Pop quiz: Where are the most densely populated cities in the U.S.?

If you conjured up visions of the artificial canyons of Manhattan or the rowhouses of most older Eastern cities, you would be wrong. As the Washington Post reports this morning, it turns out that only 3 of the top 15 most densely populated cities are east of (or on) the Mississippi River. Talk about myth-busting over the morning OJ!

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.

LA tops the list, followed closely by San Fran. San Jose comes in third and New York shows up in the number four slot. New Orleans is fifth, but then you have to go all the way to 13 before you get another Eastern city — Miami! California is home to 9 of the 15 most densely populated cities in America.

Update [2005-8-11 8:30:16 by Ana Unruh Cohen]: Kudos to Andy on his analysis on this morning’s Washington Post story. But in our initial posts neither of us mentioned this dark side of LA’s density, which is also worth pondering over your ice tea at lunch. From the story:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

There is another kind of infill. It occurs — without planning, rubbish removal or construction — when poor people pack into old houses and apartments. This is the single most important reason Los Angeles has become the nation’s densest urban area, housing experts say.