There are 8,613 people per square mile in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, higher than the national population density of 6,321 Americans per square mile across all U.S. metro areas. Chicago also has the highest population density of any Illinois 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 Chicago a typical home is worth $224,300, more than the national median home value of $194,500. Chicago has the 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 Chicago lasts 31.5 minutes, longer than the average commute time for Illinois as a whole of 28.8 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 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, there were 2,014 property crimes per 100,000 people in 2015, lower than the national property crime rate of 2,487 incidents per 100,000 Americans and roughly similar to the statewide rate of 1,989 property crimes reported per 100,000 residents. Chicago has the second lowest property crime rate and third lowest violent crime rate in Illinois.

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