The density of the population around the world varies significantly from one location to the next. The population density refers to how many people live in a place per square meter. This is calculated by taking the total population of a place and dividing it by the square footage of that location. In terms of the density of the world population, the world measures approximately 197 million square miles and the total population of the Earth is 7.5 billion. Therefore, the average population per square mile is 38 people per square mile. Of course, some areas are more densely populated than others, there is a significant difference between the cities with the highest population and the cities with the densest populations. In most cases, the population is spread sparsely over rural areas with the bigger cities being densely populated. This is often because many major industries operate in or around big cities, so people need to live where there are employment opportunities. Here are the 20 most densely populated cities in the world in terms of the populations per square mile. This list does not include communes, municipalities, or special administrative regions of a country.
20. Asmara, Eritrea – 51,570
In Wikipedia’s list of cities by population density, Asmara is in the 20th position. Asmara is the capital city of Eritrea, which is a country located on the horn of Africa that is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Asmara sits at an elevation of 2,325, which means it is the sixth highest capital in the world. With a population of 896,000, it is the most populous city in Eritrea. This population is condensed into an area of just 17 square miles, which means that this city has a population density of 51,570 people per square mile.
19. Union City, United States – 51, 810
Union City is a tiny city located in the northern part of Hudson County in New Jersey. With a population of only 66,455, this city doesn’t even make it onto the list of the top 20 most populous cities in the United States. However, the city’s extremely small size means that it is the most densely populated city in the United States and the 19th most densely populated in the world. This city covers an area of just 1.007 square miles, giving it a high population density of 51,810 people per square mile.
18. Colombo, Sri Lanka – 52,871
Colombo is the Sri Lankan capital. Although the metropolitan area of Colombo is 5.6 million, there are 752,993 people in the city proper. Colombo measures 14.28 square miles, so the population density is 52,871. This city is the commercial center of Sri Lanka and one of the most popular tourist destinations in this country. It is important to note that the population of this city is an estimate as many of the people living in the shantytown sections of the city do not exist on official records and are not included in census figures. Therefore, it is possible that the population is significantly higher, and this would impact the population density of this city.
17. San Juan, The Philippines – 52,946
One of the 16 cities that constitute Metro Manila, San Juan is located at the approximate center of Metro Manila and it is a major shopping hub. In terms of land area, it is the smallest city in The Philippines as it covers only 2.29 square miles. However, it has a population of 121,430, which means it has a population density of 52,946 per square mile.
16. City of Pasay, The Philippines – 53,554
Another of the 16 cities in Metro Manila that has made it onto the list of the 20 most densely populated cities in the world is the City of Pasay, which has a population density of 53,554 per square miles. This city’s population is 392,869 and it has a land area of 7.34 square miles. The City of Pasay is located just south of Manila and it first became an urban time during the American colonial period. According to Britannica, this city is highly commercialized and famous for its waterfront nightclubs.
15. Howrah, India – 53,670
Located on the western bank of the Hooghly River, Howrah is the metropolitan city and the municipal corporation of the Howrah District of India. With a population of 1.072,161 and covering a land area of 19.98 miles, this city has a population density of 53,670 people per square mile.
14. Mislata, Spain – 54,695
The second most populous city in Europe is Mislata in Spain. This city is part of the Valencian community and it has borders with Valencia, Xirivella, and Quart de Poblet. Mislata has a population density of 54,695 residents per square mile because it has 43,576 people living in a land area of 0.8 square miles.
13. Paris, France – 55,673
The Travel describes Paris as the most populous city in France and also the most densely populated city in Europe. Paris has been one of Europe’s major centers for finance, the arts, science, fashion, and tourism since the 17th century, and it attracts many residents working in those industries. This city has a population of 2.27 million and covers a land area of 40.7 miles. The population density in Paris is 55,673 people per square mile.
12. Pasig, The Philippines – 55,958
Pasig is another of the 16 cities that constitute Metro Milan in the Philippines. It is classed as a 1st class highly urbanized city, and it has a population of 392,869 residents. In terms of land size, this is a relatively small city, as it covers an area of just 7.34 miles This means that the overall population density for this city is 55,958 people for every square mile.
11. Navotas, The Philippines – 56,140
With a population of 249.463 and a land area of 4.44 square miles, the average number of people living per square mile in this city is 56,140. The City of Navotas is a 1st class and highly urbanized city located within Metro Manila in The Philippines. It is the commercial fishing hub of the Philippines as its port is the largest in Southeast Asia and the third-largest in Asia as a whole. Navotas was not considered a city until 2007, although it was founded in 1827.
