Special Report

30 Most Crowded Cities in the World

Source: Max_Xie / Getty Images

20. Yokohama, Japan
> Population: 3.7 million
> Land area: 168.7 square miles
> People per square mile: 22,076.2

Yokohama developed into one of Japan’s largest cities thanks to a policy enacted over 150 years ago. During Japan’s Edo Period, the country isolated itself from the rest of the world. But in 1859, Yokohama became one of the first cities opened to foreign trade, causing it to blossom from a small fishing village to Japan’s second-largest city with more than 3.7 million people.

Source: DC_Colombia / Getty Images

19. Quito, Ecuador
> Population: 1.8 million
> Land area: 69.9 square miles
> People per square mile: 25,448.2

Quito, Ecuador is encircled by a ring of volcanoes and sits at an elevation of 9,350 feet. Much of the city’s population — especially its poorer residents — live in the center of the city. At nearly 500 years old, Quito is one of the oldest cities in South America and many of its early buildings are fairly well-preserved. UNESCO named its historic center a World Heritage Site. Even though Ecuador has two cities — Quito and Guayaquil — among the most crowded in the world, it is a fairly rural country as a whole. The nation has a population density of roughly 25 people per square mile, one of the lowest in the world.

Source: Milei.vencel / Wikimedia Commons

18. Battambang, Cambodia
> Population: 1.1 million
> Land area: 44.0 square miles
> People per square mile: 25,589.7

Battambang, like much of the rest of Cambodia, was thrown of course in the country’s civil war in the 1970s. Battambang served as a primary seat of power for the Khmer Rouge regime for over 20 years, until the group was ousted in 1997, since then it has grown rapidly, largely driven by an influx of Chinese investment, threatens much of the city’s culturally relevant ancient temples and French colonial architecture. The history of Battambang dates back to the 11th century.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

17. Kawasaki, Japan
> Population: 1.5 million
> Land area: 55.2 square miles
> People per square mile: 26,718.8

Kawasaki, Japan was heavily damaged by Allied bombing campaigns during World War II, but the city now serves as a major industrial center for the country. Kawasaki sits in the middle of the Keihin Industrial Zone, which is home to steel and oil production facilities. The area’s growth has resulted overcrowding and pollution.

Source: TomasSereda / Getty Images

16. New York, United States
> Population: 8.5 million
> Land area: 301.5 square miles
> People per square mile: 28,313.0

New York City is one of the world’s cultural and financial hubs and the largest city in the United States. Despite being one of the most prohibitively expensive places to live in the country, the population continues to increase. Some 8.5 million people are spread out across the city’s five boroughs and more than 18.6 million live in the surrounding area. New York’s urban area actually shrank in population from 1970 to 1990, but the trend reversed with the area adding over 2 million people from 1990 to 2010.

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