Jinan is located in the north-western part of Shandong province at 36° 40′ northern latitude and 116° 57′ east of Greenwich, about 400 kilometres (250 mi) south of the national capital of Beijing. It borders Liaocheng to the southwest, Dezhou to the northwest, Binzhou to the northeast, Zibo to the east, Laiwu to the southeast, and Tai'an to the south. In the relief of the region, the city occupies a transition zone between the northern foothills of the Taishan Massif to the south of the city and the valley of the Yellow River to the north. Karst aquifers in limestone formations sloping down from the south to the north give rise to many artesian springs in the city center as well as in surrounding areas.
Jinan has a humid subtropical, considering a normal isotherm of −3 °C, or a humid continental climate, considering an isotherm of 0 °C but favoring the former, with four well-defined seasons. The city is dry and nearly rainless in spring, hot and rainy in summer, crisp in autumn and dry and cold (with little snow) in winter. The average annual temperature is 14.70 °C (58.5 °F), and the annual precipitation is around slightly above 670 millimetres (26.4 in), with a strong summer maximum, and high variability from year to year. January is the coldest and driest month, with a mean temperature of −0.4 °C (31.3 °F) and 5.7 millimetres (0.22 in) of equivalent rainfall. July is the hottest and wettest month, the corresponding numbers are 27.5 °C (81.5 °F), and 201.3 mm (7.93 in). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 48 percent in July to 63 percent in May, the city receives 2,547 hours of bright sunshine annually.
Due to the mountains to the south of the city, temperature inversions are common, occurring on about 200 days per year. The high precipitation for northern Chinese standards, in tandem with the topography (mountains surrounding the city on three sides), leads to particularly oppressive summer weather and the city being named as a candidate for the fourth "furnace", c.e. Three Furnaces. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −22.5 °C to 42.5 °C.
In 2005, the estimated population of the entire area under the jurisdiction of Jinan City was 5.69 million, with a total of 2.54 million living in urban areas. By 2009, the total population had grown to about six million. The census in 2010 counted 6.81 million inhabitants out of which about 4.335 million were living in 6 urban districts which made up the built up area.
The population is predominantly Han (98.3 percent), with very small portions of Hui and Manchu Chinese. Jinan has a significant Muslim community centred in the city's Muslim quarter, located to the west of the historical center.