Do or Do Not.

Mapgeek: Most populated U.S. cities

with 4 comments

Apparently, the city of San Jose, California has now become one of the ten most populous cities in the United States. I’m a bit shocked by that, honestly–I know it’s the “capital of Silicon Valley” and all, but still…wow. This news got me thinking about the other cities in the top ten–and gave me a Google Earth-related post for this week for you guys, you lucky dogs!

First off, a challenge: how many of the ten most populous American cities do you think you can name? Write ‘em down and we’ll compare them in just a minute.

No, really. Go ahead. I’ll wait.


(‘net surfing)

All done? OK, sweet. Look here for the answers:

There you have the locations of the top eleven cities by population, according to the United States Census Bureau. I’ve included Detroit at eleven because that’s the city that was bumped out of the top ten by San Jose. Did any of you get all ten correct with your guesses? If any of you did — you’re lying, you bastards, and you know it! You did not guess San Antonio or Phoenix were in the top ten.

A couple of things I thought were pretty interesting:

  • Three cities in California (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose). Three in Texas (Houston, San Antonio, Dallas). NONE in Florida.
  • And for that matter, none on the Atlantic Coast, none in the Southeast. None in the Midwest or the Pacific Northwest. What does the placement of these hugely-populated cities tell us about migratory patterns in our country? I’d like to compare these cities with population densities of the surrounding areas–are Dallas, Houston and San Antonio super-populated because most of the areas around them aren’t, for instance? Are these areas with fewer suburbs and bedroom communities, so more people live in the cities themselves?
  • Phoenix, but not Boston? San Antone, but not Atlanta? San Jose, but not San Francisco? Miami? Seattle?
  • It’ll also be interesting to see this list ten years from now, after the next census–will San Jose still be in the top ten, or will all of those tech jobs that have boosted it’s numbers so much have spread out by that point? Will our lessening reliance on industry cause the population of Detroit to continue to plummet? What will be the next city to see huge gains or losses in population?

Anyway. Discuss. Or not, as you see fit.

Written by Allen

July 7th, 2005 at 5:25 pm

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4 Responses to 'Mapgeek: Most populated U.S. cities'

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  1. What I found even more amazing is that Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida (#14 in the nation) while Miani is in the twenties not too many spots ahead of Tampa and St. Petersburg.


    9 Jul 05 at 12:19 pm

  2. Boston, Atlanta, and San Francisco all have very low resident populations. All have much higher day time populations as commuters make their way in – Boston’s population doubles between 9-5 M-F.

    Boston and San Francisco proper are rather small, which doesn’t help. And in Boston’s case, people will ofter count “named neighborhoods” ( such as Allston, Jamaica Plain, etc. ) independently of Boston, which is just wrong.

    Atlanta’s freed from the list because of a nasty case of urban sprawl in the last two decades. Phoenix has had the same cancerous expansion, but they kept the new territories in the zip codes that matter.


    12 Jul 05 at 7:35 am

  3. Kinda what I thought on those cities, though I didn’t have any evidence to back that up and didn’t feel like doing any research. I knew Atlanta suffered from a horrible case of sprawl–the couple of times I’ve been there I’ve been simply amazed by how spread-out everything is–but I didn’t realize Boston and San Francisco were that small. I think I tend to conceptualize major metro areas in the “media market” sense rather than purely on population, which is why I thought they’d be bigger.


    12 Jul 05 at 7:56 am

  4. Indianapolis needs an MLB or NHL team!


    20 Jun 07 at 6:17 pm

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