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U.S. Cities With Population > 1 Million

Name the American cities that have a population of at least one million within the city limits.
Population according to 2021 U.S. census estimates
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: May 28, 2022
First submittedOctober 30, 2016
Times taken42,593
Average score77.8%
Rating4.41
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Population
Years
City
8,467,513
1857–
New York City
3,849,297
1928–
Los Angeles
2,696,555
1889–
Chicago
2,288,250
1963–
Houston
1,624,569
1991–
Phoenix
1,576,251
1888–
Philadelphia
1,451,853
1991–
San Antonio
1,381,611
1986–
San Diego
1,288,457
1990–
Dallas
Rest in Peace ☠️
1921–1990
Detroit
2014–2019
San Jose
+31
Level ∞
Oct 30, 2016
Detroit was over a million in 1921, and reached a peak of around 1.85 million in 1950. It now has a population of about 670,000.
+5
Level 56
Mar 28, 2017
Cool fact! I knew it wasn't over one million in the present but was wondering about the past..
+8
Level 60
Mar 29, 2017
If I'm remembering correctly, at one point, Detroit was the third most populous city in America.
+2
Level 67
Oct 29, 2019
I think that was Saint Louis, but I'm not sure.
+1
Level 55
Jun 15, 2022
It was New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia for years. Then Los Angeles took over some of its suburbs. I don’t think any other city has been in the top three.
+1
Level 55
Jul 31, 2022
There were several exceptions to NYC, Chicago, Philly, and LA, although mostly in the early days. In 1790 Boston was 3rd. From 1800-1820 Baltimore was 3rd (and was 2nd in 1830-1840), New Orleans was 3rd in 1840, Boston was 3rd in 1850, Brooklyn 3rd in 1860-1880 (as it was separate from NYC at the time). Of course, after that it is what you said.
+18
Level 27
Mar 30, 2017
Democrats, never again
+15
Level 87
Jun 29, 2018
All the greedy Republican CEOs built crap cars and the city's lifeblood poured out.
+66
Level ∞
May 27, 2019
Get a room you two. Detroit's problems are far beyond the scope of partisan squabbles.
+8
Level 87
Jun 26, 2019
Agreed. The blame for decades long economic collapse in a dull cold landscapes versus growth in warmer climates has nothing to do with current politicians. The young outsiders' political blame game is getting pathetic.
+5
Level 43
Sep 25, 2019
What killed Detroit (like many Midwest and eastern cities) was a mixture of many things, which includes politics and greed, along with racism, migration and the loss of manufacturers. Democrats support unions. Union demands (greed) caused corporate America to seek cheaper labor elsewhere, which eliminated manufacturing jobs in Detroit. So people started leaving Detroit for work in other places. On Top of that, racism played a role with white flight, where whites started fleeing for the comfort and security of the suburbs, which impacted the city's population.

With the limited job market, poverty gripped the city and crime began to rise as people resorted to criminal activities to make ends meet. Then add drugs into the mix (at one point, 70% of all homicides in Detroit were drug related), plus political corruption (Kwame Kilpatrick -D) and you get the Detroit we have today.

Gary, Indiana is another good example with the decline in steel manufacturing, along with Pittsburgh, PA, etc

