Population density

Population density (in agriculture: standing stock and standing crop) is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term.[1] In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.

Countries by population density
Population density (people per km2) by country, 2006
World population density 1994 - with equator
Population density (people per km2) map of the world in 1994. In relation to the equator it is seen that the vast majority of the human population lives in the Northern Hemisphere, which is logical, as 85% of the Earth's land area is there.
Population density with key
Population density (people per km2) map of the world in 1994
Deserts around the world. Compare with maps above. See also this image for location of densely populated areas (cities) in various vegetation zones.

Biological population densities

Population density is population divided by total land area or water volume, as appropriate.[1]

Low densities may cause an extinction vortex and lead to further reduced fertility. This is called the Allee effect after the scientist who identified it. Examples of the causes in low population densities include:[2]

  • Increased problems with locating sexual mates
  • Increased inbreeding
Monaco by night
Monaco in Southern Europe, currently holds the record for being the most densely populated nation in the world.
Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world.
EU Pop2008 1024
This population cartogram of the European Union (2007–2012) uses areas and colors to represent population.

For humans, population density is the number of people per unit of area, usually quoted per square kilometer or square mile (which may include or exclude, for example, areas of water or glaciers). Commonly this may be calculated for a county, city, country, another territory or the entire world.

The world's population is around 7,500,000,000[3] and Earth's total area (including land and water) is 510,000,000 square kilometers (197,000,000 sq. mi.).[4] Therefore, the worldwide human population density is around 7,500,000,000 ÷ 510,000,000 = 14.7 per km2 (38 per sq. mi). If only the Earth's land area of 150,000,000 km2 (58,000,000 sq. mi.) is taken into account, then human population density is 50 per km2 (129 per sq. mile). This includes all continental and island land area, including Antarctica. If Antarctica is also excluded, then population density rises to over 55 people per km2 (over 142 per sq. mile).[1] However, over half of the Earth's land mass consists of areas inhospitable to human habitation, such as deserts and high mountains, and population tends to cluster around seaports and fresh-water sources. Thus, this number by itself does not give any helpful measurement of human population density.

Several of the most densely populated territories in the world are city-states, microstates and dependencies.[5][6] These territories have a relatively small area and a high urbanization level, with an economically specialized city population drawing also on rural resources outside the area, illustrating the difference between high population density and overpopulation

The potential to maintain the agricultural aspects of deserts is extremely limited as there is not enough precipitation to support a sustainable land. The population in these areas are extremely low. Therefore, cities in the Middle East, such as Dubai, have been increasing in population and infrastructure growth at a fast pace.[7]

Cities with high population densities are, by some, considered to be overpopulated, though this will depend on factors like quality of housing and infrastructure and access to resources.[8] Most of the most densely populated cities are in Southeast Asia, though Cairo and Lagos in Africa also fall into this category.[9]

City population and especially area are, however, heavily dependent on the definition of "urban area" used: densities are almost invariably higher for the central city area than when suburban settlements and the intervening rural areas are included, as in the areas of agglomeration or metropolitan area, the latter sometimes including neighboring cities. For instance, Milwaukee has a greater population density when just the inner city is measured, and the surrounding suburbs excluded.[10]

In comparison, based on a world population of seven billion, the world's inhabitants, as a loose crowd taking up ten square feet (one square metre) per person (Jacobs Method), would occupy a space a little larger than Delaware's land area.

Countries and dependent territories

With population under 10,000,000
Pos. Country (or dependent territory) Area (km2) Area (mi2) Population Density
1  Macau (China) 30.5 12 650,834 21,339 55,268
2  Monaco 2.02 0.78 37,550 18,589 48,145
3  Singapore 719.9 278 5,612,300 7,796 20,192
4  Hong Kong (China) 1,106.3 427 7,409,800 6,698 17,348
5  Gibraltar (UK)[11] 6.8 2.6 33,140 4,874 12,624
6  Bahrain 757 292 1,451,200 1,917 4,965
7   Vatican City 0.44 0.17 800 1,818 4,709
8  Malta 315 122 475,701 1,510 3,911
9  Maldives 298 115 378,114 1,269 3,287
10  Bermuda (UK) 52 20 63,779 1,227 3,178

The Gaza Strip (exclave of Palestine) has a population of 1.85 million and a population density of 5,046 pop/km.

