Richard Florida parses the findings included in a new report [PDF] published by the U.S. Census Bureau that provides a more nuanced look at the densities of America's metros. The new data measures population-weighted density, the concentration of people within a metro, which Florida believes is "an important improvement on the standard measure of density." While average density simply divides the total population of a city or metro area by its land area, population-weighted density can provide a more detailed picture of density at varying distances from a city's center by looking at the densities of separate census tracts.
"New York and Los Angeles are good examples of the differences between these two density measures," says Florida. "While they are close in the average density - 2,826 for New York versus 2,646 for L.A. - the New York metro has much higher levels of concentrated or population-weighted density, 31,251 versus 12,114 people per square mile. San Francisco, which has lower average density than L.A. (1,755 people per square mile), tops L.A. on population-weighted density with 12,145 people per square mile."