+6
Level 66
Jan 13, 2021
Pittsburgh's health care market has propped the city back up since its decline. It gets a bad rap, but its a very nice city actually.
+6
Level 87
Jul 3, 2021
Pittsburgh's a beautiful city actually.
+1
Level 68
Dec 31, 2021
How's Covid going for you folks?
+10
Level 66
Jun 12, 2022
I find it interesting that union demands (higher wages, better benefits, safer working conditions, etc for working class people) are interpreted as "greed" whereas the people they're negotiating against, management, are typically trying to secure a fourth yacht but are never accused of greed. Also, it's worth noting that unions were incredibly powerful in New York, Chicago, and Boston in the mid-20th century but these cities somehow did not collapse to 1/3rd their size. Detroit and cities like it collapsed because of a deliberate policy of financialization and deindustrialization that was pursued by the federal government from the 70s, and a general policy of anti-urbanization from the end of WWII. Both parties encouraged this and both encourage it to this day, and there is literally no policy that any municipal government can take to stop it. At best they can blunt the edge, but even that's difficult
+5
Level 67
Jun 12, 2022
Yeah, pinning Detroit's collapse on the unions is one of the dumber interpretations I can recall.
+3
Level 70
Jun 12, 2022
Whilst it might be correct to say that this is about more than partisan, party squabble generally, i.e., you can’t point directly to Democrats or Republicans, the polarised nature of politics doesn’t help. Probably better to say that, whilst no one side can be held entirely culpable, the nature of present day political squabbles is such that both sides must be held jointly responsible. When political support is so extremely tribal, with voters so entrenched in ‘the red team,’ or ‘the blue team’ and discourse losing all civility, you get problems like this. So, whilst no one side can be held responsible for creating the problem, they can both be blamed for failing to provide and implement solutions
+2
Level 66
Mar 20, 2018
+1
Level 33
Nov 18, 2020
missed phoenix I am 9
+1
Level 49
Mar 10, 2022
Reminds me of the song "Shuttin' Detroit Down" by John Rich
+1
Level 63
Oct 30, 2016
Interesting quiz! Didn't expect there to be 10.
+1
Level 81
Oct 30, 2016
I really expected more. But I guess most are sprawled around.
+5
Level 74
Oct 30, 2016
It's so strange that US and Canadian cities have that wierd quirk where most of the people who live in the city live in a different local council area so they sometimes don't count.

In Australia we have different "cities" within a city from a technical standpoint, (I live in Melbourne, but technically my local council is the City of Maroondah - you've never heard of it) but you don't get people take it as actually different places!

