How Big is Gaza?

The Gaza Strip has the same land area as Las Vegas but more than three times the population. There are approximately 2.23 million residents of the small territory.

The whole of Gaza (aka the Gaza Strip) is about twice the size of Washington, D.C. and three times the population. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt and Israel, Gaza is a 25-mile long stretch of coastal land (141 square miles, 365 square kilometers).

Gaza’s coastline is 40 kilometers (24 miles) long.

The Gaza Strip is geographically about the size of Philadelphia, Detroit or the country of Grenada.

Map of Gaza overlaid on the map of Washington DC
Overlay (in red) of Gaza Strip boundaries over Washington, D.C Source: Newsweek.

How big is Gaza’s population?

The Gaza Strip has almost exactly the same land area as Las Vegas but more than three times the population. There are approximately 2.23 million residents of the small territory.

The war that started on October 7, 2023 has killed over 1% of the Gaza’s population. More than 27,000 Palestinians in Gaza have lost their lives. At least 80% of the population is internally displaced now.

Bar chart of growth of Gaza's population over time.
Source: Statista.

Its largest city, Gaza City, has a higher population density than any major U.S. city, including Los Angeles, with more than 650,000 people living within its 18 square miles.

Before the war began on October 7, about 80% of Gaza’s population were already refugees. There are eight refugee camps in the small territory – Beach camp, Bureij camp, Deir Al Balah camp, Jabalia camp, Khan Younis camp, Maghazi camp, Nuseirat camp and Rafah camp.

At 1.4-square kilometers (0.54 square miles), Jabalia refugee camp – before the October war began – had the biggest population with some 116,000 registered refugees. It is hard to know exactly how many people remain there. It is in the north of the territory where the Israeli military has issued many evacuation orders issued and attack and flattened much of the infrastructure. Those who have stayed behind in Jabalia and the other camps in the north are largely cut off from the basic necessities and humanitarian aid.

Map with the locations of the Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza
Gaza includes eight recognized refugee camps that have some of the highest population densities in the world. As of 2023, some 80% of Gaza’s population is made up of refugees. Source for map: Passia

How big is Rafah, Gaza's smallest governorate?

The Rafah Governorate, the southern most of the Gaza governorates, encompasses a total land area of 64 square kilometers (25 square miles). Before the war began on October 7, Rafah Governorate was home to 275,267 Palestinians. Over the course of the war, residents from the rest of Gaza have been pushed farther and farther south. Now, it is estimated that more than half of Gaza 2.23 million people are crammed into the governorate.

Map showing the Rafah Governorate in Gaza with population and land mass statistics

How big is Gaza compared to the West Bank?

The West Bank is much bigger than Gaza. It is about 2,260 square miles, while Gaza is about 141 square miles. The West Bank’s total population is 3.25 million, about 1 million people more than in Gaza.

The population density is 1,438 people per square mile in the West Bank and 15,603 per square mile in Gaza.

What is the distance between Gaza and the West Bank?

Palestine is made up of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The West Bank and Jerusalem are connected, though checkpoints make movement challenging. Gaza, however, is separated from the rest of Palestine. At their closest points, Gaza and the West Bank (Hebron) are 50 kilometers (30 miles) apart, but Palestinians need Israeli permission to pass through Israel.

How big is Gaza's border with Egypt?

Gaza and Egypt share a 12-kilometer (7.5 mile) border in Rafah. Rafah is one of three operational crossings in and out of Gaza. The other two crossings, Erez in the north and Kerem Shalom in the south, are under direct Israeli control.

After the war began in October 2023, for two weeks all of the borders were entirely sealed. On October 21, trucks started entering Gaza through the Rafah border, letting in an average of 100 trucks come in daily, far below the 500/day average before the war. In January 2024, Israel started allowing a very limited number of trucks into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Gaza needs and the imperative for support

The war that started in October 2023 has changed Gaza forever, with over 1% of the population lost, 80% of residents internally displaced and much of its infrastructure destroyed. As we consider the complexities of Gaza's borders and the impact of the war on this tiny enclave, it is clear that addressing the humanitarian needs requires urgent attention and international collaboration. Anera, as always ,remains committed to providing assistance and support to the people of Gaza during wartime and reconstruction.

Learn more about what Anera is doing in Gaza and how you can support our work >>

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