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United States by Density

Population density is the number of human inhabitants per unit of area, typically square mile (mi² or mile²) or square kilometer (km²).

High population densities have their advantages and disadvantages. High population density has enabled economic and social development. However, it can lead to skyrocketing housing costs, more traffic, higher pollution, and additional stress on natural resources such as fresh water. Conversely, areas with low population density may have little economic development, political, economic, and technological isolation, and little or no access to regular human interaction.

The United States has a population density of 93.29 people per mile². The individual states have a wide range of population densities, from 1.28 people per mile² to 11,685.51 people per mile².

What are the least-densely-populated states in the U.S.? The ten states with the lowest population densities, expressed as people per square mile, are:

  1. Alaska: 1.28/mi²
  2. Wyoming: 6/mi²
  3. Wisconsin: 6/mi²
  4. Montana: 7.42/mi²
  5. North Dakota: 11.09/mi²
  6. South Carolina: 11.78/mi²
  7. New Mexico: 17.36/mi²
  8. Idaho: 22.11/mi²
  9. Nebraska: 25.22/mi²
  10. Nevada: 28.59/mi²

For those who enjoy wide-open spaces, the United States offers plenty of options. The large states of Alaska, Wyoming, and Wisconsin have the lowest population densities in the country, with Montana having 7 people per mile² in a population of 1,085,000, Wyoming 6 people per mile² with a population of just 581,075 (also the lowest population in the country), and Alaska topping them all with only 1.28 people per mile² relative to its population of 724,357 and a total area of 570,641 miles². Alaska is the largest states in the U.S.

Compared to the other states, the District of Columbia covers a tiny area of just 68 miles², yet it has a population of 703,608, which makes it by far the densest state of all at 11,685.61 people per mile². New Jersey follows, with a population density of 1,207.83 people per mile², and Massachusetts with 883.68 people per mile².

Statistics show a range of population densities in the most highly populated states. California has a total population of 39,613,500, and a population density of 252.74 people per mile². Texas has 29.730,300 people, and its population density is about 110 people per mile² (this is due to its land area being 261,232mi²). In comparison, Florida's population of 21,312,211 has a population density of 405.45 people per mile².

Several states have very populous cities, which look much different than the states as a whole. For example, New York has a total population of 19,300,000 and a population density of 410.32 people per mile². New York City, the most highly populated city in the United States, accounts for over 8.23 million of the state's population and has a land area of 302.6 miles², giving it a population density of 27,000 people per mile².

Here are the 10 states with the highest population density:

  1. New Jersey (1,207 people per square mile)
  2. Rhode Island (1,027 people per square mile)
  3. Massachusetts (886 people per square mile)
  4. Connecticut (734 people per square mile)
  5. Maryland (625 people per square mile)
  6. Delaware (508 people per square mile)
  7. New York (410 people per square mile)
  8. Florida (409 people per square mile)
  9. Ohio (287 people per square mile)
  10. Pennsylvania (286 people per square mile)

United States by Density

State Density (mi²) 2021 Pop. Total Area (mi²)
New Jersey1,2078,874,5208,723
Rhode Island1,0271,061,5091,545
Massachusetts8866,912,23910,554
Connecticut7343,552,8215,543
Maryland6256,065,43612,406
Delaware508990,3342,489
New York41019,299,98154,555
Florida40921,944,57765,758
Ohio28711,714,61844,826
Pennsylvania28612,804,12346,054
California25439,613,493163,696
Illinois22612,569,32157,914
North Carolina22010,701,02253,819
Hawaii2191,406,43010,932
Virginia2188,603,98542,775
Indiana1906,805,66336,420
Georgia18810,830,00759,425
Michigan1779,992,42796,714
South Carolina1765,277,83032,020
Tennessee1686,944,26042,144
New Hampshire1531,372,2039,349
Washington1177,796,94171,298
Texas11429,730,311268,596
Kentucky1134,480,71340,408
Wisconsin1085,852,49065,496
Louisiana1074,627,00252,378
Alabama974,934,19352,420
Missouri906,169,03869,707
West Virginia741,767,85924,230
Minnesota725,706,39886,936
Vermont68623,2519,616
Arizona667,520,103113,990
Mississippi632,966,40748,432
Arkansas583,033,94653,179
Oklahoma583,990,44369,899
Colorado575,893,634104,094
Iowa573,167,97456,273
Oregon454,289,43998,379
Maine441,354,52235,380
Utah403,310,77484,897
Kansas362,917,22482,278
Nevada293,185,786110,572
Nebraska251,951,99677,348
Idaho231,860,12383,569
New Mexico172,105,005121,590
South Dakota12896,58177,116
North Dakota11770,02670,698
Montana71,085,004147,040
Wyoming6581,07597,813
Alaska1724,357665,384

United States by Density