Cities and Towns

A collection of all national-level capitals, many subnational capitals, major cities and towns, and a sampling of smaller towns in sparsely inhabited regions

  • Source: NaturalEarth

NaturalEarth's Populated Places data set provides geographical locations for cities and towns of regional significance around the world in 2016. Population estimates sourced from LandScan are available for 90% of the contained cities. LandScan uses subnational spatial data sets to disaggregate national census statistics to subnational administrative boundaries.

The data and models used to do so are tailored to match the data conditions and geographical nature of each individual country and region. Population values are provided to account for the total metropolitan population, rather than the administrative boundary population. UN metropolitan population estimates are used instead of LandScan for the ~500 largest urban areas in the world. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the data set. For access to the full data set and additional information, see the Learn More link.

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Formal name

Populated Places, Version 3.3.1


Statistical procedures are used to associate satellite-modeled gridded population estimates with city and town points. These modeling methods are subject to a level of uncertainty. Users are encouraged to evaluate region-specific uncertainties in population data sources before using these figures for planning.

Suggested citation

Populated Places data set made with Natural Earth. Free vector and raster map data at 2013. Accessed through Resource Watch, (date).



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