Thursday, February 01, 2018

Worldwide Population Density

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a 3D WebGL visualization of Europe's population called 3D Global Human Settlement. This 3D model uses data from the European Commission's Global Human Settlement Layer, to show the population of Europe as peaks and troughs, where height represents population density.

Since I wrote about this 3D map Alasdair Rae, of the University of Sheffield, has been exploring population density in Europe in much more detail. In Think your country is crowded? These maps reveal the truth about population density across Europe Rae has mapped Eurostat’s population density grid data for 2011. This map visualizes the population density in each square kilometer in Europe.

He has also created a table which shows the population density of each European country. This table includes a column showing how many people in each country live in the the most densely populated one square kilometer of that country. By comparing this figure for each country you can see where the most densely populated square kilometers are in Europe. In Barcelona more than 53,000 people inhabit a single 1km². This is the most densely populated area in Europe. Paris has the second most densely populated km², with a 1km² containing more than 50,000 people.

Alasdair Rae's article includes a brief discussion of some of the most densely populated areas outside of Europe. He also links to Duncan Smith's interactive map of World Population Density. Another interactive map which shows worldwide population data is SEDAC Population Estimator (GPWv4). This interactive map uses NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data to show where the world's population lives.

The SEDAC Population Estimator map includes a tool to draw an area on the map to see an estimate of the population that live there. You can therefore draw a square kilometer on the map to make your own comparisons with Alasdair's most densely populated square kilometers in Europe. For example, I drew a square kilometer at random in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the map gave me a population estimate of 107,804. This is over twice as many people as the 52,000 people living in Europe's most densely populated 1km² in Barcelona.

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