The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Gaza City is being hit by missile strikes. This is how densely populated it is.

The Gaza Strip is often referred to as one of most densely populated places on earth. This observation is often disputed. In many ways, both the original observation and the criticisms of it miss the point. The Gaza Strip may be geographically small, but comparing it to mega-cities like New York City perhaps doesn't make that much sense.

What might be more interesting is to compare the density of the Palestinian territories' largest city, Gaza City, to other cities. Using data from the St. Louis-based Demographia, we have been able to do this.

The data we found show that the urban area around Gaza City, which has an estimated population of three quarters of a million, is far more dense than many global cities. According to Demographia, it is the 40th most densely populated urban area in the world. It is less dense than some major world cities, including Mumbai, Hong Kong and Karachi, but a lot more dense than some others, and its small geographical size and high level of density seem to be unique.

It's an important point to note, given that Gaza City is one of the major targets for Israeli airstrikes. With a population density like this, are civilian casualties inevitable?