The next city to hit a million will be....

Any ideas??

We have NYC, LA, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas having over a million within their city limits.

Detroit was so far the only city to hit a million then fall back under. (hit a million offically that is). Will it bounce back and hit a million? Both Cleveland and Baltimore hit over 900,000 in the cities proper but never made it. Saint Louis, Wash DC, San Fran, and I believe Boston made it to 800,000 but never made it.

What city do you think in the next 20, years will hit a million (in the city proper)

Do I assume you’re limiting this question to cities in the US?

San Jose hit a million around 1970. It now has about 1,670,000.

Phoenix has about 855,000 and is growing at about 3%/yr.


I would also guess Ft. Worth and Sacramento. In about a decade, I’d consider Columbus, Ohio.

BTW, I think both st. Louis and Cleveland got to 900,000 before they fell back.

I don’t know, but in New Orleans, during Mardi Gras, the crowd FEELS like a million people.

White Wolf

“Death is the only inescapable, unavoidable, sure thing. We are sentenced to die the day we’re born.” -Gary Mark Gilmore

Fort Worth is about 500,000 within its city limits.

The OP specified populations within the cities proper. Greater Sacto has been over 1 million since 1991:

, and Sacremento County has remained only slightly over 1 million from 1991 to 1999, and is currently only increasing at about 0.5% per annum,

, but the city proper is presently only:

“Population: 396,500 within the city limits”,

, but it claims a present 2% growth rate.

I much doubt it will be the next city in the US to turn over to 1 million within its city limits.


Yeah, and city limits can be very deceptive. The city of St Louis is only a small portion of the St Louis SMSA’s population, for instance. For all practical purposes, most of the cities you mentioned are already much larger than 1,000,000. Its just that not all of that population lives within the actual city limits.

Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars.

Interesting question.

Denver has approx. 2 million in the metro area, however the city and county of Denver only has about 450,000 that actually live there.

So the question might be asked, do you count the surrounding areas (like New York…lots of burbs there and LA with many burbs too?)

If we were to be technical, who actually has the most people living within the boundries of a city, not including the burbs?

opinion - a belief held often without positive knowledge or proof.

oppress - to burden harshly, unjustly, or tyrannically.

don’t oppress my ability to have an opinion

Who cares what population is within city limits? It’s the metro area that makes the difference.

Oh, please let it be Des Moines…

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

Double that even. Two million people were in N.O. for Mardi Gras '99. Pretty good for a city of 500,000.

From what I can tell, San Jose, CA, has not yet gone much past 800,000 in the city limits. It is the MSA that is 1.6 Million and growing…

MSA’s and CMSA’s are probably more practical ways to rank population, though they don’t help with understanding density. When a major city grows in population within the city limits, often this represents increased density, since most major cities can’t significantly expand their limits, thanks to suburbs. This isn’t always true, as San Jose proves, since it has large tracts of unfilled land at its south end, and could keep annexing further and further south if it wanted.

This site has the latest estimates on populations in the MSA’s. For fun with the census, go to

NOT limiting to the United States of America…

Toronto: 2.4 million within city limits. This is a semi-cheat; the original city and five suburbs were forcibly amalgamted a couple of years ago, and the regional government they shared was disbanded. I’m not sure of the separate pre-amalgamation populations.
Greater Toronto Area: ~4.5 million.

I keep hearing of cities such as London and Tokyo with populations well over 10 million. I assume that these would include the central city plus oodles of suburbs?

The trouble with metro areas is they are ill defined. For example outside New England a metro area includes the entire county where the city is located. Now look a Reno, NV. Washoe County goes all the way up to the Idaho/Nevada border. Obviously people living there aren’t anywhere involved in Reno life. But they are counted as part of the Reno Area.

Another example is San Bernadino County, CA

Then you have Primary Meto Areas and Consolidated Metro area. Then you have metro areas like South Bend and Elkhart, IN. They should be ONE metro are. But no they are classed as two. The South Bend/Elkhart area is bigger than a lot of IN cities but you’d not know it from metro stats as they keep them in two metro areas

Then you have places like Detroit, MI. Clearly because of political boundries the Canadian suburbs aren’t counted in Detroit’s metro area.

Then you have Kenosha, WI that is part of the Chicago Consolidated Metro Area, but they get TV from Milwaukee, WI. So metro areas are no better than city limit in determaining growth.

Also most foreign countries refer to metro areas for city populations.

I think some of you are confused. THE ORIGINAL POST asks about populations within CITY LIMITS. I see some of you are mentioning cities having 1,000,000 when in fact their METROPOLITAN areas have 1,000,000 populations within their GENERAL VICINITY.

Under those criteria, I believe 30 or so cities would have “populations” of 1,000,000 or more, including Buffalo and Oklahoma City!

As of the revised 4/1/1990 census, ONLY New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Dallas AND Detroit had populations of 1,000,000 or more in their CITY PROPER.

