What Are Some of the Biggest Cities in the United States?

Aurelien Guichard/CC-BY-SA 2.0

As of 2012, the biggest cities in the United States are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia, when ranked by population, according to the City Mayors Foundation. When ranked by area, some of the biggest cities are Juneau, Sitka, Yakutat, all of which are in Alaska, and Jacksonville, Florida, notes About.com.

In 2012, the population of New York City was 8,336,697, an increase of 161,564 from 2010, says the City Mayors Foundation. The populations of the next four largest cities in 2012 are listed as 3,857,799, 2,714,856, 2,160,821 and 1,547,607, respectively. All of these cities’ populations grew from 2010 to 2012; Detroit is the only city listed in the top 20 that experienced a decline in this period. The population of a city is usually defined by its central urban area, but when surrounding areas are included, the numbers can change. For instance, San Francisco’s population is only 777,000, but the total urban population is over three million.

Jacksonville is the biggest city in the lower 48 states, with a total area of 758 square miles, according to About.com. Yakutat has an area over nine million square miles, a portion of which includes water, glaciers and ice fields. Sitka and Juneau have areas of 2,874 and 2,717 square miles, respectively.