Countries By Population Density

There are approximately 7.6 billion people on Earth as of 2021. These people are distributed across the globe, including Antarctica. With a total area of about 510.1 million km2, the global human population density is 14.7 people per km2. But, if only the land area (150 million km2) is considered, the population density rises to 50 people per km2. However, the population is not distributed evenly across the globe. Some countries or regions are more crowded than other places. Regions such as deserts and mountain ranges are inhospitable due to unfavorable conditions. Thus, human population density is high in areas with favorable conditions, such as abundant arable land and freshwater than in desert regions.

Importance Of Studying Population Density

Human population density is defined as the number of people living within a unit of area. Thus, the number of people within mile2 or km2. The area under consideration can be either be the total surface area, including water, or just the land area. Population density is derived by dividing the total population of a given region, country, city, or territory by its area (including or excluding the area of water). Population density is an important aspect of economic and social planning for any region, city, or country. It helps in determining the amount of resources to be allocated to an area. For instance, places with high population densities require more resources because of the high demand than sparsely populated areas.

Distribution Of Population Density Around The World

Asia is the most populous and densely populated continent, followed by Africa and Europe. Therefore, it is not surprising that 7 of the top 10 densely populated countries are on the continent. However, the most densely populated country, Monaco, is located in Europe. Mauritius is the only African country featuring on the top ten most densely populated countries list. However, some of the world’s crowded countries are also some of the smallest countries by area.

On the contrary, some sparsely populated countries have large areas but a small population. For instance, Namibia is the world’s 34th largest country by area, with a land area of 823,290 km2. However, it is the second most sparsely populated country. Most of these sparsely populated countries are located in places either too cold or too hot for human survival.

10 Countries With The Highest Population Density

10 Most densely populated countries of the world.

Monaco, a city-state in Western Europe, is the world’s most densely populated country, with 19,083 people per km2. It is the second’s smallest country by area, covering about 2 km2. Monaco has an estimated population of 38,960, of which the majority are from France.

Singapore is Asia’s most densely populated country and the world’s second, with almost 8,000 people per km2. It is also a city-state in Southern Asia and one of the world’s smallest countries, covering an estimated 716 km2. The high immigration rate has partly contributed to Singapore’s high population density, with immigrants accounting for nearly 39% of the 5.7 million Singaporeans.

Bahrain is an island country in the Persian Gulf, with an estimated population of 1.6 million people, of which more than 50% are foreigners. Bahrain Island and the surrounding islands cover an area of approximately 778 km2. Thus, the country has a population density of 2,012 people per km2. It is the most densely populated country which is not a city-state.

The Maldives is Asia’s smallest country, with an estimated land area of 298 km2. However, its population of 530,950 makes it the world’s 4th most crowded country, with 1,719 people per km2.

Malta, an island country in Southern Europe, is the 5th most densely populated country, with 1,514 people per km2, the highest in the EU. It is slightly larger than the Maldives by area, covering approximately 316 km2. Malta has an estimated population of 502,650 people.

Aerial view of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the world's 6th most densely populated country.

Bangladesh completes the list of countries with a population density of at least 1,000 per km2. It is the world’s 8th most populous country, with an estimated 163 million people. However, it is the 92nd largest country, with a land area of 130,168 km2. Its population density of 1,239 people per km2 is the world’s 6th highest.

Palestine, comprising of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, ranks 7th with 759 people per km2 of land area.

Lebanon has an estimated population of 6.8 million, of which about 1.6 million are refugees mainly from the neighboring Asian countries. With a land area of 10,230 km2, its population density stands at 669 people per km2. Without the refugees, Lebanon would not have been crowded as it is today.

Barbados is a small island country in the Caribbean, covering an area of 432 km2. However, its population of 287,000 makes it one of the crowded countries in the world. Its population density of 667 people per km2 is the world’s 9th highest.

Nauru is the third smallest country by area, after Vatican City and Monaco, covering just 21 km2, and by population, with 12,580 people. The island country in Oceania has a population density of 635 people per km2.

10 Countries With The Lowest Population Density

10 Countries with the least population density in the world.

Each of the ten countries with the lowest population density has less than five people per km2. Mongolia is the world’s least crowded country with just 2 people per km2. It is the world’s 18th largest country by area, covering 1.6 million km2. However, it has a population of about 3.2 million people. Mongolia’s low population results from its climatic and geographic extremes. Mongolia is home to both deserts (Gobi Desert) and mountain ranges. The long winters and extreme temperatures make most of the country unhospitable.

