e.g. 123.75°E), not as shown in some maps in the format degree/minute (e.g. 123°45' E). Hence the digits behind the decimal point range from 0 to 99.
A number of countries pass their continental borders. In the continental lists a country is listed under a certain continent if the largest part of the population belongs to it (in contrast to the area size).
|Country||Primary Continent||Secondary Continent||Comment|
|Egypt||Africa||Asia||Sinai Peninsula belongs to Asia; continental border formed by the Suez Channel|
|Indonesia||Asia||Australia/Oceania||Sulawesi, the Moluccas, New Guinea, its adjacent islands and the Lesser Sunda Islands east of Bali belong to Australia/Oceania; continental border formed by the Makassar Strait and the Lombok Strait|
|Russia||Europe||Asia||Continental border formed by the Ural mountains, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasian mountains (almost exactly along the Russian border to Georgia and Azerbaijan with Europe's highest mountain Elbrus with 5642 m)|
|Spain||Europe||Africa||The Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla belong to Africa|
|Turkey||Asia||Europe||Continental border formed by the Bosporus|
|USA||The Americas||Australia/Oceania||The Hawaii Islands are part of Australia/Oceania|
In the table of cities per continent the cities of these countries are assigned to the correct continent however. Some places that are concerned: Istanbul (Turkey) and Chelyabinsk, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Omsk (all in Russia), Makasar (Indonesia)
Area size figures include inland waters, unless inland waters are specified
By default areas are given in square kilometers. However there is an option where you can toggle a column with areas in square miles.
For creating this web page many data sources have been evaluated:
Most countries have a statistical service and many of them even have a web site.
The World Gazetteer provides links to these agencies. You can access them by clicking on the relative county
and then 'links' in the navigation bar.
There is also a link list available for data sources that are not related to a specific country. See the link list
In the profile of each geographical entity you can see the source type of each population figure. There are three source types:
There are two types of population tables: tables for administrative divisions (including the countries) and for places and agglomerations.
You can select the columns to show or hide, see the options.
Next to the common columns each table type has its own columns: The table of the administrative divisions comprises divisions' area, capitals or flags (if available), while the table of places comprises columns for the places' geocoordinates or their parent agglomeration.
All these columns can be sorted by clicking on the relative table header. Numeric values like population and area are sorted in descending order.
There is a difference between national flags and state flags. The national flags are used for civil institutions while the state flags are used for government and diplomatic representations abroad. For most countries they are identical but for about a dozen they are different. For some countries the state flag is used for civil institutions as well, e.g. to distinguish them from national flags of other countries (e.g. the flag of Ecuador from the Colombian flag). For these countries the national flags are rarely used. On this site usually national flags are presented except for countries where also for civil institutions the state flag is preferredly used. Here a list of countries where national and state flags are different:
Countries where the state flag is used for government and diplomatic representation only (and the national flag presented on this site)
|country||national flag||state flag|
Countries where the state flag is used for official and civil purposes (and on this site)
|country||state flag||national flag|
Countries where the back side of the flag is different from the front side
|country||front side||back side|
Writings are not displayed as mirror writings. In these cases front and back side are identical:
All the flag images on this web site do not consider the aspect ratio, which for some flags is official. Here they all have a size of 600x360x16, thumbnails of 60x36x16, so that they can be tiled if necessary.
Maps of countries with administrative divisions and overview maps that show the position of a country can be clicked on to go to the relative division or country. Note that the maps are designed to roughly show the borders of the countries and administrative divisions. It does not express any political opinion in case of disputed borders.
Mostly you can intuitively click the maps to navigate to another country or division, however in some difficult cases - e.g. when there is a large number of divisions or if they are very small - division names pass their borders. In these cases the click should not follow the name, but the actual division according to its borders. Two easy-to-follow rules will make it easy to navigate through the maps:
Thin black lines on the map mean that the areas seperated by these lines are not contiguous, and in a few cases the areas' scale is not the same.
The map layers consist of places symbols and place names of a specified country or region. Its presentation is an elongated equatorial cylindrical projection. They are thought to serve for comparision with other maps or for checking geocoordinates of places or their belonging to a specified administrative division. Places with the same color mean that they belong to the same administrative divion, where always the smalles divisions are used (in case there are several levels available). If a place is specified for display, it will be shown in white color with a black edge on the map. For some countries with a huge amount of places the layer will not be available. However it is possible to display the administrative divisions of these countries (e.g. Florida instead of the U.S.)
Due to several requests it is now possible to display unique codes for geographical entities in the options. Purpose of these codes is to facilitate the import of data into data bases. Hence they can also be found in the downloadable files.
Albeit these codes usually don't change over the years, this can't be guaranteed for the future though. The code will be changed in case the geographical coordinates of a place change or in case geographical coordinates are assigned to a place.