Largest cities and metropolitan areas in the European Union (Eurostat)

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[edit] Eurostat's urban population statistics

The list below provides the most accurate comparison of urban demographics in the European Union as it benefits from the harmonized Eurostat definitions<ref name="wrongb">"Urban Audit Methodological Handbook", Eurostat, 2004.</ref>. These definitions were agreed between Eurostat and the National Statistics Offices of the different countries of the European Union at the occasion of the European Commission's urban audit of 2004<ref name="wrongc">"The shift of Eurostat to Urban Statistics", Berthold Feldman, Eurostat, 2006-03-14.</ref>.

[edit] Eurostat's urban definitions

The below list shows the population sizes by two spatial definitions: Larger Urban Zone and City. Eurostat typically defines the City Level by using political boundaries in order to make this definition directly relevant to policy makers and politicians. In many countries these boundaries are clearly established and well-known. As a result, for most cities the boundary used in the Urban Audit corresponds to the general perception of that city. However, for some cities such as for instance Paris it was necessary to develop another definition (see below). The Larger Urban Zone represents a harmonized definition of the metropolitan area. Eurostat's objective was to have an area from a significant share of the resident commute into the city, a concept known as the “functional urban region”. To ensure a good data availability, Eurostat works with administrative boundaries that approximate the functional urban region.

[edit] Ranking methodology

The list below contains all cities in the European Union of which the population is one million or more for Eurostat's spatial definition of City. For those cities selected, the population for Eurostat's spatial definitions of City and Larger Urban Zone is shown. This approach avoids the list containing Larger Urban Zones that are commonly not regarded as true cities, eg Randstad. The cities are ranked by the size of the population of the Larger Urban Zone. Obviously, other lists can be created by using different selection criteria and by ranking on a different value. Yet whatever the selection or ranking methodology, the figures in the Eurostat database are harmonized for all of the European Union, making comparisons accurate. The data used is from the 2004 urban audit, which uses information collected for 2001, without any grossing up, in order to maintain full accuracy.

[edit] European Union cities by population, in millions

Rank City name Country Larger Urban Zone City Level Definition
1 London Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom 11.6 7.2
2 Paris Image:Flag of France.svg France 11.0 6.3
3 Madrid Image:Flag of Spain.svg Spain 5.4 3.0
4 Berlin Image:Flag of Germany.svg Germany 4.9 3.4
5 Barcelona Image:Flag of Spain.svg Spain 4.8 1.5
6 Milan Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy 4.2 1.3
7 Athens Image:Flag of Greece.svg Greece 4.2 0.7
8 Rome Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy 3.7 2.5
9 Hamburg Image:Flag of Germany.svg Germany 3.1 1.7
10 Naples Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy 3.1 1.0
11 Warsaw Image:Flag of Poland (bordered).svg Poland 2.6 1.6
12 Budapest Image:Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary 2.5 1.8
13 Munich Image:Flag of Germany.svg Germany 2.4 1.2
14 Birmingham Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom 2.3 1.0
15 Vienna Image:Flag of Austria.svg Austria 2.1 1.6
16 Bucharest Image:Flag of Romania.svg Romania 2.1 1.9
17 Prague Image:Flag of the Czech Republic (bordered).svg Czech Republic 1.9 1.3
18 Cologne Image:Flag of Germany.svg Germany 1.9 1.0
19 Brussels Image:Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium 1.8 1.0
20 Lyon Image:Flag of France.svg France 1.7 1.2
21 Dublin Image:Flag of Ireland (bordered).svg Ireland 1.67 1.1
22 Marseille Image:Flag of France.svg France 1.5 1.0
23 Sofia Image:Flag of Bulgaria (bordered).svg Bulgaria 1.3 1.1
24 Turin Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy 1.3 1.0
25 Lille Image:Flag of France.svg France 1.2 1.1
26 Toulouse Image:Flag of France.svg France 1.1 0.8

[edit] Comparison between London and Paris

Not only have such comparisons always proven difficult because of different definitions employed, in many cases they have also been controversial because of the old rivalry between these two capital cities. Eurostat finished this debate by creating three harmonized definitions<ref name="wrongd">"Towards a common standard - Comparing European and American Cities", GLA Economics, July 2005.</ref>. In terms of geographic area, Eurostat uses a larger surface area for the Kernel and City of London than for Paris and a larger surface area for the Larger Urban Zone of Paris than for London. Eurostat has also published maps to clearly demonstrate the difference<ref name="wronge">"The Urban Audit - An Introduction and The First Results", Elisabeth Helander, Eurostat, 2004.</ref>. The table below shows the 2001 figures used in the latest Urban Audit by the European Commission.

Definition London Paris
Kernel Inner London 2.8 million (322 km²)2.1 million (105 km²)La Ville de Paris
CityGreater London7.2 million (1,578 km²) 6.3 million (762 km²)Paris et petite couronne
Larger Urban ZoneLarger Urban Zone of London11.6 mio (8,906 km²)11.4 mio (12,012 km²)Ile-de-France

The London LUZ contains following authorities: Greater London, Basildon, Tonbridge and Malling, Epping Forest, St. Albans, Bracknell Forest, Broxbourne, Castle Point, Medway, Epsom and Ewell, Mole Valley, Southend-on-Sea, Hertsmere, Uttlesford, Surrey Heath, Dartford, Chiltern, Dacorum, Elmbridge, Welwyn Hatfield, Guildford, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Stevenage, Spelthorne, Woking, Harlow, Tandridge, Reigate and Banstead, Three Rivers, Rochford, Sevenoaks, Slough, Watford, Windsor and Maidenhead, South Bucks, Runnymede, Thurrock, Maldon, Maidstone, East Hertfordshire, Gravesham and Tunbridge Wells.

UK authorities sometimes use broader definitions for the London metropolitan area, the Eurostat definition of London's LUZ for instance does not include Reading. This is why some UK definitions will result in a metropolitan population of 13 - 14 mio versus the 11.6 as defined by Eurostat (2001).

The harmonization of the city definitions also allows to compare GDP numbers for the first time. For 2003 these were €454.9 billion for LUZ Paris and €494.3 billion for LUZ London.

[edit] Urban Audit

Eurostat's Urban Audit is about much more than demographics. In order for it to be useful as a policy tool to the European Commission and other authorities it contains data for over 250 indicators across the following domains<ref name="wrongf">"Urban Audit", European Commission, 2006.</ref>:

  • Demography
  • Social Aspects
  • Economic Aspects
  • Civic Involvement
  • Training and Education
  • Environment
  • Travel and Transport
  • Information Society
  • Culture and Recreation

[edit] References

<references />

Largest cities and metropolitan areas in the European Union (Eurostat)

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