Chicago, IL Cities Philadelphia, PA San Francisco, CA

How Many Major U.S. Cities Can You Fit Inside Oklahoma City, Jacksonville or Houston?

Here’s a truism even a preschooler knows: we live in a really big country! The U.S. boast 3,535,932 square miles of total land area and around 310 million residents. But these raw numbers seem quite abstract, when trying to understand and visualize what BIG actually means. Most of us have a certain sense of the size, density, or importance of the cities we’re familiar with, but have a hard time visualizing raw square miles. Some cities are enormous in size, with fewer residents than you might think (e.g. Anaconda, MT is huge, covering 736.5 square miles, but it’s home to only 9,300 people). Others accommodate cohorts of residents squeezed in tighter areas.

To get a better grasp of the real size of some of the country’s largest metros, we’ve created some cool visualizations by cutting out the shapes of famous U.S. cities and superimposing them over the maps of 3 giants: Jacksonville, Oklahoma City, and Houston.

How many major U.S. cities can fit inside these supersized metros? Take a look below and find out:

Mapping Oklahoma City

The capital and largest city of the state of Oklahoma is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. by land area (607 square miles). It stretches over a bigger surface than LA, Chicago, or even Houston! It’s no wonder you could fit 7 other major cities inside its boundaries. Although Boston and Washington have about the same number of residents as Oklahoma City, around 650,000, they seem tiny, taking up only a small percentage of its area. When comparing land areas, 26 Manhattans could fit in Oklahoma City! Still, Manhattan’s extreme upward development has driven its population to 1.6 million, almost triple than Oklahoma’s.

Mapping Oklahoma City: How Many major U.S. Cities can you fit inside?

Use the code below to embed the image on your website:

Mapping Jacksonville

Jacksonville takes up 747 square miles, and is Florida’s largest city in terms of both land area and population. It’s also the largest city by area in the contiguous territory of the U.S. Roughly 850,000 people live here, basically the entire population of San Francisco, though the latter – in terms of size – is only 6% of Jacksonville’s territory. Manhattan also seems minuscule compared to Jacksonville, although twice as many people live in the financial core of NY. You’d think Chicago is big? Well, it’s densely populated for sure. But when comparing land areas, Chicago doesn’t even come close to a third of Jacksonville.

Mapping Jacksonville City: How Many major U.S. Cities can you fit inside?

Use the code below to embed the image on your website:

Mapping Houston

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the size of its cities. Houston flaunts a huge area of 599.6 square miles, ranking no. 9 in the entire U.S. The city is also home to 2.23 million residents. It holds the title of the fourth most populous city in the nation. Due to it’s zig-zagged borders, we were able to fit even the touristic town of Santa Barbara inside its boundaries, although it occupies merely 19.4 square miles.
Interestingly enough, Chicago boasts half a million more residents on half the area, spreading on just 227 square miles. That leaves just enough space for San Francisco, Washington, Boston, and Manhattan to cover the rest of Houston’s area.

Mapping Houston City: How Many major U.S. Cities can you fit inside?

Use the code below to embed the image on your website:

Have you enjoyed our comparisons? What other cities would you like to see mapped this way?

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to RENTCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology.

moving checklist

About the author

Nicoleta Iudean

Online content developer Nicky Iudean loves writing about real estate, interior design, and lifestyle topics for RENTCafé. She gets inspiration for a healthier and happier way of living from her 4-year old son. You can reach Nicoleta by email or Twitter.

2 Comments

Click here to post a comment