10. Malabon, The Philippines – 58,607
Malabon is a highly urbanized city in Metro Manila in the Philippines, and it borders other cities including Manila, Valenzuela, Navotas, and Caloocan. This city is both a residential and an industrial town. The total population of Malabon is 353,337, and it has a land area of 6.08 miles square. These figures mean that for every square mile in Malabon, there are 58,607 residents.
9. Malé, Maldives – 59,559
Malé is the capital and most populous city of the Republic of Maldives. It has an area of 3.58 square miles and a population of 133,412, so its population density is 59,559 per square mile. The city is located on the edge of North Malé Atoll. Traditionally, this city was the home of the royal dynasties, so this is where the palace was located. Therefore, it was known as King’s Island. However, the monarchy was abolished in 1968.
8. Kathmandu, Nepal – 61.972
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and the largest city in this country. The city covers an area of 19.09 square miles and has a total population of 1,183,000. This means that the population density of Kathmandu is 61,972 per square mile. Kathmandu is the center of history, culture, art, and economy in Nepal. This city is also known as the City of Temples as it is home to multiple temples, include Pashupatinath Temple, which is one of the oldest pagodas in the world. This city is also home to the Nepalese government. Tourism is one of the most important industries in the economy of this city.
7. Kolkata, India – 62,813
The population density of Kolkata is 62,813 per square mile because it has a land area of 71.4 square miles and a total population of 14,486,679. Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal, one of the states of India. This city is located on the east bank of the Hooghly River and sits approximately 50 miles west of the Bangladeshi-Indian border. Kolkata, also known as Calcutta, is considered the principal cultural, educational, and commercial center of East India. It is home to the oldest port and sole major riverine port in India, the Port of Kolkata. After Mumbai and Delhi, Kolkata is the third-most productive metropolitan area in India.
6. Bnei Brak, Israel – 70,823
Bnei Brak is a major city in Israel that has a land area of 2.736 miles square and a population of 193,774. This means that this city’s population density is 70,823 people per square mile. Also known as Bene Beraq, this city is located just east of Tel Aviv on the central Mediterranean coastal plain. Not only is this the most densely populated city in Israel, but it is also one of the poorest.
5. Caloocan, The Philippines – 72,302
Caloocan is a city in Metro Manila in the Philippines. There is an estimated population of 1.489.040, and the land area measures 20.6 miles square. Therefore, Caloocan has a population density of 72,302 residents per square mile. This highly urbanized city is also the fourth-most populous in the Philippines. Unusually, this city is divided into two geographical locations, of which Northern Caloocan is the larger part. The city was founded in 1815, and the native language in this city is Tagalog.
4. Dhaka, Bangladesh – 75,290
There is a significant difference between the most populous cities and the cities with the densest populations. While the former is simply the number of people living in the city, the latter takes into account the land area in which these people are living. Therefore, there are not many cities that appear on both lists. However, Dhaka is a city that is not only densely populated, but it is also one of the most populous cities in the world. When the Greater Dhaka area is included in the population count, it has a population of over 20 million and World City Reviews ranks it as the seventh most populous city in the world. In terms of population density, there are 75,290 people per square mile. Dhaka is the capital and largest city in Bangladesh.
3. Cavite City, The Philippines – 75,890
Also called the City of Cavite, this is a 4th class city in the province of Cavite in the Philippines. When the province was established in 1614, the City of Cavite became its capital. It remained the capital of the province until 1954 when the city of Trece Martires was created. Included in the figures for this city are the population of some outlying islands of the province, including Corregidor Island. The overall population is 319,104, and these residents live in an area of land that covers 4.2 square miles. This means that the population density in this city is 75,890.
2. Mumbai, India – 76,790
Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the most populous city in India with a population of 19,478,447. It is also a large city with a land area of 233 miles square. The population density in Mumbai is 76,790. This city is the capital of the Indian state Maharashtra. It lies on the western coast of India along the Konkan coast. This historic city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it has been named as an alpha world city.
1. Manila, The Philippines – 107, 520
According to World Atlas, Manila is the most densely populated country in the world. This city has a population of 1,780.148 and an area of 16.56 square miles. Therefore, it has a small area and a high combination, which is what gives it an average of 107,520 people per square mile. Manila is the Philippine capital, and it is a popular shopping destination. This city has experienced employment growth of 5.7 percent and the city has a solid financial outlook.