America’s Biggest City, Sitka, Is Twice the Size of Rhode Island

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The largest city in the United States based on square mileage is Sitka, Alaska, incorporated at is current size in 2000. With a foot print of 2,870 square miles, it is more than twice the size of Rhode Island, but it has only 8,881 residents.

Sitka is one of the best examples of how cities are created and grow. It is a process that has gone on for centuries in the United States.

Several well-know cities are centuries old. Villa de Albuquerque was settled in 1709, and it was incorporated as a city in 1891.

The size of cities may change over time. The most well-known example of this is that Brooklyn was a city until 1898, when it became part of New York City.

The one common thread among most cities and their states is that a city, town or village becomes incorporated so that it may conduct business as an entity in many of the same ways that a corporation does. States typically grant these entities the rights to form their own governments. That process, however, is only as old as any given state.

Below are America’s 10 largest cities based on square mileage along with their populations. Data come from the U.S. Census.

1. Sitka, Alaska
> Land area: 2,870 sq. miles
> Population: 8,881
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 3.1

2. Juneau, Alaska
> Land area: 2,702 sq. miles
> Population: 31,275
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 11.6

3. Wrangell, Alaska
> Land area: 2,541 sq. miles
> Population: 2,369
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 0.9

4. Anchorage, Alaska
> Land area: 1,705 sq. miles
> Population: 291,826
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 171.2

5. Jacksonville, Florida
> Land area: 747 sq. miles
> Population: 821,784
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 1100.1

6. Anaconda, Montana
> Land area: 737 sq. miles
> Population: 9,298
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 12.6

7. Butte, Montana
> Land area: 718 sq. miles
> Population: 34,200
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 47.6

8. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
> Land area: 606 sq. miles
> Population: 579,999
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 956.4

9. Houston, Texas
> Land area: 600 sq. miles
> Population: 2,099,451
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 3501.5

10. Phoenix, Arizona
> Land area: 517 sq. miles
> Population: 1,445,632
> Population density, persons per sq. mile: 2797.8