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For Population Density Think LA, Not New York

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A new census report shows the nation's four most densely populated urbanized areas are all in California.

When you imagine people living densely packed, you may think of New York City. But a new report from the Census Bureau shows California is home to the most densely populated metro areas in the United States.

America's most dense urbanized area is Los Angeles, with nearly 7,000 people per square mile. San Francisco was number two, followed by San Jose. The Central Valley city of Delano came in fourth, but it was a bit of a statistical fluke. Its population of 54,372 meant it was just large enough to be considered an "urbanized area."

The New York area came in fifth on the list. And while San Diego didn't make the top five, its 4,037 people per square mile was a greater density than that found in either Chicago or Philadelphia.

These census figures come from a new analysis of the 2010 numbers, and they don't tell the whole story. Knowing the population of an "urbanized area" depends on where you define its boundaries, and east-coast inner cities tend to be more dense than what's found in the west.

But the California Planning and Development Report points out California cities sustain dense populations over very large areas. And the Golden State is the country's most urban state, with 95 percent of its residents living in urbanized areas.

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