The Largest Cities in America

Sizable Cities

What are the largest cities in America? If you answered New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston etc., then you’re answering a different question. ‘Largest’ implies not population but land area, and the most expansive cities are seldom the most populous ones.

Take, for example, Sitka, Alaska, where 8,458 people—roughly the same population as a city block in New York City—occupy 2,870 square miles of land and 1,945 square miles of water area within the city limits. To put that into perspective, that’s more than twice the size of the state of Rhode Island, not far from the size of Connecticut.

Sitka is the largest city in America, closely followed by Alaska’s capital, Juneau, which encompasses 2,704 square miles of land and 550 square miles of water. Wrangell, AK (3,476 square miles of land and water) ranks third, followed by Anchorage, AK (1,946 square miles).

If you’re looking for the largest cities in the ‘lower 48,’ then Jacksonville, FL covers 874.5 square miles of land and water (a little over half the size of Rhode Island), followed by Tribune, KS, whose city lim-its include 778 square miles (none of it water). Among other major cities, Houston, TX (671 square miles), Oklahoma City, OK (620), Phoenix, AZ (519), San Antonio, TX (504) and Nashville, TN (497) are notable for their expansive boundaries. Los Angeles residents are spread out over 501 square miles.

Meanwhile, New York’s five boroughs and 8.8 million people are distributed over 300 square miles, and residents of Baltimore, MD (population 585,000) live on just 92 square miles. Seattle (83.9 square miles of land area), Des Moines, IA (88.2) and Milwaukee, WI (97) are among the least aggressive cities when it comes to annexing their surrounding territory.