Namibia is the world’s second most sparsely populated country, with about 3 people per km2. However, it is the 34th largest country, covering 823,290 km2, and has a population of 2.5 million people. Namibia is located in Kalahari and Namib Deserts, making it the driest Sub-Saharan African country. The extremely high temperatures and low rainfall make most parts of the country uninhabitable.?

Australia has a population of 25.4 million people despite being the 6th largest country by area, covering 7.7 million km2. It has a population density of 3 people per km2, making it the third most sparsely populated country. A large portion of Australia is desert or semi-arid land, while some parts comprise mountain ranges and rainforests. Thus, the country’s geography and climate are the major factors to Australia’s low population density.

Iceland covers an estimated area of 103,000 km2. However, about 63% of the land area is tundra. About 14% of the land is covered by glaciers and lakes, with only 23% vegetated. The extremely cold condition makes Iceland one of the less crowded places on Earth. With a population of 361,310, the country has a population density of 4 people per km2.

Aerial view of a viking village near Stokksnes under Vestrahorn mountain, Iceland.

Suriname is home to about 581,000 people. At 156,000 km2, it is South America’s smallest country by size. Suriname has extensive tree covers, restricting its population to the northern coast. The country has a population density of 4 people per km2.

Libya is Africa’s second most sparsely populated country, with 4 people per km2. It has a population of 6.8 million people despite being the 16th largest country, covering 1.76 million km2. The coastal areas are the most crowded places, with up to 50 people per km2. Much of Libya is covered by the Libyan Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Parts of the desert can go for decades without receiving any rainfall, limiting the human population.

Guyana has a land area of approximately 196,849 km2. It is home to about 783,000 people, making it one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. Its population density of 4 people per km2 is the world’s 8th lowest.

Botswana covers an area of approximately 580,731 km2. However, over 70% of its land area lies in the Kalahari Desert. The large desert cover and extreme climatic conditions have restricted the country’s population to just 2.3 million. Its population density is 4 people per km2.

Although Canada is the world’s second-largest country, covering 9.1 million km2, it is the 39th most populous country, with 37.6 million people. Therefore, Canada has a population density of 4 people per km2. Large parts of Canada are not arable, and thus are least populated. Other parts of the country are too cold to support the human population.

Mauritania is Africa’s 11th largest country and the world’s 28th largest, covering 1.025 million km2. However, it has a population of only 4.5 million people and a population density of 4 people per km2. Mauritania’s low population is because of its harsh climatic condition. About 90% of the country is considered a desert. The country has also experienced two decades of drought, making it an inhospitable country.

To Summarize

Six of the ten most densely populated countries have a population density of higher than 1,000 people per km2, while seven countries have between 500 and 1,000 people per km2. Several factors contribute to the countries’ high population density. However, the most common factor is the small land size.

About 33 countries have a population density of lower than 20 people per km2. Most of the sparsely populated countries are located in Asia and Africa, with a few in the Americas and Europe. Climate and geography are the major factors contributing to the sparse population in most countries.?

Rank

Country Name

Pop. Den

(poeple per km2 of land area)

1

Monaco

19083.37

2

Singapore

7953

3

Bahrain

2012.1

4

Maldives

1718.99

5

Malta

1514.47

6

Bangladesh

1239.58

7

Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip)

759

8

Lebanon

669.49

9

Barbados

666.61

10

Nauru

635.2

11

Mauritius

623.3

12

San Marino

563.08

13

Korea, Rep.

529.19

14

Netherlands

511.78

15

Rwanda

498.66

16

India

454.94

17

Comoros

447.24

18

Burundi

435.18

19

Israel

410.48

20

Haiti

403.6

21

Tuvalu

383.6

22

Belgium

377.38

23

Philippines

357.69

24

Sri Lanka

350.28

25

Japan

347.13

26

Grenada

327.81

27

Marshall Islands

324.52

28

El Salvador

309.88

29

Vietnam

308.13

30

St. Lucia

298.18

31

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

282.59

32

Pakistan

275.29

33

United Kingdom

274.71

34

Jamaica

270.99

35

Trinidad and Tobago

270.93

36

Luxembourg

250.19

37

Qatar

242.1

38

Germany

237.29

39

Liechtenstein

236.94

40

Kuwait

232.17

41

Gambia, The

225.31

42

Dominican Republic

219.98

43

Sao Tome and Principe

219.82

44

Antigua and Barbuda

218.83

45

Switzerland

215.47

46

Nigeria

215.06

47

Uganda

213.06

48

Korea, Dem. People’s Rep.

