Special Report

30 Most Crowded Cities in the World

Source: Thinkstock

10. Barcelona, Spain
> Population: 1.6 million
> Land area: 39.7 square miles
> People per square mile: 40,505.9

Barcelona is Spain’s most crowded city — at least for now. The Catalonia region of Spain, where Barcelona is located, is making a push for independence. Many Catalonians believe the region provides too large of a share of Spain’s tax revenue yet receives few benefits from the federal government. Barcelona serves as a major port city for Spain and is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful surroundings, architecture, and cuisine.

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9. Jakarta, Indonesia
> Population: 10.4 million
> Land area: 255.6 square miles
> People per square mile: 40,587.8

While many of Indonesia’s cities are very crowded, none are more densely packed than Jakarta. Some 10.4 million people live on 255.6 square miles, making Jakarta the most populous city to also be among the most densely packed. Jakarta, which is the capital of Indonesia, experienced a massive building boom after World War II. The city’s first high-rise was built in 1962 and many others followed, mostly in the city’s financial center.

Source: Reabirdna / Getty Images

8. Seoul, South Korea
> Population: 9.8 million
> Land area: 233.6 square miles
> People per square mile: 42,102.0

Seoul, South Korea saw a massive population boom for decades after the Korean War. From 1960 to 1990, Seoul gained over 1 million new residents every five years. This massive influx has led to a chronic inadequacy of housing for some citizens. Many residents work in the manufacturing industry, especially in electronics.

Source: fazon1 / Getty Images

7. Quezon City, Philippines
> Population: 2.9 million
> Land area: 66.3 square miles
> People per square mile: 44,286.9

Quezon City, named for former Philippines President Manuel Luis Quezon, served as the nation’s capital from 1948 to 1976. Many of the residents there live in large housing projects constructed to give low-income government workers somewhere to live. Yet there are also many other wealthy residential sectors.

Source: jankovoy / Getty Images

6. Kathmandu, Nepal
> Population: 1.0 million
> Land area: 18.9 square miles
> People per square mile: 53,030.6

Kathmandu is the most populous city and capital of Nepal. Its ancient temples and architecture are surrounded by newer, more high-tech buildings that are springing up. The city sits at the foot of the Himalayas. Kathmandu was devastated by a powerful earthquake in 2015. Roughly 9,000 people were killed and 600,000 buildings were affected, many of which were demolished. Nepal is an unlikely entry on this list, as just 19.7% of the country’s residents live in urban areas, one of the lowest rates in the world.

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