According to the United Nations, as of 2018, 55 percent of the world’s population lives in cities. For a good sense of just how dense different population hubs are, here’s a comparison of dozens of the metropolitan centers from around the world in regards to both geographical area and population size.
MetaBallStudios (or MBS) created this enlightening tour through a bevy of the world’s city centers. The YouTube channel, run by an animator named Alvaro, has put out countless comparison videos like this one before. This comparison of moon sizes in our solar system, for example, will give you a better sense of its scale. Alvaro has also made comparison videos of things that look like moons but aren’t.
For this comparison, MBS has has lined up cities from around the world from smallest to largest by surface area. The smallest in the series is Vatican City, while the largest is the New York metropolitan area. (Note that the New York metropolitan area includes New York City, Long Island, much of the Hudson Valley, five of the largest cities in New Jersey, and six of the seven largest cities in Connecticut.)
Obviously each viewer will have their mind blown by a different subset of comparisons, but a few outlier countries are worth noting in terms of sheer density. For example: Kolkata and Mumbai, both in India, have 62,000 people per square mile and 77,000 people per square mile respectively. For reference, Hong Kong has about 25,000 people per square mile. (City defined here as a land mass of urban development that’s within a metropolitan region and contains no rural land.)
For anybody who wants even more literal perspectives on geography, we recommend MBS’s video comparing the sizes of different countries. Or, for anyone who’s looking to leave Earth—and reality—behind for a while, there’s the channel’s comparison of different sci-fi starships.