Difference between Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration

By K Balaji|Updated : November 29th, 2022

The main difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration is that cities in India with a population between 1 and 5 million are classified as metropolitan cities by census. However, urban agglomerations are stretches of land that may include two or more cities. Urban agglomerations in India make up a large portion of the country's metropolitan cities.

Difference between Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration PDF

The difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration is that metropolitan cities are Indian cities with a population of more than four million, according to the Census Commission of India (CCI), whereas an urban agglomeration is defined as an ongoing urban expansion made up of a town and its nearby outgrowths or two or more geographically contiguous cities together, with or without these outgrowths. Let us discuss here the difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration in detail.

Difference Between Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration

A metropolitan area generally constitutes numerous municipalities and jurisdictions. As economic, social, and political establishments have transformed, metropolitan regions have become vital economic and political areas. On the other hand, an urban agglomeration refers to a constant urban spread comprising a town and its adjoining outgrowths (OGs), or two or more physically adjacent areas with or without outgrowths such areas. The difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration is given in the table below.

Metropolitan Cities vs Urban Agglomeration

Difference Between Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration

Metropolitan Cities

Urban Agglomeration

Metropolitan cities can be defined as a group of Indian cities that hold over four million people.

Urban Agglomeration refers to an area that constitutes at least a statutory locality.

According to the Census of India, the significant metropolitan cities in India are as follows -

Mumbai (populace of more than 18 Million)

Delhi (populace of more than 16 Million)

Kolkata (populace of more than 14 Million)

Chennai (populace of more than 8.6 million)

Bangalore (populace of around 8.5 million)

Hyderabad (populace of around 7.6 million)

Ahmedabad (populace of around 6.3 million)

Pune (populace around 5.05 million)

Surat (populace around 4.5 million)

Urban Agglomerations (UA) are extensively split into three principal groups -

Class I Urban Agglomeration (UA): This unit incorporates a population of at least 1,00,000 people.

Million Plus Urban Agglomeration (UA): This area constitutes one million or more population.

Nevertheless, approximately 42.6 percent of the Urban residents live in these Million Plus Urban Agglomerations.

Mega-Cities: Among the Cities or Million Plus Urban Agglomerations in India, there are three exceptionally large Urban Agglomerations with more than ten million population, known as Mega-Cities.

Metropolitan cities hold a population of more than four million.

It comprises a population of all the constituents put together, approximately 20,000 or more as per the Indian census

A metropolitan area is a densely inhabited urban centre region with its less-populated sharing industry, surrounding parts, infrastructure, and accommodation.

An urban agglomeration refers to a constant urban spread comprising a town and its adjoining outgrowths (OGs).

Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration

Metropolitan Cities are Indian cities with a population of more than four million, according to the Indian Census Commission. According to the 2011 Census of India, an urban agglomeration is defined as a continuous urban spread made up of a town and any neighboring outgrowths or by combining two or more physically adjacent towns with or without their outgrowths.

What are Metropolitan Cities?

The term Metropolitan originated from the Greek phrase metropolitan, denoting citizens of a mother state. A metropolitan area is a densely inhabited urban centre region with its less-populated sharing industry, surrounding parts, infrastructure, and accommodation.

Metropolitan is a translation of the Greek word metropolitanus, which means citizen of a mother state. A metropolitan area is a geographic area that contains both a densely populated urban core and the less populated areas that surround it, sharing infrastructure, businesses, and housing.

What is Urban Agglomeration?

An Urban Agglomeration must comprise a statutory area (all towns with a corporation, municipality, cantonment board, reported town area board, etc.)

According to the previous Census, its cumulative population should not be less than 20,000 people. With these two fundamental standards having been fulfilled, below are the different possible cases in which Urban Agglomerations would be formed:

  • A town or city with one or more adjacent outgrowths
  • Two or more bordering areas with their outgrowths
  • A city and more adjoining towns form a continuous spread with their outgrowths

In changing local circumstances, similar other varieties have been deemed urban agglomerations fulfilling the basic requirement of contiguity.

Key Difference Between Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration

The key difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration is given below.

  • Metropolitan cities are categorized based only on their population (1 lakh to 50 lakh), whereas urban agglomerations are not categorized primarily on their population (although they must be urban settlements) but rather on how their population has grown and how other towns have influenced it.
  • An urban agglomeration is only a stage of a city's expansion across time and space.
  • The metropolitan area is smaller than the urban agglomeration (within the same metropolitan area).
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FAQs on Difference between Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration

  • The primary difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration is as follows:

    • A metropolitan city is a densely inhabited urban centre region with its less-populated sharing industry, surrounding parts, infrastructure, and accommodation.
    • An urban agglomeration refers to a constant urban spread comprising a town and its adjoining outgrowths (OGs), or two or more physically adjacent areas with or without outgrowths such areas.
  • The difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration is that Metropolitan cities can be defined as a group of Indian cities that hold over four million people, whereas an Urban Agglomeration refers to an area that constitutes at least a statutory locality.

  • Indian census data indicates that metropolitan cities are those with a population of 1 to 5 million people. An urban region that includes two or more cities is referred to as an urban agglomeration. Urban agglomerations are essentially what many Indian metropolitan cities are composed of.

  • The difference between metropolitan cities and urban agglomeration based on population is that while metropolitan cities hold a population of more than four million, urban agglomeration comprises a population of all the constituents put together, approximately 20,000 or more.

  • The difference between Metropolitan Cities and Urban Agglomeration based on municipalities and jurisdiction is as follows.

    • A metropolitan area is a densely inhabited urban centre region with its less-populated sharing industry, surrounding parts, infrastructure, and accommodation.
    • On the other hand, an urban agglomeration refers to a constant urban spread comprising a town and its adjoining outgrowths (OGs).
  • Urban agglomerations are areas that are continuously built up, shaped by one core metropolis or by numerous nearby cities, and that share high densities of housing, infrastructure, and business use, as well as embedded open spaces

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