Is Toronto or New York Bigger?

Is Toronto or New York Bigger?

October 8, 2023 0 By Charm San

When comparing the sizes of cities like Toronto and New York City, it’s essential to consider various aspects, including land area, population, and urban sprawl. Let’s explore the key dimensions that contribute to the size of these two iconic metropolises.

1. Land Area:

In terms of land area, New York City is significantly larger than Toronto. New York City covers an area of approximately 468.9 square miles (1,214.4 square kilometers). In contrast, Toronto, while still a sizable city, covers a land area of about 243.3 square miles (629.9 square kilometers).

New York City’s vast land area is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Manhattan, the most densely populated of these boroughs, is known for its iconic skyline and serves as the city’s central business district. Each of the other boroughs has its own distinct neighborhoods and character, contributing to the city’s diversity.

Toronto, the capital city of the Canadian province of Ontario, is divided into multiple districts and neighborhoods, each offering its unique charm. While it is the largest city in Canada by population, its land area is smaller compared to New York City, which is why it might feel less sprawling in terms of geographical size.

2. Population:

Population is another critical factor in assessing the size and scale of cities. New York City is significantly more populous than Toronto. As of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021:

  • New York City had a population of over 8.8 million people, making it the most populous city in the United States. When considering the broader metropolitan area, known as the New York metropolitan area or Greater New York, the population exceeded 20 million people, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas globally.
  • Toronto, on the other hand, had a population of approximately 2.8 million people within the city limits. However, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which includes the city and its surrounding municipalities, had a population of over 6 million people. The GTA is the most populous metropolitan area in Canada.

Due to its larger population, New York City is often perceived as a bustling, densely populated urban center with a global influence that extends far beyond its municipal boundaries. In contrast, while Toronto is densely populated, it might not feel as densely packed as New York City, especially when considering the surrounding suburbs and green spaces.

3. Urban Sprawl:

Urban sprawl refers to the outward expansion of a city, often resulting in low-density suburban development. It can significantly impact the perceived size of a city and the experience of living in it.

New York City has experienced urban sprawl over the years, with residential areas expanding into parts of Long Island, New Jersey, and upstate New York. While these areas are technically separate from the five boroughs, they are often considered part of the broader New York metropolitan area due to their economic and commuter ties.

Toronto has also witnessed urban sprawl, particularly in the surrounding suburbs and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The development of suburban communities has extended the city’s reach, adding to its overall size.

AspectTorontoNew York City
Land Area (Square Miles)Approximately 243.3 square milesApproximately 468.9 square miles
Land Area (Square Kilometers)Approximately 629.9 square kilometersApproximately 1,214.4 square kilometers
Population (City Limits)Approximately 2.8 million (as of 2021)Approximately 8.8 million (as of 2021)
Population (Metropolitan Area)Over 6 million (Greater Toronto Area)Over 20 million (Greater New York)
Boroughs/DistrictsMultiple districts and neighborhoodsFive boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island
DensityDensely populatedHighly densely populated
Urban SprawlExperiencing suburban expansionExtensive suburban areas
Global InfluenceSignificant global city influenceMajor global city with vast influ

In summary, when considering land area and population, New York City is larger and more populous than Toronto. New York City’s expansive land area encompasses five boroughs and hosts a population exceeding 8.8 million within its municipal boundaries. In contrast, Toronto covers a smaller land area and had a population of approximately 2.8 million within the city limits, but the GTA’s population exceeds 6 million when including its suburbs.

Both cities are influential global metropolises, but New York City’s larger land area and significantly higher population contribute to its status as one of the world’s most prominent and densely populated cities. However, the size and scale of a city can be subjective, as other factors, such as density, infrastructure, and cultural significance, also play a role in how residents and visitors perceive the city’s size and impact.