The Most Densely Populated Neighborhoods in the World

Hong Kong is famous for its residential density.
Hong Kong is famous for its residential density.

When it comes to density, countries in Africa and Asia have the highest rates in the world. Countries with the densest regions include India, Macau, Bangladesh, Kenya, and the United Arab Emirates. Some of the factors influencing the population density in a particular area include the search for employment, suitable or cheap housing, proximity to commercial centers (which allow for residents to engage in trade), and the availability of social amenities.

The Most Dense Neighborhoods in the World

Lalbagh Thana

Lalbagh Thana is the most dense neighborhood in the world. It is home to 168,151 people per square km. Located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is is widely considered a slum due to the large number of squatters who move to the area in search of cheap housing. Young people make up a large percentage of the population of Lalbagh Thana. A significant portion of the people of Lalbagh Thana lives below the poverty line without access to safe necessities such as food, electricity, and healthcare. Though the neighborhood is the capital of Bangladesh, most of its population have limited access to the economic and social opportunities which exist in the capital.

Ayal Nasir

Ayal Nasir is the second most dense neighborhood in the world, located in Dubai. Ayal Nasir has a population density of 150,647 people per square km. The industries located in Dubai are a major attraction for the communities residing in these regions. A sex disparity in the population is noticeable due to a large number of male expatriates in comparison to their female counterparts.

Chak Bazar

Chak Bazar is the world’s third most dense area with a population density of 130,122 people per square km. Chak Bazaar is an important marketplace in Dhaka, Bangladesh that established in 1947. The neighborhood has served as an important social and business center over the centuries thus attracting a large population.

Mathare North

Mathare is a group of slums located within Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. Mathare North is the fourth most dense neighborhood in the world with a population density of 119,055 people per square km. Mathare North is located just over 4 km from the city's Central Business District (CBD), and is occupied by low-income earners who commute. The bulk of the population is due to rural-urban migration, many who came in search of employment opportunities. However, a majority of the population still struggle economically due to job scarcity. Many residents remain unable to access essentials.

Other Dense Neighborhoods

Other dense areas include Zaveri Bazar in Mumbai, Al Dhagaya in Dubai, St. Antony Parish in Macau, Anjana, Karanj, and Gopipura in Surat, Dhaka Kotwali Thana in Dhaka, Mlango Kubwa, Mathare 4A, and Gatwikira in Nairobi and Kismamajongoo in Zanzibar.

Effects of high population density neighborhoods

High population density comes with both disadvantages and advantages. The large population puts a strain on the available infrastructure in a region, leading to poor services and unequal distribution of good services. Such infrastructural resources include schools, hospitals, and electricity supply. Population pressure in these dense areas put pressure on existing housing leading to the construction of poor quality homes as well as an increased number of squatters and homeless families. Crime rates are higher in dense regions due to unemployment and the stress created by a high cost of living.

The Most Dense Neighborhoods in the World

RankNeighborhood NameCity, CountryInhabitants (per km squared)
1Lalbagh ThanaDhaka, Bangladesh168,151
2Ayal NasirDubai, United Arab Emirates150,647
3Chak BazarDhaka, Bangladesh130,122
4Mathare NorthNairobi, Kenya119,055
5Zaveri BazarMumbai, India114,001
6Al DhagayaDubai, United Arab Emirates113,353
7St. Anthony ParishMacau, Macau111,636
8AnjanaSurat, India110,875
9KaranjSurat, India107,288
10Dhaka Kotwali ThanaDhaka, Bangladesh101,693
11Mlango KubwaNairobi, Kenya93,005
12GopipuraSurat, India877,773
13Mathare 4A Nairobi, Kenya87,209
14GatwikiraNairobi, Kenya85,323
15KismamajongooZanzibar City, Tanzania83,240

More in Society