There are 12,145 people per square mile in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area, higher than the national population density of 6,321 Americans per square mile across all U.S. metro areas. San Francisco also has the highest population density of any California metro area.

Population density can have a meaningful impact on home prices in an area. There tends to be more demand for available real estate in more densely populated areas, and home prices are often higher as a result. In San Francisco a typical home is worth $718,400, more than the national median home value of $194,500. San Francisco has the second highest median home value of any metro area in the state.

Dense metropolitan areas are often the most congested, with the average worker spending up to 38 minutes commuting to work in some cities. The average commute in San Francisco lasts 31.9 minutes, longer than the average commute time for California as a whole of 28.9 minutes and the highest of any metro area in the state.

One of the most effective deterrents to crime is other people. In denser cities there is often more people and more streetlight to act as natural surveillance that can in some cases prevent petty crime. In the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area, there were 3,601 property crimes per 100,000 people in 2015, higher than the national property crime rate of 2,487 incidents per 100,000 Americans and higher than the statewide rate of 2,618 property crimes reported per 100,000 residents.

Rank Metro Area Population Density
10 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 6,920.5
9 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 7,395.3
8 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 7,773.2
7 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 7,980.1
6 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 8,417.7
5 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI 8,613.4
4 Honolulu, HI 11,548.2
3 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 12,113.9
2 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 12,144.9
1 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 31,251.4