Top 50 Cities in the U.S. by Population and Rank
America's Big Cities
America's largest city is New York City, by far. The city itself has more than twice as many people as Los Angeles, and the New York-Newark urban area is the country's only megacity.
These numbers do not necessarily reflect the size of their different metro areas. Washington D.C., Boston, and Dallas-Fort Worth are three major instances where the city proper is ranked very differently from the urban area. DFW is usually clumped together for urban studies. Washington and Boston's urban areas are both usually in the top 10, rather than the low 20s.
The table below lists the largest 50 cities in the United States based on population. While some cities have kept their ranking fairly stable, others showed large leaps. For example, Phoenix, Arizona, has grown from a city of 983,403 residents in 1990 to the country's fifth largest. Austin, Texas, nearly doubled its population, and it continues to see a large number of new residents each year.
Some cities, such as Detroit, have decreased in population. The Motor City, which once had 1.8 million residents in the 1950s, went down to a population of 1,027,974 in 1990 and has continued to decline.
|RANK||CITY||Population Estimate 7/1/19||2010 Census||2000 Census||1990 Census|
|1||New York, New York||8,336,817||8,175,133||8,008,278||7,322,564|
|2||Los Angeles, California||3,979,576||3,792,621||3,694,820||3,485,398|
|7||San Antonio, Texas||1,547,253||1,327,407||1,144,646||935,933|
|8||San Diego, California||1,423,851||1,307,402||1,223,400||1,110,549|
|10||San Jose, California||1,021,795||945,942||894,943||782,248|
|13||Fort Worth, Texas||909,585||741,206||534,694||447,619|
|15||Charlotte, North Carolina||885,708||731,424||540,828||395,934|
|16||San Francisco, California||881,549||805,235||776,733||723,959|
|22||El Paso, Texas||681,728||649,121||563,662||515,342|
|25||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||655,057||579,999||506,132||444,719|
|27||Las Vegas, Nevada||651,319||583,756||478,434||258,295|
|29||Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky2||617,638||597,337||256,231||269,063|
|38||Kansas City, Missouri||495,327||459,787||441,545||435,146|
|39||Colorado Springs, Colorado||478,221||416,427||360,890||281,140|
|41||Raleigh, North Carolina||474,069||403,892||276,093||207,951|
|43||Long Beach, California||462,628||462,257||461,522||429,433|
|44||Virginia Beach, Virginia||449,974||437,994||425,257||393,069|
|50||New Orleans, Louisiana||390,144||343,829||484,674||495,080|
Biggest doesn't always mean best
Although in general America's biggest cities are major centers of global wealth and culture, that doesn't necessarily mean they're the best to live in for the average person. Major cities can experience a very high cost of living. If the cost of living outpaces wages in the city, then it can force people to move out to cheaper locations. America's three biggest tech markets-San Francisco, New York, and Boston-all have very high housing costs compared to cities in the Midwest.
Or, depending on what your interests are, the best cities might be unrelated to their size or even affordability. Cultural attractions might play a big factor; Austin, Texas, for example, is often called America's live music capital. If you're someone who attends a lot of concerts, that may influence your judgement. Click here to see the list of America's most livable cities.
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