Is Los Angeles bigger than San Francisco?

Written by David Girones

This type of question where we compare two cities is quite common, as an example Is Los Angeles bigger than San Francisco? Sometimes it is difficult to remember the population of each city or how the population has evolved since the last time we looked at the data. 

Los Angeles and San Francisco population

Population of Los Angeles

Los Angeles, also known as LA, according to the 2020 census provided by the United States Census Bureau has a population of 3,893,986 people.

Population of San Francisco

In the case of San Francisco, together with the Bay Area, home of some of the largest companies by market capitalization, the number of people living in the city according to the 2020 census is 873,965.

So if your question is:

How big is Los Angeles compared to San Francisco? 

Considering the population of each city, Los Angeles is bigger than San Francisco, according to 2020 census data.

Los Angeles with 3,8 million people and San Francisco with 873,965, so Los Angeles has 3 million more people than San Francisco.

Population trend of Los Angeles and San Francisco

According to the historical record, since 2000 the population of Los Angeles has grown by 5.41% and the population of San Francisco has grown by 12.51%.

Taking into consideration that the growth in population of Los Angeles is smaller than San Francisco, the difference in population will be shrinking in the long run.

Is Los Angeles’s total land area bigger than San Francisco?

Usually in a comparative question between two cities we want to know in which city lives more people. However, there is another unit of measurement that also refers to the size of the city and this is the total area.

In the case of the area comparison between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the total area of Los Angeles is bigger than San Francisco.

Los Angeles has a total area of 469.49 sq mi (1,216.0 km²) and San Francisco has 46.90 sq mi (121.48 km²), almost 10 times less.

Which city has a higher population density? Los Angeles or San Francisco

There is a third metric that is often used to compare cities, which is based on the two data points we presented earlier: population and area.

Population density is obtained by dividing the number of individuals living within a specific location by the total area of the location. In our comparisons as a unit of area we use square miles and km².

If the question we are trying to solve is whether the population density is greater in Los Angeles or San Francisco, we must inform you that the population density is much lower in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Population Density

The density of Los Angeles, also known as LA, is 8,294.1/sq mi (3,202.4/km²). 

Population Density of San Francisco

The population density of San Francisco is 18,633.27/sq mi (7,194.3/km²). 

Population density for both Los Angeles and San Francisco, has been calculated using only land area, ignoring any water area belonging to the city.

Qué es más grande Los Ángeles o San Francisco
San Francisco is smaller than Los Angeles

Conclusion on which city is bigger Los Angeles or San Francisco

As we have been able to observe with the data provided in the comparison between both cities, Los Angeles is a larger city than San Francisco in terms of population.

On the other hand, in terms of total area Los Angeles is also bigger than San Francisco and if what we take into account is the population density, then we must indicate that the density of Los Angeles is lower than San Francisco.

Los Angeles is the most populated city in California, and the second largest in the United States, only after New York. It is also the city in the state with the largest area. However, it is far from the size of some Alaskan cities that occupy much larger areas than L.A.

L.A. and San Francisco are in the Top 5 most populated cities in California, the first and the fourth. However, the capital of California is Sacramento, famous for its basketball team, but in terms of population it is not among the most populated cities in the state.

Other cities compared with Los Angeles or San Francisco

Sources used:

All information regarding the number of people and annual population growth is extracted from United States Census Bureau

The total area data of each city has been extracted from Wikipedia.

Photo by Roberto Nickson