Census Bureau data ranking states for urbanized areas.
image via New Geography

Which state is the most urban one in the U.S.? This is probably a hard question to many people. New Geography contributor Wendell Cox looks at a map of metropolitan America and concludes that at least half of the nation's land is covered by urbanization. Citing data from the Census Bureau, Cox ranks the U.S. states according to their urban density. Cox writes,

Someone well-informed in urban geography would quickly retort that most metropolitan areas are more rural than are urban and, in total, the only 3% of the nation’s land area is in urban development. This shown by data in the 2010 census, which counts as urban all settlements with at least 2,500 population.

The difference is between two very different definitions of the city. The physical city, called the urban area in the United States, the built-up urban area in the United Kingdom, the unité urbaine in France and population center in Canada is the area of continuous urbanization (or development). The metropolitan area is a much larger geography that includes areas from which a substantial portion of the working population is employed in a core area that is, in the United States it is central counties, an area typically far larger than what was formerly called the “central city” or the “core city.”

The most urban states in the U.S. are California, New York, Nevada, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona.

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