Special Report

The 50 Most Densely Populated Cities in the World

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35. Khartoum, Sudan
> Population density: 17,770 per square mile
> Population: 4,000,000
> Square miles: 225 miles

Khartoum is the capital of Sudan. Political unrest is rampant in this northeastern African nation. Last spring, the military ousted autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir, and since then, Khartoum has been the site of often-violent demonstrations, with at least 11 people killed during June 30 protests this summer. American travelers are urged to stay away from the area because of terrorism and civil unrest.

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34. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
> Population density: 17,704 per square mile
> Population: 10,800,000
> Square miles: 610 miles

Though capital cities are often a country’s most densely populated area, that’s not the case in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro regularly attracts attention for special events such as the recent Copa America tournament and the annual carnival celebration, believed to be the biggest in the world. Though tourism plays an important role in the city’s economy, oil, agriculture, banking, fishing and finance are all major industries as well.

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33. Dalian, China
> Population density: 18,310 per square mile
> Population: 2,750,000
> Square miles: 150 miles

All eyes were on Dalian at the start of July, as the northeastern China city hosted the 2019 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions, or Summer Davos Forum. This is the seventh time the forum has been held in Dalian since 2007. The forum, which typically draws about 2,000 participants from around the world, has elevated the city’s profile internationally, and spurred infrastructure development, including new roads and building reconstruction. Dalian aims to increase its importance as an international trading center.

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32. Istanbul, Turkey
> Population density: 19,991 per square mile
> Population: 9,000,000
> Square miles: 450 miles

Not only is Istanbul the most densely populated city in Turkey, it is also the largest transcontinental city in the world, with its well-packed footprint landing in both Europe and Asia. The city, which is known for having some of the worst traffic in the world, is looking to the sky: It’s currently building the world’s largest airport. In recent years, Istanbul has become a destination for hundreds of thousands of Syrians, with Turkey ranking as the country taking in the most refugees worldwide.

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31. Recife, Brazil
> Population density: 20,837 per square mile
> Population: 3,025,000
> Square miles: 145 miles

With two ports, a thriving IT industry, agriculture and manufacturing, Recife is the major business and economic powerhouse of northeastern Brazil. The capital of the state of Pernambuco, the city is the second largest medical center in the country. With hundreds of hospitals and clinics, thousands of beds, and the latest medical technology, it serves patients across a large area. Unfortunately, Recife also has a high crime rate, including homicides, earning it a place on the list of most dangerous cities in the world as well.

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