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Primate Cities

  • By: Giok-Ling Ooi
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

A primate city is the dominant city among a country's urban areas. Countries have urban hierarchies comprising large and small cities in terms of their population sizes, spatial extent, or territorial size and the importance of their economies. Primate cities are the largest cities in their respective countries, as they dominate the economy as well as being the top ranking in terms of territorial extent and population size. Geographer Mark Jefferson coined the term in the 1930s and defined a primate city as one that is twice as large as the next largest city in the urban hierarchy of a country and twice as significant economically. A primate city also dominates in terms of the centralization of the country's transport and communications, industrial and commercial ...

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