It has an area of 1.753,27 km2 or 175.327 ha and 2010 census result of 2,127,791 people, for a density of 1,288 people per km2; the latest official estimate (for January 2014) is 2,288,254. The regency lies on the eastern outskirts of Metropolitan Jakarta, just outside the Jabodetabek region, and is the site of industrial activity (like factories). However, due to ever expanding Jakarta (primarily from the eastward expansion of the Jakarta-Cikampek Toll Road and the Cikampek-Palimanan Toll Road), it has seen a heavy influx of housing developments as well and a surge of people. The district borders Bekasi and Bogor regencies in the west, the Java Sea in the north, Subang Regency in the east, Purwakarta Regency in the southeast, and Cianjur Regency in the south.
Most of Karawang Regency consists of broad coastal plain; it lies on the northern coast and is the result of the deposition of sedimentary rocks formed by loose materials, especially marine sediments and volcanic alluvium. While in the middle of the regency are hills mostly formed by sedimentary rocks, in the south there is a mountain (Sanggabuana) with a height of about 1,291 metres above sea level.
The regency is roughly equidistant from Jakarta and Bandung, and the two metropolitan areas have a combined home population of over 40 million people.
Trans-Java main rail line runs across the central part of the Regency, with a stop at Karawang Station. Likewise, Jakarta's main airport is also mulled for the regency. The Jakarta–Cikampek Toll Road runs through the regency, connecting to Cipularang Toll Road which goes to Purwakarta and Bandung. The port of Cilamaya is mulled to replace severely congested Port Tanjung Priok, but in April 2015 the vice president of Indonesia stated that the port is cancelled and should be shifted to the east due to too many gas and oil installations in front of the port plan.
A new main airport for Greater Jakarta and the heavily populated surrounding area is planned for bids in 2014; it is located within the regency, to provide relief to severely congested Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the nation's largest gateway, as well as overloaded Bandung Airport. The new airport is expected to have space for 4 long runways 2,136 by 19 metres (7,008 ft × 62 ft) and 2 jumbo terminals. The current airport takes up some 18 square kilometers of land, in all likelihood a similar allocation of land will be required.
Karawang adipati (regents) during the Mataram and colonial periods
Prince Singaperbangsa (1633-1677), under the title Adipati Kertabumi III
Raden Anom Wirasuta (1677-1721), son of Singaperbangsa
Raden Jayanegara (1721-1731), son of Wirasuta, under the title Adipati Panatayuda II
Raden Singanegara (1752-1786), son of Jayanegara, under the title Adipati Panatayuda IV
Raden Singasari (1786-1809), son-in-law of Singanegara, under the title Raden Adipati Aria Singasari
Raden Aria Sastradipura (1809-1811), son of Singanegara
Raden Adipati Suryalaga (1811-1813), eldest son of Raden Adipati Suryalaga, adipati of Sumedang
Raden Aria Sastradipura (1811-1820), son of Singanegara
Raden Adipati Suryanata (1821-1829), son-in-law of Sastradipura
Raden Adipati Suryawinata (1829-1849), younger brother of Suryanata
Raden Muhammad Enoh (1849-1854), under the title Raden Sastranegara
Raden Adipati Sumadipura (1854-1863), son of Sastradipura, under the title Raden Tumenggung Aria Sastradiningrat I, builds the pendopo (regent palace) and the Grand Mosque of Purwakarta
Raden Adikusumah (1883-1886), under the title Raden Adipati Sastradiningrat II
Raden Surya Kusumah (1886-1911), son of Adikusumah, under the title Raden Adipati Sastradiningrat III
Raden Tumenggung Aria Gandanagara (1911-1925), younger brother of Surya Kusumah, under the title Raden Adipati Sastradiningrat III
Raden Adipati Aria Suryamiharja (1925-1942)
Raden Panduwinata (1942-1945), under the title Raden Kanjeng Pandu Suriadiningrat, last bupati to reside in Purwakarta, moves to Subang.