More than 28 million people live in the 20 cities in the Major Cities category. While this is only about 10 percent of the total population, it is an incredibly important 10 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 1.42 million people (about the size of Philadelphia), including about 340,000 children under the age of 18. The Major Cities range in size from more than 8 million in New York City to just under 350,000 in St. Louis. Detroit has the highest proportion of children (31%), while San Francisco has the lowest (14.6%). We define a Major City as the main city in an MSA (metropolitan statistical area) that contains at least 2.5 million people. Thus, places like St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Miami, with city populations of less than 400,000, are included as Major Cities, while larger cities such as San Antonio, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee are not. A Major City is determined by the population of the metro area—not the size of the core city.
Major Cities: Overall Rank