One approach to improving cotton yield and quality is to identify crop management practices that may exploit the most basic (i.e. within-boll) yield components. One of the parameters that may influence within-boll yield components is plant density. Thus, the objectives of this investigation were to determine how yield components in cotton are altered through plant density management. Two cotton cultivars were over seeded and hand thinned to 3.6, 9.0, 12.6 and 21.5 plants m-2 in 2001 and 2002. Prior to machine harvest, plants from 6 m of one row were removed from each plot and hand harvested by fruiting position. After hand harvest, seed cotton from each fruiting position was ginned separately. Boll number, lint mass, seed number, seed mass, seed surface area and fiber properties were determined for each fruiting position. These data were then used for yield component calculations. Lint mass boll-1, individual seed mass and seed number boll-1 decreased as plant density increased while total seed surface area m-2 of land area increased, which resulted in increased lint yield m-2 of land area. Lint mass cm-2 of seed surface area and fiber number seed-1 did not consistently respond to plant density. These results indicate that plant density management may influence total seed surface area per unit land area. Most within-boll yield components, however, appear to be controlled more by cultivar than crop management.