Los Angeles is more dense than New York

By: Ben Kraal

Feb 05 2008

Category: design


Los Angeles is more dense, population-wise, than New York City.

I know, you’re thinking, wait, that’s not right. But it is, if you look at the “urban” or “metropolitan” area, not just the city.
UPDATE: LA is more dense for given measures of density. However, these measures of density are misleading for many reasons. The next post outlines why though you should really just to straight to Robert McDonald’s excellent rebuttal of my post.

I should say here that all figures are from Wikipedia which makes them easy to disagree about, and easy to dispute the accuracy of, but also easy to find. You can also find similar, and more detailed, but less up to date figures at the amazing demographica.

The population density of New York City is 10456 people per square kilometre, which I’ll call NYCc. The population density of Los Angeles is 3168 people per square kilometre, LAc.

But, wait. If you take the population and density figures for the New York City urban area (a murky term, but basically the “built up” area), the NYCu density is 2130 people per square kilometre. If you include the New York City metropolitan area, an area that includes rural land and less developed land that still has close ties to the actual city, you get a density of 1081 people per square kilometre, NYCm.

Now you’re thinking that I’ve done some slight of hand and left out the LAu and LAm figures. And I have, because Wikipedia doesn’t list both the urban and metropolitan areas and populations for LA. Instead, you get a metro population figure and an urban area figire, for a density of 2997 LAmu. The same fudge on New York city gives 2167 NYCmu.

And there you have it. If you calculate the population density of LA and NYC for the area that includes all of the built up area, Los Angeles is more dense than New York City.

3 comments on “Los Angeles is more dense than New York”

  1. […] Los Angeles is more dense than New York […]

  2. get your facts straight, no its not.

  3. Thank you for your intelligent and well reasoned rebuttal.

    However, you will notice that the comment/trackback above the one you made is from the next post in this blog which points to the excellent rebuttal to my post by Robert McDonald.

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