China is the world's most populous country. According to the Demographic research group in 2017, there are 102 Chinese cities with over 1 million people in the "urban area", as defined by the group's methodology.
According to the administrative divisions of China, there are three levels of cities, namely municipalities (), prefecture-level cities (), and county-level cities (). The Special Administrative Regions (S.A.R.s) of Hong Kong and Macau and the areas controlled by the Republic of China are not included in this administrative classification.
Municipalities and prefecture-level cities are not each a "city" in the strictest sense of the term, but instead an administrative unit comprising, typically, both an urban core (a city in the strict sense) and surrounding rural or less-urbanized areas usually many times the size of the central, built-up core.
Prefecture-level cities nearly always contain multiple counties, county-level cities, and other such sub-divisions. To distinguish a prefecture-level city from its actual urban area (city in the strict sense), the term "" (shìq?; "urban area") is used. However, even this term often encompasses large suburban regions often greater than 1,000 square miles (3,000 km2), sometimes only the urban core whereas the agglomeration overtake the city limits. Thus, the "urban core" would be roughly comparable to the American term "city limit", the "shìq? or urban area" would be roughly comparable to "metropolitan area", and the municipality is a political designation defining regions under control of a municipal government, which has no comparable designation.
The list contains all cities with the administrative designation "sub-provincial city" (), many are "Prefecture level cities" and "Provincial capitals" (). "Special Economic Zones" (), "National Central Cities" () and some Council-Level cities.
? = National capital
* = Provincial capital
Largest cities or towns in China