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Population Density

Population Growth is one of the indicators of urban successes in the United States (Linneman & Saiz, 2005). Municipalities compete for population growth in different ways: ensuring adequate housing supply; quality schools; or funding beautification projects for an enhanced quality of life (Hill & Brennan, 2012). Some suggest that Houston’s population growth is based on its ability to provide an affordable lifestyle for middle-class people, primarily due to low cost housing (Glaeser, 2011). Population growth has an essential impact on sustainability in that the per capita demand on non-renewable resources should be monitored to ensure supplies are available for present and future generations. Houston is the 4th largest city in terms of both population and land area and the 25th most densely populated among the 63 largest cities in the country ( U.S. Census Bureau, 2011).

Sustainability Benefit: Houston is attracting new residents, which suggests that these new residents perceive living in Houston as advantageous over other places to live.

Sustainability Issue: More residents require more resources. Sustainable management of natural resources in Houston is critical to ensure that the supplies are sufficient to accommodate the needs of increasing population levels.


Population Density in the Sustainable Development Goals

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11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.

However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.

The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.

Related Population Density Targets


By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries