Population density

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Population density (people per km ) by country, 2006 Countries by population density.svg
Population density (people per km ) by country, 2006
Population density (people per km ) 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, as 67% of the Earth's land area is there. World population density 1994 - with equator.png
Population density (people per km ) 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, as 67% of the Earth's land area is there.
Population density (people per km ) map of the world in 1994 Population density with key.png
Population density (people per km ) 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. Aavikko.png
Deserts around the world. Compare with maps above. See also this image for location of densely populated areas (cities) in various vegetation zones.

Population density (in agriculture: standing stock and standing crop) is a measurement of population per unit area, or exceptionally 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.

Agriculture Cultivation of plants and animals to provide useful products

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.

Stock is a representation of capital paid or invested into a business entity by stockholders.

A standing crop is the total dried biomass of the living organisms present in a given environment.


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 of reduced fertility in low population densities are: [2]

Extinction vortices are a class of models through which conservation biologists, geneticists and ecologists can understand the dynamics of and categorize extinctions in the context of their causes. This model shows the events that ultimately lead small populations to become increasingly more vulnerable as they spiral toward extinction. Developed by M. E. Gilpin and M. E. Soulé in 1986, there are currently four classes of extinction vortices. The first two deal with environmental factors that have an effect on the ecosystem or community level, such as disturbance, pollution, habitat loss etc. Whereas the second two deal with genetic factors such as inbreeding depression and outbreeding depression, genetic drift etc.

The Allee effect is a phenomenon in biology characterized by a correlation between population size or density and the mean individual fitness of a population or species.

Inbreeding Production of offspring from the mating of individuals of a breed who are more closely related than the average members of the breed.

Inbreeding is the production of offspring from the mating or breeding of individuals or organisms that are closely related genetically. By analogy, the term is used in human reproduction, but more commonly refers to the genetic disorders and other consequences that may arise from expression of deleterious or recessive traits resulting from incestuous sexual relationships and consanguinity.

Monaco in Southern Europe, currently holds the record for being the most densely populated nation in the world. Monaco by night.JPG
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. TariatLandscape.jpg
Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world.
This population cartogram of the European Union (2007-2012) uses areas and colors to represent population. EU Pop2008 1024.PNG
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.

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount. The modern French is comté, and its equivalents in other languages are contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, Gau, etc..

Country Region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography

A country is a region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography.

Earth Third planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth orbits around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times.

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[ citation needed ] 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, additional criteria are needed to make simple population density values useful.

Antarctica Polar continent in the Earths southern hemisphere

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent and nearly twice the size of Australia. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Several of the most densely populated territories in the world are city-states, microstates and urban 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.

Deserts have very limited potential for growing crops, as there is not enough rain to support them. Thus their population density is generally low. However some 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.[ citation needed ]

Countries and dependent territories

With population under 10,000,000
Pos.Country (or
dependent territory)
(km2)(sq miles)per km2per sq
1Flag of Macau.svg  Macau (China)30.512650,83421,33955,268
2Flag of Monaco.svg  Monaco 2.020.7837,55018,58948,145
3Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 719.92785,612,3007,79620,192
4Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong (China)1,106.34277,409,8006,69817,348
5Flag of Gibraltar.svg  Gibraltar (UK) [11] 6.82.633,1404,87412,624
6Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain 7572921,451,2001,9174,965
7Flag of the Vatican City.svg   Vatican City 0.440.178001,8184,709
8Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 315122475,7011,5103,911
9Flag of Maldives.svg  Maldives 298115378,1141,2693,287
10Flag of Bermuda.svg  Bermuda (UK)522063,7791,2273,178
With population above 10,000,000
(km2)(sq miles)per km2per sq
12Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh 143,99855,598165,001,9461,1462,968
19Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Taiwan 36,19313,97423,572,0496511,686
25Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 100,21038,69151,635,2565151,334
27Flag of Rwanda.svg  Rwanda 26,33810,16912,001,1364561,181
31Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 41,52616,03317,271,8194161,077
33Flag of Haiti.svg  Haiti 27,06510,45011,112,9454111,064
34Flag of India.svg  India 3,287,2401,269,2101,335,543,9574061,052
36Flag of Burundi.svg  Burundi 27,81610,74010,681,186384995
38Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 30,52811,78711,414,214374969
39Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 300,000115,831106,302,840354917

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.

