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Population Density

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Updated June 11, 2014
Population density is an often reported and commonly compared statistic for places around the world. Population density is the measure of the number per unit area. It is commonly represented as people per square mile (or square kilometer), which is derived simply by dividing...

total area population / land area in square miles (or square kilometers)

For example, Canada's population of 33 million, divided by the land area of 3,559,294 square miles yields a density of 9.27 people per square mile. While this number would seem to indicate that 9.27 people live on each square mile of Canadian land area, the density within the country varies dramatically - a vast majority lives in the southern part of the country. Density is only a raw gauge to measure a population's disbursement across the land.

Density can be computed for any area - as long as one knows the size of the land area and the population within that area. The population density of cities, states, entire continents, and even the world can be computed.

The tiny country of Monaco has the world's highest population density. With an area of 3/4 of a square mile and a total population of 32,000, Monaco has a density of almost 43,000 people per square mile.

However, since Monaco and other microstates have very high densities due to their extremely small size, Bangladesh is often considered the most densely populated country, with more than 2,200 people per square mile.

Mongolia is the world's least densely populated country with only 4.3 people per square mile. Australia is a close second with 6.4 people per square mile.

About 90% of the earth's people live on 10% of the land. Additionally, about 90% of the people live north of the equator.

Population density of the continents:

  • North America - 32 people per square mile
  • South America - 73 people per square mile
  • Europe - 134 people per square mile
  • Asia - 203 people per square mile
  • Africa - 65 people per square mile
  • Australia - 6.4 people per square mile

The population density of the planet (including all land area) is about 105 people per square mile. If Antarctica is eliminated (since it has zero population density), the world population density rises only to 115 people per square mile.

The population density of the United States is approximately 76 people per square mile.

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