The single most exhaustive publication so far in the field of historic city population data is probably Dr Tertius Chandler's "Four Thousand Years of Urban Growth" published in 1986 and collecting the output of a lifetime dedicated to the collection and estimate of relevant data from libraries around the world. This website, in fact, started life as an effort to digitise all of the over 10,000 data points relating to more than 1,500 cities in Chandler's magnum opus, so as to make them more readily usable by the 21st century, computer-bound researcher or analyst.

Building on the digitisation of Chandler's data as a starting point, we are also adding in turn all data points from the following key publications as well:

  • George Modelski; "World Cities -3000 to 2000"; FAROS 2000
  • Jan De Vries; "European Urbanization 1500-1800" ;Routledge Library Editions; 1984
while more data is also being collected from other disparate sources including
  • Archaeology & history publications
  • Travel guides
  • Wikipedia & other online resources
  • Media from museums on city history (panels, audio-guides etc...)
and from any referenced contributions received from the users of this website. For this purpose please send emails to worldcitypop@yahoo.co.uk with your submissions, while we are working on setting up a dedicated submission form in the near future.

The table below presents a summary count of the data points included so far from these various sources as of 06 January 2013.

Source Data points
Chandler 9,481
Bairoch 4,687
Others 4,342
De Vries 1,538
Modelski 813
Wiki 247
TOTAL 21,108