With population above 10,000,000
Pos. Country (or dependent territory) Area (km2) Area (mi2) Population Density
12  Bangladesh 143,998 55,598 165,001,946 1,146 2,968
19  Taiwan 36,193 13,974 23,572,049 651 1,686
25  South Korea 100,210 38,691 51,635,256 515 1,334
27  Rwanda 26,338 10,169 12,001,136 456 1,181
31  Netherlands 41,526 16,033 17,271,819 416 1,077
33  Haiti 27,065 10,450 11,112,945 411 1,064
34  India 3,287,240 1,269,210 1,335,543,957 406 1,052
36  Burundi 27,816 10,740 10,681,186 384 995
38  Belgium 30,528 11,787 11,414,214 374 969
39  Philippines 300,000 115,831 106,302,840 354 917

Other methods of measurement

Although arithmetic density is the most common way of measuring population density, several other methods have been developed to provide a more accurate measure of population density over a specific area.

  • Arithmetic density: The total number of people / area of land (measured in square miles or square kilometers)
  • Physiological density: The total population / area of arable land
  • Agricultural density: The total rural population / area of arable land
  • Residential density: The number of people living in an urban area / area of residential land
  • Urban density: The number of people inhabiting an urban area / total area of urban land
  • Ecological optimum: The density of population that can be supported by the natural resources

See also

Lists of entities by population density


  1. ^ a b c Matt Rosenberg Population Density. Geography.about.com. March 2, 2011. Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  2. ^ Minimum viable population size. Eoearth.org (March 6, 2010). Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  3. ^ U.S. & World Population Clocks. Census.gov. Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  4. ^ World. CIA World Handbook
  5. ^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009). "World Population Prospects, Table A.1" (PDF). 2008 revision. United Nations. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
  6. ^ The Monaco government uses a smaller surface area figure resulting in a population density of 18,078 per km2
  7. ^ 1923-2009., Portnov, B. A. (Boris Adolʹfovich) Hare, A. Paul (Alexander Paul), (1999). Desert regions : population, migration, and environment. Springer. ISBN 3540657800. OCLC 41320143.
  8. ^ Human Population. Global Issues. Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  9. ^ The largest cities in the world by land area, population and density. Citymayors.com. Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  10. ^ The Population of Milwaukee County. Wisconline.com. Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  11. ^ Territory claimed by Spain.

External links

Area and population of European countries

This is a list of countries and territories in Europe by population density.

Borough (Pennsylvania)

In the U.S. commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a borough (sometimes spelled boro) is a self-governing municipal entity, best thought of as a town, usually smaller than a city, but with a similar population density in its residential areas. Sometimes thought of as "junior cities", boroughs generally have fewer powers and responsibilities than full-fledged cities.

Demography of Australia

The demography of Australia covers basic statistics, most populous cities, ethnicity and religion. The population of Australia is estimated to be 25,300,200 as of 24 March 2019. Australia is the 52nd most populous country in the world and the most populous Oceanian country. Its population is concentrated mainly in urban areas and is expected to exceed 28 million by 2030.Australia's population has grown from an estimated population of between 300,000 and 1,000,000 at the time of British settlement in 1788 due to numerous waves of immigration during the period since. Also due to immigration from other continents, the European component's share of the population is declining as a percentage.

Australia has an average population density of 3.3 persons per square kilometre of total land area, which makes it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. This is generally attributed to the semi-arid and desert geography of much of the interior of the country. Another factor is urbanisation, with 89% of its population living in a handful of urban areas, Australia is one of the world's most urbanised countries. The life expectancy of Australia in 1999–2001 was 79.7 years, among the highest in the world.

Australia generally doesn't collect data on race and ethnicity, with the exception of Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.

