Population density varies widely from city to city and state to state. Its effects are widespread. Services, like policing, firefighting and access to hospitals, are more likely easy to provide in densely populated cities. Challenges like air pollution are less likely to be challenging in sparsely populated places.
While it is not always true to say that the larger the city, the more densely it is populated, the cities with the densest population are around America’s largest city: New York. On the other hand, the least densely populated cities tend to be in huge states, geographically, like Alaska, the Plains states and the southwest.
To give a sense of the range of population density: New Jersey, the most densely populated state, has 1,210 residents per square mile. The least densely populated is Alaska, with slightly more than one resident per square mile. Alaska also covers 665,384 square miles, much larger than second-place Texas at 268,596.
Governing.com looked at the population per square mile in every American city with over 50,000 residents. The least densely populated city was Buckeye, Arizona, at 172 residents per square mile. It has a population of 64,629 and covers 375 square miles (this includes land and not water). Buckeye sits just west of Phoenix.
Three of the least densely populated cities in America are in Arizona, with Goodyear at 403 people per square mile and Casa Grande at 497.