See also

Lists of entities by population density

Related Research Articles

Geography of Denmark

Denmark is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. It consists of the Jutland peninsula and several islands in the Baltic sea, referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark is located southwest of Sweden and due south of Norway and is bordered by the German state Schleswig-Holstein to the south, on Denmark's only land border, 68 kilometers long.

Geography of Israel geography of the country Israel

The geography of Israel is very diverse, with desert conditions in the south, and snow-capped mountains in the north. Israel is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea in Western Asia. It is bounded to the north by Lebanon, the northeast by Syria, the east by Jordan and the West Bank, and to the southwest by Egypt. To the west of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea, which makes up the majority of Israel's 273 km (170 mi) coastline, and the Gaza Strip. Israel has a small coastline on the Red Sea in the south.

Geography of China Geography of the country of China

China has great physical diversity. The eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of fertile lowlands and foothills. They are the location of most of China's agricultural output and human population. The southern areas of the country consist of hilly and mountainous terrain. The west and north of the country are dominated by sunken basins, rolling plateaus, and towering massifs. It contains part of the highest tableland on earth, the Tibetan Plateau, and has much lower agricultural potential and population.

Harvey County, Kansas County in the United States

Harvey County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 34,684. Its county seat and most populous city is Newton.

Rural area geographic area that is located outside towns and cities

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."

In 48 of the 50 states of the United States, the county is used for the level of local government immediately below the state itself. Louisiana uses parishes, and Alaska uses boroughs. In several states in New England, some or all counties within states have no governments of their own; the counties continue to exist as legal entities, however, and are used by states for some administrative functions and by the United States Census bureau for statistical analysis. There are 3,242 counties and county equivalent administrative units in total, including the District of Columbia and 100 county-equivalents in the U.S. territories.

Greater Manila Area

The Greater Manila Area is the contiguous urbanization surrounding Metro Manila, as well as Mega Manila. This built-up zone includes neighboring provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Batangas, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija. Though sprawl continues to absorb new zones, some urban zones are independent clusters of settlements surrounded by non-urban areas.

Urban area Human settlement with high population density and infrastructure of built environment

An urban area, or urban agglomeration, is a human settlement with high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as cities, towns, conurbations or suburbs. In urbanism, the term contrasts to rural areas such as villages and hamlets and in urban sociology or urban anthropology it contrasts with natural environment. The creation of early predecessors of urban areas during the urban revolution led to the creation of human civilization with modern urban planning, which along with other human activities such as exploitation of natural resources leads to human impact on the environment.

Talsi District District in Latvia

Talsi District was a district of Latvia, located in Courland region, in the country's west. It was one of the former 26 rural districts of Latvia and it consisted of 20 local communities. Districts were eliminated during the administrative-territorial reform in 2009.

Huyi District District in Shaanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Huyi District also formerly known as Hu County, or Huxian, is one of 11 urban districts of the prefecture-level city of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, Northwest China. The district was approved to establish from the former Hu County (户县) by the Chinese State Council on November 24, 2016. As of 2018, its population was 558,600. The district borders the prefecture-level cities of Xianyang to the north and Ankang to the south and Chang'an District to the east.

Demographics of the world include population density, ethnicity, education level, health measures, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the human population of the Earth.


  1. 1 2 3 Matt Rosenberg Population Density. Geography.about.com. March 2, 2011. Retrieved on December 10, 2011.
  2. Minimum viable population size.[ dead link ] 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.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. The Monaco government uses a smaller surface area figure resulting in a population density of 18,078 per km2
  7. Portnov, B. A.; Hare, A. 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.