+4
Level 83
Oct 30, 2016
Arguably the US system is actually simpler than the Australian one. The City of Melbourne for example contains less than 3% of what we typically consider to be Melbourne. These population figures for US cities don't really give you a good idea of how big these cities really are, but they come closer to the reality than equivalent Australian figures (Queensland cities are an exception - around half of Greater Brisbane's population lives in the City of Brisbane and the vast majority of the Gold Coast's population live in Gold Coast City Council boundaries). But I do get your point - it seems more common in the US to refer to administrative boundaries than metro areas. People who live in San Bernardino aren't said to live in Los Angeles. You can be less than a mile from Downtown Manhattan and not be said to be in New York City, if you're across the Hudson. You can stand in Arlington, within sight of the Washington Monument and people will say you're not in Washington.
+6
Level 59
Dec 23, 2016
But here I am, 12 miles outside the actual boundary of the city of Denver, and nobody bats an eye if we say we live in Denver. It's rather inconsistent.
+7
Level 58
Sep 20, 2017
Maybe it's relative to how large the country is? I live in Diemen, a few hundred meters away from Amsterdam but God forbid I say im from Amsterdam or people will start tripping.
+9
Level 66
Sep 20, 2017
Hahaha, dogla305 wrote "Amsterdam" and "tripping" in the same sentence.
+4
Level 71
May 29, 2022
I think it’s really a matter of who you’re talking to. Even though I live 30 miles from the city of Houston, I would tell anybody who doesn’t live in Texas that I’m from Houston. If I’m talking to someone from Texas I tell the that I live south of Houston, and if I’m talking to someone from the Houston area I give the specific landmarks near me. Granted it’s a little different because of Houston’s enormous urban sprawl, at least when compared to other U.S. cities.
+1
Level 61
May 29, 2022
I live in Mesa, Arizona but consider myself a Phoenician.
+2
Level 57
Jul 6, 2018
I'll never understand why people would count a city (or multiple cities) as part of another city just because its bigger, people always confuse me by telling me they live somewhere then i find out later that they live like a half hour drive outside the city they've told me they are from!
+1
Level 67
Sep 4, 2019
Yea, I agree... atleast say near...... or something. (or perhaps in some cases; part of the municipal of.........)
+1
Level 87
May 31, 2022
I'm not sure what the issue is frankly. If I'm traveling, I often tell people what state I'm from rather than try to be too specific in a way that won't be useful or informative (like my small town or the neighboring bigger city). This kind of thing is relative, and the way the quiz is setup is perfectly fine: every town/city has boundaries but in casual conversation people can associate themselves to it however they like, even if they technically live in a suburb or similar.
+2
Level 67
Mar 28, 2017
Does suburbs count as another city? What does "within the city limits" mean?
+3
Level 67
Mar 28, 2017
It means what it says. Once you step outside the city border, you are no longer in the city. So people who live in the suburbs or "metro area" do not count. New York, for example, has a city population of under 9 million people, but it skyrockets to 20 million people when you include the suburbs.
+2
Level 67
Mar 28, 2017
Yeah, that's really pretty literal. I know Texas (and I imagine other locales as well) puts up signs with the city name and population when you enter pretty much every city, from Diboll to Dallas. You drive across the Metroplex and are constantly entering/leaving cities.
+1
Level 28
Mar 28, 2017
he didnt put New Orleans
+2
Level 56
Mar 28, 2017
because new orleans doesn't have one million people. PS the patriots rule
+5
Level 32
Mar 27, 2018
New Orleans has less than 400,000 people and has never had a million.
+3
Level 61
Jun 6, 2017
Few seconds left... 'Should I try San Jose? No, it won't be big enough'...
+2
Level 56
Nov 12, 2017
Sorry
+8
Level 63
Feb 23, 2020
Apology accepted
+1
Level 56
Nov 12, 2017
Didn't mean to I was just Having fun.
+1
Level 56
Nov 12, 2017
By the way, Phoenix is more populous than Philadelphia
+1
Level 49
Feb 24, 2018
but there are less than 1 million people living in Phoenix city limits, you can'tcount scottsdale, peoria, glendale, etc so there are WAY more people living in Philly metro area than Phoenix.. I should know, Ive lived outside of Philly and Phoenix for most of my life.
+2
Level 87
Jun 29, 2018
Nope, a million and a half living in Phoenix incorporated city boundaries. Its just a huge, huge boundary that on the East Coast would swallow up tons of suburbs.
+1
Level 70
Jun 12, 2022
Hopefully not both at the same time?!
+1
Level 62
Apr 17, 2020
1:34 left first try
+5
Level 70
Jun 12, 2022
You need to post your full address if you want them to send you the medal.
+6
Level 86
May 29, 2022
San Jose finally got into the club, looked around, shrugged, and left.
+2
Level 67
May 29, 2022
San Jose may eke back in, Austin TX will probably be next, followed by Ft Worth TX. Sunbelt will keep on growing.
+2
Level 56
May 30, 2022
The story of Detroit is just sad 😔
+3
Level 71
May 30, 2022
What happened to San Jose? I was under the impression that the city was still growing.
+4
Level 84
Jun 12, 2022
Other states like Texas with more pro-corporate policies have been stealing away the tech industry that spurred on the city's rapid growth in the 90s and 2000s. Companies have been moving, and so have the jobs they represent, and as I've said countless times this is the main reason why people move, too.
+4
Level 68
Jun 12, 2022
highest rent in the US played a role i'm guessing
+2
Level 67
May 31, 2022
San Jose still had like barely over 1 million people in 2020.
+1
Level 24
Jun 13, 2022
San jose has a population of 1,984,000, so it should be included. You can look it up
+1
Level 71
Jul 19, 2022
You can look it up, and absolutely no numbers come close to that one…
+1
Level 55
Jun 14, 2022
By the most recent census data (2020) San Jose has a population of 1.013 - 1.029 million people. Most estimates still place San Jose's population above 1 million even with a population decline between 2020 and 2022. The data is slightly mixed, I looked at a couple of sources, most California State sources list San Jose's population above 1 million, however the cities own website lists it at 984,299. Still, I would err on the side of caution as most reputable sources still list it at over 1 million, and while there has been a slight population decline in the city proper, I personally would need to see more evidence of a net loss of 60,000+ people in just over a year. - This is not to say that the Greater San Jose Area population didn't decrease, just that San Jose is still probably + 1 million.
+1
Level 55
Jun 14, 2022
I should also clarify why it is unlikely for San Jose to have lost 60,000 residents in just over a year. To lose that many people would amount to a loss between 5-6% of all residents. California had a net loss of only 0.3% in 2021 (one of the largest net losses in the states history). Granted, the Bay area probably had a much larger net loss between housing prices and a particularly bad year of forest fires, but even then, say the predicted losses of 0.6% is an underestimate and it was triple the states average net loss at 0.9%. That would still only be a net loss of around 9000 to 10000 residents which would still keep the population above 1 million.
+1
Level ∞
Jun 14, 2022
I just take the numbers from the Census. I imagine that they have good reasons for their 2021 estimates.
+1
Level 43
Nov 17, 2022
San Jose is back over a mil, if u wanna update the quiz 🙂