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Cities that are a lot bigger or smaller than you thought they were

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When I took a trip to Oklahoma City for the first weekend in February, I thought its population was about 500,000, similar to that of my hometown of Kansas City - it turns out, OKC’s population is almost 700,000.

On the other hand, recently I also thought that Pittsburgh was about the same size as KC - it’s actually only about 300,000.

That makes me want to ask: what cities might there be around the country (or for that matter, the world) that you thought were bigger or smaller than they actually are, and how far off were your guesses?

If you compare metro area to metro area, however, Pittsburgh is nearly 70% bigger than OKC.

Naples, Florida is far smaller than I used to think it was. In fact, it's small enough that it doesn't even qualify for the "guess the city" thread.

I would guess my current locale of Aurora, CO would show up on a lot of people's lists. It's not well known nationally at all but has 386k as of 2020.

For me personally, I think Fort Worth is my answer. You think of it as Dallas' little sister, but it has almost a million people on its own.

For the small side, maybe St. Louis? Less than 300,000 people, but you think of it as a big city.

For me...

When I drive to Mexico and cross at Ciudad Acuña, my route through the city is only about 2½ miles long from the border bridge to the southern outskirts.  So for a while, I thought the city must be fairly small, similar to Del Rio on the US side of the border.  But no, apparently it's just that my route goes the short way across, and it actually has a population of more than 200,000–about six times the size of Del Rio.

I met my wife online, and she lived in Branson, MO.  The first time I met her in person, I went down there from the Chicago area.  From one end of Branson to the other, it's about six miles of hotels and restaurants and theaters and gift shops and museums.  So I was surprised to learn later that it only had a population of about 7000 (twenty years ago).  I quickly learned that Branson is just a strange combination of visiting tourists and local rednecks, and the former far outnumber the latter.  Branson has grown since then, but the population is still well under 15,000.


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