Saturday, February 04, 2023

Global Population Density

Top Row: Paris, Barcelona, New York, 
Bottom Row: London, San Francisco, Los Angeles

US cities tend to have lower population densities than cities in most other countries in the world. The maps above show the populations living within a 5km radius of the centers of a number of major cities. As you can see San Francisco and Los Angeles have significantly lower population densities than Paris and Barcelona. Only New York rivals its European counterparts, with a population density higher than London.

Tom Forth's interactive map Population Around a Point allows you to click anywhere in the world to view the estimated population living within a defined distance. It is a great tool for exploring the differences in population density in different countries and continents. I used Tom's map to discover and compare the population densities of a number of U.S., European and Asian cities.

Top row: Dhaka, Mumbai, Manila
Bottom row: Kolkata, Beijing, Tokyo 

If you think Paris and Barcelona pack a lot of people into a small space then you haven't visited Dhaka. With a population of nearly 5 million people within a 5km radius of the city center it has almost well over twice the population density of Paris. However it was a surprise to me to discover that Paris actually has a higher population density than Tokyo. Despite being probably the most populated city in the world Tokyo actually has a lower population density than the capital of France.

If you are interested in population density then you might also want to read Alasdair Rae's analysis of population density around the world (with a focus mainly on Europe). In Think your country is crowded? Rae has mapped Eurostat’s population density grid data for 2011. This map visualizes the population density in each square kilometer in Europe. 

Alasdair 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's article includes a brief discussion of some of the most densely populated areas outside of Europe.

1 comment:

Terrace said...

The "number of bus stops" tally is suspiciously inaccurate, but I doubt the author of the site has really done much research on places outside of major metro areas. Surprised to learn that my community has "0" bus stops when it has about 10...