Peak Bagger has created a graph of the 20 most populous metropolitan areas in the United States from 1790 to 2010. New York City is the reigning champion, taking first place from Philadelphia back in the early 1800s and holding it ever since. The fascinating chart also shows the steady rise of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and illustrates the unusual gain, decline, and rise of Washington, D.C. Peak Bagger has a larger version of the graph, where to read more about the data behind it.
image via Peak Bagger