Districts of Peru

The districts of Peru (Spanish: distritos) are the third-level country subdivisions of Peru. They are subdivisions of the provinces, which in turn are subdivisions of the larger regions or departments. There are 1,838 districts in total.

Governorates of Egypt

For administrative purposes, Egypt is divided into twenty-seven governorates (محافظة muḥāfaẓah; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [moˈħɑfzˤɑ]; genitive case: muḥāfaẓat [moˈħɑfzˤet]; plural: محافظات muḥāfaẓāt [moħɑfˈzˤɑːt]). Egyptian governorates are the top tier of the country's jurisdiction hierarchy. A governorate is administered by a governor, who is appointed by the President of Egypt and serves at the president's discretion. Most governorates have a population density of more than one thousand per km², while the three largest have a population density of less than two per km².

List of cities by population density

This is a list of the cities worldwide by population density. The population, population density and land area for the cities listed are based on the entire city proper, the defined boundary or border of a city or the city limits of the city. The population density of the cities listed is based on the average number of people living per square mile or per square kilometre. This list does not refer to the population, population density or land area of the greater metropolitan area or urban area, nor particular districts in any of the cities listed.

List of countries and dependencies by population density

This is a list of countries and dependent territories ranked by population density, measured by the number of human inhabitants per square kilometer.

The list includes sovereign states and self-governing dependent territories based upon the ISO standard ISO 3166-1. The list also includes but does not rank unrecognized but de facto independent countries. The figures in the following table are based on areas including inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers).

Figures used in this article are mainly based on the latest censuses and official estimates (or projections). Where there is not such updated national data available, figures are based on the online projections provided by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

List of countries by real population density based on food growing capacity

This is a list of countries ordered by physiological density.

List of national capitals by population

This is a list of national capitals, ordered according to population. Capitals of dependent territories and disputed territories are marked in italics. The population statistics given refer only to the official capital area, and do not include the wider metropolitan/urban district.

List of states and territories of the United States by population density

This article includes a sortable table listing the 50 states, the territories, and the District of Columbia by population density, population rank, and land area. It also includes a sortable table of density by states, territories, divisions and regions by population rank and land area, and a sortable table for density by states, divisions, regions and territories in square miles and square kilometers.

Population density is calculated as resident population divided by total land area. Resident population is from the United States Census Bureau estimates for July 1, 2015 (for the 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico), and from the 2015 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs for territories besides Puerto Rico. In the second table, territories data (except Puerto Rico) is from the 2010 Census. Total land area is from the 2010 Census.The population density of the United States is relatively low compared to many other developed countries due to its size. For example, the population density of the U.S. is one-twelfth that of the Netherlands and one-fifteenth that of South Korea.

List of states and union territories of India by population

India is a union of 29 states and 7 union territories. As of 2011, with an estimated population of 1.2 billion, India is the world's second most populous country after the People's Republic of China. India occupies 2.4% of the world's land surface area and is home to 17.5% of the world's population. After the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the eastern and western coastal regions of the Deccan Plateau are the most densely populated regions of India. The Thar Desert in western Rajasthan is one of the most densely populated deserts in the world. The northern and north-eastern states along the Himalayas contain cold arid deserts with fertile valleys.

Metropolitan Borough of Dudley

The Metropolitan Borough of Dudley is a metropolitan borough of West Midlands in England. It was created in 1974 following the Local Government Act 1972, through a merger of the existing Dudley County Borough with the municipal boroughs of Stourbridge and Halesowen. The borough borders Sandwell to the east, the city of Birmingham to the south east, Bromsgrove to the south in Worcestershire, South Staffordshire District to the west, and the city of Wolverhampton to the north.

Being a metropolitan borough Dudley is effectively a unitary authority, with the exceptions of Transport for West Midlands, (publicly branded as Network West Midlands), fire and police services, and the local government pension fund (West Midlands Pension Fund), which are jointly run by the seven metropolitan boroughs of the West Midlands county.

For Eurostat purposes, Dudley is a NUTS 3 region (code UKG36), and is one of seven boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region.

