Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits
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|Life in the European Union|
This list includes the most up-to-date official census figures or census estimates with regards to the population of the largest cities in the European Union. It deals exclusively with the areas within city boundaries as opposed to urban areas or metropolitan areas.
The European Union statistics agency Eurostat does not gather information with regards to the population of cities within the member states, it is rather the task of national statistical agencies that gather such information every 5 to 10 years and that often make official estimates on the population of the cities. In some case the regional, local and municipal authorities also gather such information. This list exclusively includes official information from national agencies as well as official information from local government authorities.
 Top 100 administrative units
National capitals are in bold.
 Other notable cities
- Since this table covers only the European Union, large European cities in non-member countries are omitted, such as, for instance, Moscow, Oslo and Zürich.
- Brussels – the capital city of Belgium and unofficially referred to as the capital of the European Union is nowhere near the top 100 list, as the relatively small municipality has a total population of only 141,312 (Census estimate 2004). The greater Brussels-Capital Region has a population of over 1 million.
- Århus, Denmark - the city with 296,368 inhabitants is growing by about 2,500 inhabihants every year and will soon enter the Top 100.
- Bordeaux, France – the city in Aquitaine is not on the list because most people in the Bordeaux Metropolitan Area live in the suburbs, outside of the city limits. Population within the city proper: 230,600 (January 1, 2005).
- Ljubljana – the Slovenian capital has a total population of 258,873 and its population is currently declining.
- Luxembourg - the capital city of Luxembourg has a total population of 77,325 (Census Estimate 2004).
- Nantes, France – the city in Brittany is not on the list because most people in the Nantes Metropolitan Area live in the suburbs, outside of the city limits. Population within the city proper: 281,800 (January 1, 2005).
- Nicosia – the capital of Cyprus has a population of 47,832 (Census 2001). It is the third largest municipality in Cyprus.
- Lille, France – the city in French Flanders is not on the list because most people in the Lille Metropolitan Area live in the suburbs, outside of the city limits. Population within the city proper: 225,100 (January 1, 2005).
- Nottingham, United Kingdom, 273,863 (2003 est.) – the famous English city lost over 20,000 of its inhabitants between 1991 and 2001, owing mostly to migration from the inner city to suburbs outside the city limits.
- Porto, Portugal - 263,131 (2001 est.) - the second city in Portugal. One of the biggest metropolitan areas on the European Atlantic coast. Plans of an union with Vila Nova de Gaia could mean the formation of a city with over 500,000 inhabitants.
- Strasbourg, France – another important city in terms of the European Union is just short of the list, with a population of 264,115 as of 1999, but the January 1, 2005 estimate suggests that it is now closer with a population of 272,700.
- Valletta, Malta – the capital city has a total population of only 7,199 (Census Estimate 2001). The largest city in Malta is Birkirkara, with a population just under 25,000.
- Venice, Italy – the famous Italian city was constantly losing population for over 20 years until 2003 when the influx of immigrant population gave Venice a net gain of 3417 citizens in comparison to 2002. The city may be back in the top 100 soon. Its current population is 271,663 (Census Estimate 2004-01-01).
- Cork, Ireland - the second city of the republic of Ireland with a population of 119,143(2006). The Cork City limits are very restrictive.The Greater Cork area is currently 370,000 and predicted to grow to 450,000 by 2020.
- Almere, Netherlands - did not have a population until 1976, has a pop. of 176,000 in 2006 and is forecast to have a pop. of 214,000 by 2010.
- Cluj-Napoca, Romania - one of the most important Romanian cities,with a population of 318,027 according to 2002 census and a census estimate in 2006 suggests a population of 342,000
- Košice, Slovakia - the second largest city in Slovakia with population of 234,871 (2005 census) and with city of Prešov it is a part of second biggest Slovak metropolitan area with total population of some 350,000.
 Cities likely to enter the top 100 in the near future
- L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain - Barcelona suburb. The EU's biggest suburb currently has a total population of 250,536 and growing. The Catalan city is likely to enter the top 100 within five years.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain - this city in the Canary Islands had a net gain of population of over 7,000 people between 2001 and 2005 according to Spanish Census estimates. This gain is due to a large influx of population from other EU countries. As of 2005 the city had a total population of 221,567 and with such growth the city is likely to crack the top 100 within the next decade.[dubious — see talk page]
- Münster, Germany - the city where the Peace of Wesphalia was signed is currently 101st largest in the EU and its population keeps on growing.
- Utrecht, the Netherlands. Utrecht has a population of 276,000 at this moment and is about to get a new area Leidsche Rijn, in which around 80,000 people can live.
- Sunderland a metropolitian borough, United Kingdom, an upcoming city in the United Kingdom which is slowly increasing in trade with the European Union with its newly built business park, it has an estimated population of 285,000, which is increasing quickly after a short decline.
 Cities likely to lose their top 100 status in the future
- Bari and Catania, Italy - massive population losses for all Italian cities are especially large in the cities of southern part of Italy like these two.
- Belfast, United Kingdom - contrary to popular perceptions, Northern Ireland's migration rate has shown a net increase since 1995 - but this is countered by population movement from Belfast into the suburbs outside the city boundary. However, the planned reorganization of local government boundaries in Northern Ireland in 2009 should see the city limits extended and take the population back above 300,000, and back into the top 100.
- Wuppertal, Germany as other industrial cities in the Ruhr area has had a declining population for many years, and looking at the current demographic tendency it is all but certain that some of them will disappear from the top 100 list in the future as did another Ruhr area city Gelsenkirchen which was included in the top 100 until 2004.
- Katowice, Poland - this industrial city is losing its population quickly. In three years the city is unlikely to figure among the 100 largest EU cities.
 Candidate Countries
 The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
- Istanbul 8,803,468
- Ankara 3,203,362
- İzmir 2,232,265
- Bursa 1,194,687
- Adana 1,130,710
- Gaziantep 853,513
- Konya 742,690
- Antalya 603,190
- Diyarbakır 545,983
- Mersin 537,842
- Kayseri 536,392
- Eskişehir 482,793
- Şanlıurfa 385,588
- Malatya 381,081
- Samsun 363,180
- Erzurum 361,235
- Kahramanmaraş 326,198
- Van 284,464
- Adapazarı 283,752
- Denizli 275,48
(only Istanbul is (partially) geographically in Europe, other cities are part of Asia. Nevertheless, Istanbul would displace London as the largest city in the EU if Turkey were admitted.)