For a project, I am currently working on, I have been trying to find out the size of Ankh-Morpork. How many houses/dwellings are there, what's the population and the physical size of the city?

There is some information on Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki but I am not sure how accurate that is, due to it mentioning a population of about 1 million and the city being a mile across. The population would make sense, but surely the city is larger than a mile across?

This information may be in the The Compleat Ankh-Morpork but I don't own this currently.

  • i don't know whether one mile across is too small, considering that there are dwarves in the city which mainly live underground... – Armin Jan 14 '16 at 18:09
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    There's also The Streets of Ankh-Morpork which might help. Also Wikipedia claims "about five miles (8 km) across" although doesn't say where that comes from. – blm Jan 14 '16 at 18:29
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    (Darn comment edit time limit) And to @Armin's point, the Wikipedia article says there are "50,000 dwarfs living there" and references The Truth and The Fifth Elephant for that. – blm Jan 14 '16 at 18:36
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    The one mile figure may well be accurate in a strict institutional sense, while not reflecting what anyone living there thinks of as "the city". For instance, see the limits of the "City of London", a district within what we all think of as London: goo.gl/maps/GnbBneSs1tB2 – recognizer Jan 14 '16 at 22:47
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    @recognizer Well the "City of London" has a population of ~7.5k but ~300k work/go there (according to wikipedia). So I am starting to think the 1 million is for the surrounding areas outside of the walls as well not the central part. – Dreamwalker Jan 15 '16 at 7:52
up vote 9 down vote accepted
+100

Population:

Approx. 100,000 souls and ten times more inhabitants.

"Ankh-Morpork! Brawling city of a hundred thousand souls! And, as the Patrician privately observed, ten times that number of actual people." - Guard!, Guards! (thanks to Valorum)

Poets have tried to describe Ankh-Morpork and they have failed. Perhaps it's the sheer zestful vitality of the place, or maybe it's just that a city with a million inhabitants and no sewers is rather robust for poets,... - Mort (Mort's first visit on his way to get a curry after being hired)

But also importantly

“What sort of place is Ankh?” “A city of a million souls,” said the voice of Om, “many of them occupying bodies" - Small Gods

What's so important about the last one? It's 100 years earlier, meaning that either Ankh-Morpork has no population growth or that all such values must be taken with a significant pinch of salt.


Size:

Size from Lspace 1 mile across (about 1.6km) (excluding suburbs outside the city walls) : I disagree with this
Size from Wikipedia 5 miles across (8km) : I disagree with this too.

However I can find no direct references to the size of the city and the map has no scale. (Yay I found my map! It was with the maps rather than on the triple stacked Pratchett shelf)

'Er...bingle bingle bingle...?' said a small and very nervous voice.
Vimes pulled out the Gooseberry and stared at it. At a time like this...
'Well?' he said.
'It's twenty-nine minutes past five, Insert Name Here,' said the imp nervously.
'So?'
'On foot, at this time of day, you will need to leave now to be home at six o'clock,' said the imp. - Thud

Now in the above quote, before getting home just in time for 6pm, Vimes is at 3 Tenth Egg Street and needs to get to 1 Scoone Avenue. From the map, that's just over half way across the city, but there's no direct route. I'm estimating that a brisk walk from the Commander of the Watch is 4mph, 30mins would be 2 miles. Tracing the route on the ground against the direct route as the crow flies I estimate the size of the city to be approximately 3miles diameter within the walls.

In historical terms this is very large for a walled city. 1 mile would be far more reasonable.


This leads to population density.

Significant.

In Thud we're introduced to Grag Bashfull Bashfullsson who lives in a corner of a room sublet from an entire family living in the same room. There are other examples of characters living in cramped lodgings consisting of a single room in a boarding house (Carrot, Angua, John Keel, Glod, etc). It should be considered relatively normal for people to be living entire families in single rooms to make up that population in such limited space.


The city

Map of Ankh-Morpork

  • The problem with quoting from a fan-written wiki article is that it's fan-written. – Valorum Jun 4 '16 at 16:33
  • @Valorum is that not considered acceptable here? I find the wiki is pretty accurate – Separatrix Jun 4 '16 at 16:34
  • It's not a question of acceptability, but one of reliability. A wiki is a secondary source of info. We prefer primary sources of info – Valorum Jun 4 '16 at 16:45
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    "Ankh-Morpork! Brawling city of a hundred thousand souls! And, as the Patrician privately observed, ten times that number of actual people." - Guard!, Guards! – Valorum Jun 4 '16 at 17:54
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    "“What sort of place is Ankh?” “A city of a million souls,” said the voice of Om, “many of them occupying bodies" - Small Gods – Valorum Jun 4 '16 at 17:55

‘’s woman?’ said Colon. He screwed up his sweating face with the effort of thought. ‘’s eight miles wide, sir. ‘’s gotta river in it. Lots of, of houses and stuff, sir,’ he reasoned.

According to the map from "The Compleat Ankh-Morpork" that has a scale, the size of the city horizontally is about 2 km (5900 ft). But the size of a foot is not known to us, nor is the size of their mile.

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