Phoenix and San Antonio as of 1996 were estimated to have 1,000,000 people, but this will NOT be official until the 2000 census.

As of 1996, San Jose had an “estimated” population of 838,744.

I think it is a safe bet that Phoenix and San Antone will be made official million people cities in 2000, and San Jose is a 40-60 lock for the Club in 2010 as long as the “Big One” doesn’t sink that city into San Francisco Bay! Keep in mind that San Jose is only growing about 10,000 a year, so it might miss by a few thousand and all you gold miners out there might have to wait until 2020! That would certainly suck ass.

1996 estimates have Columbus at near 700,000 but its growth rate is too sluggish to make 1 million in 20 years.

El Paso was at 515,000 in 1990 and estimated to be 600,000 in 1996. That is a pretty good growth rate, and with Mexican immigration, this could grow even faster. El Paso might be poised to hit the mark in 2020.

Las Vegas is growning at a phenomenal rate of 20,000 new residents a year, but is at only 400,000 now, so it would be very hard to reach the million mark any time soon.

Austin is growing by about 10,000 a year, and is at 541,000 estimated in 1996. Still way too small to hit withing 20 years.

The only other cities to look hitting the mark withing the next 50 years would be . .

Fort Worth
Virginia Beach

The cities that have the best chance are the sun-belt cities since in 2010 or so many babyboomers will be retirng to mobile home parks there.

The other thing that makes this all hard to predict is governmental and societal changes that could chamge community structure over the next twenty years. Cities will either get bigger, or become obsolete.

Yes, Esq, after hauling the lawyers into court, I screwed up. I was mistakenly looking at the metro area for San Jose, but the official SJ page says:


“San Jose is the third largest city in
California, following Los Angeles and San Diego. It is the 11th largest city in the U.S. (*Jan. 1, 1999 State Department of Finance)”

If the city itself has an rate of increase the same as the met area, i.e., 1.3% per annum, it should make 1 million within its city limits by 2001. I think, unquestionably, it will be the next US city to hit the million mark.

Hey, they forgot to mention, on that city Web page, that I was born in their overgrown cow town – in 1931, when the present city area was mostly all orchards, prune and apricot, and the town boasted about 75K pop.


Well, at least the Oregon-Nevada border. But that’s no problem at all. Except when Burning Man is aflame, there’s only a handful of Indians and ranchers up there – nothing to upset calculations at all. What’s area got to do with it? (Like you care that San Francisco extends into the bay past Yerba Buena Is. halfway over the span from that island to Oakland, because of all those fish?)

Reno is 161,882. Sparks was 53,367 in 1990 [Rand McNally 1995 Road Atlas]. Washoe County is only 289,700 total.

The Riverside-San=Bernardino situation is only a little more of a problem.

Ray (Ya seen one teeming million, ya seen 'em all.)

“Then you have Kenosha, WI that is part of the Chicago Consolidated Metro Area, but they get TV from Milwaukee, WI. So metro areas are no better than city limit in determaining growth.”

But there’s a good reason why Kenosha is part of metropolitan Chicago: the Metra commuter train (Union Pacific-North) line ends there, so it’s within the daily commuting limits of Chicago. Mind you, you have to be on a train at Kenosha by 7:15 (arriving downtown at 8:44) to be at work by 9:00. But there are even farther commutes on the Metra system, so Kenosha isn’t the farthest suburb from Chicago.

There’s a not-uncommon situation called the “Kenosha compromise” where couples have one spouse working in Chicago and the other in Milwaukee. They reside in Kenosha so that one spouse can take the train to Chicago while the other drives to Milwaukee. Sounds to me like Kenosha could be legitimately placed in either the Chicago or Milwaukee metro area, or both (can a town be in more than one metro area?).

Assboink, Idaho.


Metro areas are still a much better guide to how truly “big” a big city is, than simply the population of the municipal limits of the central city which gives its name to the popular description of the metro. Boston has about 600,000 people in it; “Boston” is a lot bigger than those mere 600,000 souls though.

I agree with you, Labrodorian.

Here’s a list of cities or pairs of cities of less than 1 million people that have LARGER “markets” or metropolitan areas than Houston, Dallas OR Detroit:

Boston (5.5. million)
Washington-Baltimore (7 million!)

San Jose is included in a metro area of 6.5 million with San Francisco and Oakland, but those cities are a bit far from each other.

These smaller than 1 million cities have larger metropolitan areas than San Diego:


In addition St Louis has a larger metro area than Phoenix.
Poor San Antonio must have almost no suburbs- it ranks as the 28th largest market in the U.S.!

Believe it or not, under this criteria, Portland, Sacremento, Orlando, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Hartford, Providence, Rochester and Greensboro-Winston Salem could all be considered “million” cities, despite that less than 500,000 people live in any of these towns city limits!