The evaluation of urban comprehensive carrying capacity (UCC) is of great importance in maintaining urban socio-economic sustainable development. However, UCC is still in its nascent period with limited applications and a lack of credible assessment methods. To enrich this field, this study constructed an objective scientific index to evaluate the UCC of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region from a four-dimensional perspective, examining economy, society, environmental, and transportation subsystems. The improved entropy method based on 18 weighted indicators was used to measure the UCC of the 26 cities of the YRD for the period 1990–2018. Results indicate that nine cities were overloaded in 2018, meaning comprehensive carrying capacity demand exceeds supply, and the other seventeen were in loadable condition, meaning such demand did not exceed supply; the social and transportation subsystems are the most important because their index weights and UCC levels are higher than the other two subsystems; the overall UCC for all cities in the YRD is at a medium level, and there are large disparities between the various cities. The empirical results imply that the government should take effective measures to improve UCC in these cities, combining cities’ specific advantages to enhance the efficiency of resource allocation and utilization and improve carrying capacities, and changing the mode of economic development. Based on UCC levels, it is also important to improve environmental conditions and coordination and integration in the development of urbanization. Policy implications on improving UCC have been highlighted in the final section.
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