In this paper, I provide a quantitative review of the empirical literature on
Zipf’s law for cities; the meta-analysis combines 515 estimates from 29
studies. I find that the combined estimate of the Zipf coefficient is
significantly larger than 1.0. This finding implies that cities are on average
more evenly distributed than suggested by (a strict interpretation of) Zipf’s
law. I also identify several features that account for differences across the
individual point estimates.