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16 comparisons to show exactly how enormous Los Angeles is

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Is it as big as it feels?

Aerial view of the LA sprawl.
Aerial view of the LA sprawl.
Shutterstock

A common, frequent complaint about Los Angeles is that it’s so big and so sprawling that it feels like it goes on forever. Is it really? Does it really?

To get a better grasp of LA’s relative size, self-storage-focused website Spare Foot has used a mapping tool (unfortunately) named MAPfrappe to superimpose LA’s city limits over the borders of other major cities, states, and even a few landmarks. The pairings also show how LA compares to other metropolises in terms of land area, population, and density per square mile.

In terms of population, LA’s not too different from Chicago, which has about 1 million fewer people, but Chicago is half LA’s size and has about 3,600 more people per square mile. San Francisco, Boston, and New York trounce LA in terms of density; Anchorage, Houston, and San Diego are significantly less dense than LA, while Seattle has barely fewer people per square mile.