212.19

49

Seychelles

210.35

50

Italy

202.94

51

Saint Kitts and Nevis

202

52

Nepal

195.94

53

Malawi

192.44

54

Andorra

163.84

55

Micronesia, Fed. Sts.

160.91

56

Guatemala

152.55

57

China

147.77

58

Togo

145.05

59

Denmark

144.84

60

Tonga

143.33

61

Kiribati

143.02

62

Indonesia

142.56

63

Czech Republic

137.69

64

Thailand

135.9

65

United Arab Emirates

135.61

66

Cabo Verde

134.93

67

Ghana

130.82

68

Cyprus

128.71

69

Poland

124.03

70

France

122.3

71

Azerbaijan

120.26

72

Slovak Republic

113.29

73

Portugal

112.26

74

Jordan

112.14

75

Cuba

109.23

76

Austria

107.13

77

Hungary

107.12

78

Turkey

106.96

79

Sierra Leone

105.99

80

Albania

104.61

81

Armenia

103.68

82

Slovenia

102.99

83

Benin

101.85

84

Egypt, Arab Rep.

98.87

85

Costa Rica

97.91

86

Ethiopia

96.72

87

Malaysia

95.96

88

Dominica

95.5

89

Moldova

94.26

90

Spain

93.67

91

Syrian Arab Republic

92.07

92

Cambodia

92.06

93

Kenya

90.3

94

Iraq

88.53

95

Honduras

85.69

96

Timor-Leste

85.27

97

Romania

84.63

98

Greece

83.27

99

North Macedonia

82.59

100

Senegal

82.35

101

Myanmar

82.28

102

Brunei Darussalam

81.4

103

Morocco

80.73

104

Serbia

79.84

105

Cote d'Ivoire

78.83

106

Ukraine

77.02

107

Uzbekistan

74.81

108

Tunisia

74.44

109

Croatia

72.24

110

Burkina Faso

72.19

111

Ireland

70.65

112

Lesotho

69.44

113

Samoa

69.3

114

Ecuador

68.79

115

Guinea-Bissau

66.65

116

Eswatini

66.06

117

Tajikistan

65.57

118

Georgia

65.2

119

Bosnia and Herzegovina

64.92

120

Mexico

64.91

121

Bulgaria

64.71

122

Tanzania

63.58

123

Afghanistan

56.94

124

Panama

56.31

125

Yemen, Rep.

53.98

126

Nicaragua

53.73

127

Cameroon

53.34

128

Guinea

50.52

129

Iran, Islamic Rep.

50.22

130

Liberia

50.03

131

Fiji

48.36

132

South Africa

47.63

133

Belarus

46.72

134

Equatorial Guinea

46.67

135

Montenegro

46.26

136

Madagascar

45.14

137

Colombia

44.76

138

Lithuania

44.73

139

Djibouti

41.37

140

Palau

38.93

141

Bahamas, The

38.53

142

Mozambique

37.51

143

Zimbabwe

37.32

144

Congo, Dem. Rep.

37.08

145

United States

35.71

146

Eritrea

34.19

147

Kyrgyz Republic

32.97

148

Venezuela, RB

32.73

149

Latvia

31.04

150

Lao PDR

30.6

151

Estonia

30.41

152

Chile

25.19

153

Brazil

25.06

154

Peru

24.99

155

Sweden

24.98

156

Angola

24.71

157

Vanuatu

24.01

158

Somalia

23.92

159

Zambia

23.34

160

Solomon Islands

23.32

161

Sudan

22.6

162

Bhutan

19.78

163

Uruguay

19.71

164

Papua New Guinea

19

165

New Zealand

18.39

166

Finland

18.15

167

Algeria

17.73

168

Niger

17.72

169

Paraguay

17.51

170

South Sudan

17.37

171

Belize

16.79

172

Argentina

16.26

173

Saudi Arabia

15.68

174

Mali

15.64

175

Oman

15.6

176

Congo, Rep.

15.36

177

Norway

14.55

178

Turkmenistan

12.45

179

Chad

12.29

180

Bolivia

10.48

181

Russian Federation

8.82

182

Gabon

8.22

183

Central African Republic

7.49

184

Kazakhstan

6.77

185

Mauritania

4.27

186

Canada

4.13

187

Botswana

3.98

188

Guyana

3.96

189

Libya

3.8

190

Suriname

3.69

191

Iceland

3.5

192

Australia

3.25

193

Namibia

2.97

194

Mongolia

2.04

195

Vatican City

Data not Available

Table: Countries By Population Density. Source: World Bank

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