Reference Work

Primate City

Howard Dick, Peter Rimmer

The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies | John Wiley & Sons | Published : 2019


Some cities, usually capitals, are disproportionate in size relative to the population of other cities and the national population. Jefferson's law of the primate city and Zipf's rank‐size rule, became standard measures of spatial inequality. Both are statistical associations, not analyses of causes. Despite conceptual weaknesses and data flaws, primacy gave rise to much academic debate and a presumption of capital city bias without offering good theoretical and practical guidance on which to base policy intervention. In a rapidly urbanizing world, the new economic geography takes a more analytical approach to spatial agglomerations, and estimates of urban population have become more sophist..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers