You really should include the entire metro area. Take Atlanta. The largest city in the south that hosted the Olympics, has a professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey team. The "City of Atlanta" only has a population of 420,000. That makes it smaller than Fresno, Mesa, and Virginia Beach. However, look at the number of the people living in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. 5.4 million. That puts her up in 9th place between Miami and Boston. The "City of San Francisco" has a population of only 805,000. However since it's the cultural center of the area, the San Francisco metro includes San Jose (which is larger) and Oakland and has 7.6 million people.