March 10, 2016


AMERICA'S MOST URBAN STATES (Wendell Cox, 03/08/2016, New Geography)

Even before the radical densification policies of Senate Bill 375 were implemented, California's high density credentials were impeccable. Among all urban areas in the nation, 21 of the densest 25 are in California, including Richgrove, an urban area of less than 3000 residents in a population density of over 10,000 per square mile. Richgrove is located in Tulare County, in the San Joaquin Valley, 10 miles east of State Highway 99, in the Delano area. Not only is Los Angeles nearly twice as dense as international densification model Portland, but San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Riverside - San Bernardino and San Diego are also more dense than Portland, not to mention Fresno, Oxnard, Stockton, Los Banos, Simi Valley and Modesto and, of course Richgrove (as well as others).

New York has the second highest state urban population density at 4200 residents per square mile. Again, perhaps surprisingly, Nevada has the third highest population urban density, though well below New York at 3300 residents per square mile. Las Vegas is the fifth highest density urban area over 1,000,00 residents, at 4500 residents per square mile Only one other state, Hawaii, has an urban population density above 3000 residents per square mile (3200). Honolulu, with fewer than 1,000,000 residents, has an urban density of 4800 per square mile.

Rather than being dominated by the states with the urban areas perceived to be the densest, in the East and Midwest, seven are in the West, which has, like California, a reputation for urban sprawl. Only New Jersey, much of which is suburban New York or Philadelphia, as well as Illinois, home of the nation's third largest urban area, Chicago, rank in the 10 densest states for urbanization.

Eight of the 10 least dense states are in the South. Two are in the East, one of which should be no surprise, Maine, where all of the urban areas are somewhat small. (Figure 4) New Hampshire, however, may be surprising, since so much of the population is located in suburban Boston. One of the least accurate urban myths is about Boston as a dense urban area. Yes, it is dense inside Route 128 (Interstate 95), but beyond that it exhibits densities about the same as Atlanta, which is the least dense urban area in the world that has more than 2 million residents.

Posted by at March 10, 2016 7:02 PM