The ecological impact of urban development and population increase is an area of increasing relevance as human modification of the landscape continues unabated. The prediction of this impact will help inform urban planning and decision making around population growth, impervious surface (IS) increase and associated ecological effects. The Xiong'an New Area is a state-level new area to be established in North China. The population growth goal for the area is going to reach 2.5 million and the area is planned to expand to 2000 km 2 . The potential population growth and area expansion will result in a massive increase in IS area and thus may impact the regional ecological quality. A clear understanding of the impact would help to minimize the influence of the new area's development on regional ecological quality. Therefore, this study investigated current land cover types and ecological status in the Xiong'an New Area using feature inversion techniques and the improved remote sensing-based ecological index (RSEI). Statistical models were developed to predict ecological effects responding to the forthcoming population and associated IS increase in the new area. This was achieved by relating population growth to IS area increase and exploring the relationships between IS area and RSEI. The results show that the area's land surface has not been intensively developed and the current ecological status is good. The RSEI-based prediction shows that IS area has a noteworthy effect on regional ecological conditions. The variation of IS proportions in the new area can result in a significant shift of RSEI. A balance amount of total IS area in the 2000 km 2 new area is 433 km 2 . Exceeding/reducing the amount would result in a decline/rise of the area's ecological quality. Introducing a quantity of IS area-related population density (IPD) reveals that the area's ecological quality is actually related to IPD rather than to traditional population density when the total area and future population of the new area are given. Therefore, the forthcoming regional master planning for the new area should include specific efforts to control IS area increase.