Mark Dominus has posted an interesting article that looks that the populations of largest and second largest cities by state. The largest city in Illinois (Chicago) is about 25 times as large as the next largest city in the state (Peoria). Toward the other end of the scale, the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area is only about 10% larger than the Houston metropolitan area where I live.
Warning: If you’re from Rhode Island, don’t read Mark’s article unless you have a good sense of humor.
3 thoughts on “Largest and second largest cities”
The article says Peoria has a population of 370,000, and that Chicago is 25 times that. Maybe something spooky and quantum happened when I did the math, but I don’t think Chicago has over 9 million people.
A little further investigation reveals Peoria has a population of 113,000
which comes out to be about 1/25 of 2.8 million, which wikipedia claims is a lot closer to Chicago’s size. But following another quick hunch reveals that Peoria isn’t the second largest city in Illinios. That title goes to Aurora, at 170,000, about 1/16 the size of Chicago. Even excluding Chicago suburbs, Springfield (the capital) also has Peoria beat at 117K, a hefty 1/24 the size of Chicago.
Which isn’t that much different, but goes to show that conclusions from statistical computations are meaningless if the data is no good.
Being a Chicagoland native, it is nice to see that a relatively objective analysis concludes that there is a big disparity in Illinois. No other state seems as extreme, including the state that I currently live in (Virginia). This type of analysis depends on how things are classified, but in Illinois, almost everyone would come up with similar numbers, listing Chicago as #1 and Peoria as #2. The greater Chicagoland population is usually reported as ~9M. Aurora is considered one of the outlying suburbs of Chicago (the sprawl grows larger and larger).
So why is Illinois logarithmic, while Texas is linear? Is Illinois one state or two? Texas is five states. Everything west of the Pecos is probably logarithmic.