One week ago, Israel launched its ground invasion of Gaza, a coastal strip governed by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas that militant groups had been using to launch rocket attacks on Israel.
Gaza is the site of a conflict in which over 800 people have already been killed. But for those outside the region, it’s perhaps hard to conceptualize just how large or small one of the world’s most intense battlegrounds actually is.
The actual land mass of Gaza is tiny. At 139 square miles, it’s about the same size as Detroit (138.8 square miles), Philadelphia (134.1), Las Vegas (135.8), or Portland, OR (133.4).
One of the main issues in the current war is that airstrikes or military operations carried out in Gaza are almost guaranteed to have civilian casualties, due to Gaza’s small size and dense population.
While its not quite like invading densely-packed New York City, Gaza has a population density equivalent to numerous U.S. cities.
With its population at approximately 1.82 million people, Gaza has a population density of 13,064 people per square mile. That is about half the density of New York City (27,778 people per square mile) and about equal with Boston, MA (13,321 people per square mile).
World.Mic’s Chris Walker, who is in charge of data visualizations at the site, recently came up with a series of maps to demonstrate the size of Gaza’s population in relation to American cities. Walker used the population density of each place to show how much space the 1.8 million people of Gaza would take up across various U.S. cites. The orange shaded area — shaped to look like Gaza — represents how much landmass Gazans would take up in each place.
Here’s the space that 1.8 million New Yorkers take up (Density: 27,779 people/sq mile):
For reference, here’s how large Gaza is geographically, compared to New York.
This is how much space 1.8 million Bostonians (Density: 13,321 people/sq mile) take up. As you can see — due to the similar densities — it takes up not just Boston, but a few of the surrounding towns:
A Gaza-shaped visualisation of 1.8 million Los Angelenos (Density: 8,225 people/sq mile):
… and 1.8 million San Franciscans (Density: 17,246 people/sq mile):
1.8 million Philadelphians (Density: 11,234 people/sq mile):
1.8 million Washingtonians (Density: 10,528 people/sq mile):
1.8 million Miamians (Density: 10,161 people/sq mile)
1.8 million Chicagoans (Density: 11,868 people/sq mile):
1.8 million Houstonians (Density: 3,503 people/sq mile):
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