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Most Populous Second Cities in the U.S.

Guess the most populous cities that are the second most populous city in their state.
City proper, not metro area! 2017 census estimates
For the biggest and second biggest cities in every state, try this quiz
Quiz by MattPunk
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Last updated: June 21, 2018
First submittedJune 25, 2013
Times taken17,181
Rating4.05
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Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
Population
City
1,511,946
San Antonio
1,419,516
San Diego
652,236
Memphis
535,677
Tucson
464,758
Raleigh
464,474
Colorado Springs
463,347
Miami
401,800
Tulsa
385,525
Cleveland
321,959
Lexington
Population
City
308,626
Saint Louis
306,621
Saint Paul
302,539
Henderson
302,407
Pittsburgh
284,736
Lincoln
270,753
Jersey City
265,904
Fort Wayne
258,612
Buffalo
255,214
Madison
244,703
Norfolk
+2
level 72
Jul 31, 2013
It's still difficult to know which "2nd biggest cities in their state" are still on the "most populous cities" list. Spokane, WA, is over 200,000, but just shy of making this list. Plus, the city proper skews things a bit. I mean, Miami has a metro population over 5M, but not even a tenth that in the city proper. Fun quiz, though.
+1
level ∞
Jun 12, 2016
Baton Rouge and Spokane are numbers #21 and #22.
+1
level 61
Sep 20, 2018
The same goes for St. Louis, where the city proper area is just over 300,000, and the metro area population is 2.8 million.
+1
level 77
Jul 31, 2013
Fine quiz. I got Norfolk, but probably because I'm originally from Virginia.
+1
level 71
Jun 30, 2018
I live in Virginia now (in your hometown, kalbahamut!), but I still didn't get it. :-(
+1
level 77
Sep 20, 2018
yep, I know. Found your Facebook. Though the house in Centreville is abandoned and under renovation now.
+1
level 33
Jul 31, 2013
Impossible to guess at random without a state to match it with ... boo.
+3
level 80
Jul 24, 2014
Not impossible. You have to think of states with at least two larger cities, and then guess the second largest one.
+2
level 38
Aug 26, 2013
Miami is definitely the biggest city in Florida population-wise.
+2
level 53
Aug 29, 2013
By metro population, I believe you are right, but the quiz was using city populations only.
+2
level 77
Sep 6, 2016
Jacksonville is literally twice the size of Miami.
+1
level 76
Jun 22, 2018
Remember, about 50 years ago, Jacksonville "consolidated" with Duval County - the county that once contained it. It's huge, both by population and land area.
+1
level 73
Aug 3, 2015
Very surprised to not see Aurora, Montgomery and Spokane here, they must not miss by a wide margin...
+1
level 66
Apr 3, 2017
I took a shot by guessing Aurora, but it bombed
+1
level 67
Sep 27, 2015
Aurora isn't the second largest city in Colorado. Colorado Springs is.
+4
level 54
Sep 6, 2016
But Aurora is the second largest in Illinois.
+2
level 67
Sep 6, 2016
I honestly have nothing against Pennsylvania, yet this is like the third USA quiz in a row where I've completely forgotten PA exists. What is going on.
+1
level 76
Sep 6, 2016
Was surprised not to see Grand Rapids on here, but apparently it's "city proper" population is a number of steps below the cut-off.
+1
level 47
Apr 20, 2017
Me too, especially being from Michigan
+1
level 52
Sep 6, 2016
Excellent quiz, really had to rack my brain for this one.
+2
level 67
Sep 6, 2016
Incredibly tough for us non US natives.
+2
level 69
Sep 6, 2016
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hate using city proper. It's so arbitrary and artificial. Any listing that ranks San Antonio above Dallas is clearing devoid of any real world meaning (nothing against San Antonio, but it is obviously a smaller city than Dallas).
+1
level 65
Apr 26, 2017
I'm ashamed I missed my home town Fort Wayne, IN
+1
level 57
Dec 24, 2017
good quiz!
+1
level 59
Jan 31, 2018
I think this quiz is need for an update. I saw you are using the 2015 estimates, the 2016 estimates would change Memphis to the second biggest instead of Nashville.
+1
level ∞
Jan 31, 2018
I made a note to update after the next census estimates are released. Should be June or July.
+1
level 77
Jun 22, 2018
Out of curiosity why is Cleeland accepted as a variation of Cleveland? I mistyped and was surprised that it was accepted.
+2
level 82
Jun 22, 2018
Norfolk in chance of me getting 100% 1st time
+1
level 72
Jun 23, 2018
So hard to pick which cities cover their urban area and which have boundaries of a tiny inner core (it's a compete guess, actually). For example, San Francisco is obviously second to Los Angeles, but there's been a small boundary drawn for one of those two that leave San Diego as an answer here.
+1
level 66
Jun 24, 2018
Actually, San Jose would come after San Diego, since it has a population of over 1 million, while San Francisco hovers at just under 900,000. Given its location, it cannot grow much and is unlikely to incorporate other cities from the peninsula, so it can really only grow upward.
+1
level 59
Sep 20, 2018
How is it possible that I have never heard of a city like Henderson before?
+1
level 79
Sep 20, 2018
It's a mega suburb of Vegas on the east side of the metro. Since probably close to 95% of the tourists of Vegas never leave the strip and downtown people are generally ignorant of it. Additionally since the vast majority of people arriving by car come from California they never see it either. It was/is just about the most urban sprawliest cities in the US as well. It only had about 50k people in 1990. When Vegas boomed it did as well and when the real estate market went belly up in 2008/9 it had a really high number of foreclosures rivaling a lot of cities of California.
+1
level 58
Sep 20, 2018
Funny thing is I tried Kansas City and it never occurred to me that it was actually larger than St. Louis and maybe I should try that instead.
+1
level 49
Aug 7, 2019
I detest the American system of “city proper” - it’s a complete misrepresentation of an actual urban areas population, which affects its character, importance etc. So saying London is bigger than LA with regards to “city proper” is not really relevant, where as they are actually similar sizes when the whole urban area is considered at around 10-15 million.
+2
level 41
Aug 18, 2019
Maybe you cowards, who are complaining about 'city proper', compared to the metro, should move to the city proper rather than hiding in the suburbs with your false sense of securities.