With the rapid development of urbanization, the standard of living has improved, but changes to the city thermal environment have become more serious. Population urbanization is a driving force of residential expansion, which predominantly influences the land surface temperature (LST). We obtained the land covers and LST maps of Wuhan from Landsat-5 images in 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2009, and discussed the distribution of land use/cover change and LST variation, and we analyzed the correlation between population distribution and LST values in residential regions. The results indicated massive variation of land cover types, which was shown as a reduction in cultivatable land and the expansion of building regions. High-LST regions concentrated on the residential and industrial areas with low vegetation coverage. In the residential region, the population density (PD) had effects on the LST values. Although the area or variation of residential regions was close, lower PD was associated with lower mean LST or LST variation. Thus, decreasing the high-LST regions concentration by reducing the PD may alleviate the urban heat island effect on the residential area. Taken together, these results can provide supports for urban planning projects and studies on city ecological environments.