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Mapped: U.S. States By Number of Cities Over 250K Residents

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Over 80% of the American population lives in an “urban area” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But where are all of the country’s largest cities, and what patterns can we see from their state locations?

This map shows U.S. states by their number of incorporated areas (i.e. cities or towns) that have more than 250,000 residents. Data for this map comes from 2024 estimates made by World Population Review, which were based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures.

An incorporated area is a legally recognized region with its own local government, empowered to enact and enforce laws within its boundaries, often including cities, towns, or villages.

Ranked: U.S. States By Number of Cities Over 250K Residents

California and Texas—also the most populous U.S. states—each have more than 10 cities with at least a quarter of a million inhabitants.

StateCities With 250K
PeopleCity Names

California15Los Angeles, San
Diego, San Jose,
San Fransisco,
Fresno, Sacramento,
Long Beach, Oakland,
Bakersfield, Anaheim,
Riverside, Stockton,
Irvine, Santa Ana,
Chula Visa

Texas12Houston, San
Antonio, Dallas,
Fort Worth, Austin,
El Paso, Arlington,
Corpus Christi, Plano,
Lubbock, Laredo,

Arizona6Phoenix, Tucson,
Mesa, Chandler,
Gilbert, Glendale

Florida6Jacksonville, Miami,
Tampa, Orlando,
St. Petersburg,
Port St. Lucie

North Carolina5Charlotte, Raleigh,
Greensboro, Durham,

Ohio4Columbus, Cleveland,
Cincinnati, Toledo

Nevada4Las Vegas, Henderson,
North Las Vegas,

Colorado3Denver, Colorado
Springs, Aurora

Tennessee2Nashville, Memphis

New York2New York, Buffalo

Pennsylvania2Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Fort Wayne

Oklahoma2Oklahoma City, Tulsa

County, Lexington

Wisconsin2Milwaukee, Madison

Missouri2Kansas City, St. Louis

Nebraska2Omaha, Lincoln

Virginia2Virginia Beach,

Minnesota2Minneapolis, St. Paul

New Jersey2Newark, Jersey City



District of Columbia1Washington D.C.




New Mexico1Albuquerque




Louisiana1New Orleans



Two other warm weather states, Arizona and Florida, also have a number of cities with 250,000 or more residents, at six each.

Eighteen U.S. states in total—including South Carolina, Alabama, and Utah to name a few—have no single incorporated area with 250,000 or more residents.

Cities, Towns, and Metro Areas

Like with all population data, definitions tend to play a big role in what is considered a city. In general parlance, built-up population centers are often thought of cities. However, an urban area can have a relatively big population and be incorporated as a town, as in the case of Gilbert, Arizona, which is included in the above map.

Separately, a collection of incorporated villages can be collectively referred to as a town, such as in the case of Hempstead, New York. Hempstead is an incorporated village with only 60,000 people, however it also lends its name to the wider town (an amalgamation of 22 villages and 38 hamlets) which has nearly 800,000 inhabitants. Three other New York towns listed below thus do not make the map for similar reasons.


HempsteadNew York779,916

BrookhavenNew York483,351

IslipNew York333,322

Oyster BayNew York293,812

Source: World Population Review.

On the other hand, major hubs like Los Angeles often have a central city and surrounding suburbs, which are their own distinct incorporated cities as well. These are often counted as one major metropolitan region, but are still, technically separate cities. This leads to interesting results in the final count.

For example, in Arizona’s case, five of the six cities listed all belong to the greater Phoenix Metropolitan region.

Meanwhile, Nevada has two main population centers: Las Vegas and Reno. However two of Las Vegas’ suburbs, Henderson and North Las Vegas, are separately incorporated, and each have populations that crack the 250,000 mark.

Conversely, in South Carolina, there are no cities listed, despite having a state population of 5.3 million. The state’s urban areas are divided up in such a way that none of them (including the central cities of Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville) end up passing 250,000 in population.

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