Major Cities Ranking

More than 31 million people live in the 25 cities in the Major Cities category. While this is only about 11 percent of the total population, it is an amazingly important 11 percent. A disproportionate share of our news, ideas, governance, influence, wealth, and popular culture comes from these cities. The average Major City has a population of about 1.24 million people (about the size of San Diego), including about 300,000 children under the age of 18. The Major Cities range in size from more than 8 million in New York to just over 300,000 in Tampa. Detroit has the highest proportion of children (31%), and San Francisco has the lowest (14.5%).

We define a Major City as the main city in an MSA (metropolitan statistical area) that contains at least 2 million people. Thus, places like St. Louis, Minneapolis, Miami, Naperville, Illinois, Baltimore, MD with city populations of less than 400,000, are included as major cities while large cities like Jacksonville, Indianapolis and San Antonio are not. A major city is determined by the population of the metro area-not the size of the core city.

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