The COVID-19 pandemic reminds people that crowded cities have distinct disadvantages, beyond those which are obvious. The Omicron variant has aggressively spread at an unimaginable rate, and people in close quarters have suffered the effects brutally. This can be added to trouble in densely populated areas which included pollution, lack of clean water, and the trouble governments face when trying to provide services to areas where people literally live on top of one another.
While the U.S. does not have the most densely populated area in the world, it presents an example of extremes. New Jersey has almost 1,200 residents per square mile. Alaska has 1.2 people by the same measurement.
Using data from the June 2021 edition of the World Urban Areas report from Demographia, an urban development research group, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most densely populated city in the world. The yardstick was based on the average number of people per square mile living in a given urban area.
To make our decision, cities were not ranked on their official municipal boundaries, but rather, the built-up land areas that, as described in the report, “function as an integrated economic unit, linked together by commuting flows, social and economic interactions.” By this definition, the New York City area has a population density of 4,477 people per square mile. However, the borough of Manhattan alone has a population density of 70,826 people per square mile.
Several of the most densely populated cities in the world are located in Africa and South America. However, the majority of cities on this list are in Asia — including over two dozen in India. No U.S. cities made the list.
Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the most densely populated cities in the world are also some of the most populous cities, home to over 10 million people.
To determine the most densely populated city in the world, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on population density in global urban areas from the June 2021 edition of the World Urban Areas report from urban development website Demographia. Urban areas with at least 500,000 residents were ranked based on the number of people per square mile of built-up land area. Data on total population and land area also came from the Demographia report.
The most densely populated city in the world is Dhaka, Bangladesh. Here are the details:
> Population density: 95,676 people per square mile
> Population: 16.8 million
> Built-up land area in city: 176 square miles