The Gaza Strip: Tiny, cramped and as densely populated as London

The war between Israel and Hamas has seen fierce Israeli bombardment that has flattened broad swaths of the Gaza Strip. Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

And all that is happening in a tiny, densely populated coastal enclave.

Gaza is tucked among Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The strip is 25 miles (40 kilometers) long by some 7 miles (11 kilometers) wide. It has 2.3 million people living in an area of 139 square miles (360 square kilometers), according to the CIA Factbook.

That’s about the same land size as Detroit, a city that has a population of 620,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s about twice the size of Washington and 3½ times the size of Paris.

Gaza has a population density of about 14,000 people per square mile (5,500 per square kilometer). That’s about the same as London, a city brimming with high-rise buildings, but also many parks. Gaza has few open spaces, especially in its cities, due to lack of planning and urban sprawl.

Gaza’s density is even tighter in its urban cores like Gaza City or Khan Younis, where tens of thousands are packed into cramped neighborhoods and where density rates become more comparable to certain cities in highly populated Asia.

An Israeli-Egyptian blockade, imposed after the Hamas militant group seized power in 2007, has greatly restricted movement in and out of Gaza, adding to the sense of overcrowding.


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