Metropolitan statistical area

In the United States, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area. Such regions are neither legally incorporated as a city or town would be, nor are they legal administrative divisions like counties or separate entities such as states; because of this, the precise definition of any given metropolitan area can vary with the source. A typical metropolitan area is centered on a single large city that wields substantial influence over the region (e.g., New York City or Philadelphia). However, some metropolitan areas contain more than one large city with no single municipality holding a substantially dominant position (e.g., Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, Norfolk-Virginia Beach (Hampton Roads), Riverside–San Bernardino (Inland Empire) or Minneapolis–Saint Paul (Twin Cities)). MSAs are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and used by the Census Bureau and other federal government agencies for statistical purposes.


Overpopulation occurs when a species' population exceeds the carrying capacity of its ecological niche. It can result from an increase in births (fertility rate), a decline in the mortality rate, an increase in immigration, or an unsustainable biome and depletion of resources. Moreover, it means that if there are too many people in the same habitat, people are limiting available resources to survive.

The change in number of individuals for unit area in a given locality is an Important variable that has a significant impact on the entire ecosystem.

The popular of a particular species varies along 2 dimensions :

1.Density (spatial variation)

2.Growth rate (over time)

Provinces of China

Provincial-level administrative divisions (Chinese: 省级行政区; pinyin: shěng-jí xíngzhèngqū), or first-level administrative divisions (一级行政区; yī-jí xíngzhèngqū), are the highest-level Chinese administrative divisions. There are 34 such divisions, classified as 23 provinces (Chinese: 省; pinyin: shěng), four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two Special Administrative Regions. All but Taiwan Province and a small fraction of Fujian Province (currently administered by the Republic of China) are controlled by the People's Republic of China.

Note that every province (except Hong Kong and Macau, the two special administrative regions) has a Communist Party of China provincial committee (Chinese: 省委; pinyin: shěngwěi), headed by a secretary (Chinese: 书记; pinyin: shūjì). The committee secretary is effectively in charge of the province, rather than the nominal governor of the provincial government.

Provinces of Thailand

The Provinces of Thailand are part of the government of Thailand that is divided into 76 provinces (Thai: จังหวัด, RTGS: changwat, pronounced [t͡ɕāŋ.wàt]) proper and two special administrative areas (Thai: เขตปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ), one representing the capital Bangkok and another the city of Pattaya.. They are the primary local government units and are divided into amphoes (districts) and also act as juristic persons. Each province is led by a governor (ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด phu wa ratchakan changwat), who is appointed by the central government.

Raions of Ukraine

Raions of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Райони України) are the second level of administrative division of Ukraine, below the oblast, and are the most common division of regions of Ukraine. Equivalent type of regional subdivision are also raions in city (Raions of cities in Ukraine), and cities of regional significance (City of regional significance (Ukraine)).

Raions are one of three types of administrative divisions of regions of Ukraine and second level in the administrative divisions of Ukraine.

Rural area

In general, a rural area or countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and cities. The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines the word rural as encompassing "...all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area. Whatever is not urban is considered rural."Typical rural areas have a low population density and small settlements. Agricultural areas are commonly rural, as are other types of areas such as forest. Different countries have varying definitions of rural for statistical and administrative purposes.


Sandwell is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands county in England. The borough is named after the Sandwell Priory, and spans a densely populated part of the West Midlands conurbation. According to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, the borough comprises the six amalgamated towns of Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury, and West Bromwich, which form West Birmingham although remain a separate body. although these places consist of numerous smaller settlements and localities. Though West Bromwich is the largest town in the borough and its designated Strategic Town Centre, Sandwell Council House (the headquarters of the local authority) is situated in Oldbury.

Bordering Sandwell is the City of Birmingham to the east, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley to the south and west, the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall to the north, and the City of Wolverhampton to the north-west. Spanning the borough are the parliamentary constituencies of West Bromwich West, West Bromwich East, Warley, and part of Halesowen and Rowley Regis, which crosses into the Dudley borough.

At the 2011 census, the borough had a population of 309,000 and an area of 86 square kilometres (33 sq mi).

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