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Mapped: The World’s Population Density by Latitude

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A map of the world population by latitude.

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Mapped: The World’s Population Density by Latitude

When you think about areas with high population densities, certain regions spring to mind. This could be a populous part of Asia or a cluster of cities in North America or Europe.

Usually density comparisons are made using cities or countries, but this map from Alasdair Rae provides another perspective. This world map depicts population density by latitude, going from the densest populated coordinates in deep red to the sparsest in light blue.

Why Certain Latitudes (and Regions) Are More Densely Populated

Numerous factors affect an area’s population density. These can range from topography, or the physical terrain characteristics of the place, to more direct factors like an area’s climate, which can impact both the survivability and agricultural potential.

Political, economic, and social factors are also at play⁠—for example, there is a natural lack of livelihood opportunities in sparse areas such as the Amazon rainforest or the Himalayas.

Breaking down the population by latitude, we see the population becomes more concentrated near the equator. In particular, the 25th and 26th parallel north are the most densely populated latitude circles. Around 279 million people reside in these latitude lines, which run through large countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, the United States, Mexico, and others.

Despite their large landmasses, many of these countries do not themselves have very high population densities. Since density measures the ratio of people to physical space, countries with vast but sparse regions like China and India are less dense than imagined.

Out of the top 10 most densely populated countries in the world, only a couple can be found on the 25th and 26th parallel north⁠—Bangladesh and Bahrain. For a size comparison, Bangladesh is 1.55% the size of China, and Bahrain is only 0.01%.

The Future of Population Density Near the Equator

Looking ahead to 2100, the UN projects that the global population will rise to almost 11 billion. This would increase global population density from 59.11 people per square kilometer in 2022 to 80.82 per square kilometer in 2100.

However, the projections show that Asia will not be the biggest contributor to this growth. Instead, the most considerable jump in population is predicted for Africa, set to grow by almost 200% from almost 1.5 billion people today to 4.3 billion in 2100.

The equator runs right through the middle of Africa and crisscrosses countries like the Congo (both the Republic and DRC), Kenya, Gabon, Uganda, and Somalia.

As Africa’s population expands, this means that at latitudes near the equator, there could be even higher population densities coming. Or course, this largely depends on how the world’s fastest growing cities⁠—most of which are in Africa⁠—shape up over the coming decades.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Charted: The Eight U.S. States With Population Declines in 2023

While the U.S. population grew 0.5% in 2023, eight states registered population declines. We list them here.

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A cropped chart ranking the U.S. states with population declines between 2022–23, along with the % change.

Charted: U.S. States With Population Declines in 2023

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Between 2022 and 2023, the U.S. added approximately 1.58 million people, or grew its population by about 0.5%. However, not all states grew by the same proportion. In fact, some states saw their number of residents drop, both from net population loss (deaths outnumbering births) and from net migration (emigrants outnumbering immigrants).

We visualize the U.S. states with population declines between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023, along with the percentage change. Data is sourced from Census Bureau estimates, released May 2024.

Ranked: Population Changes in U.S. States

A demographic reshuffling is taking place across the U.S., with states in the Northeast and the West seeing shrinking populations.

Below are the changes for all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, ranked from declines to gains in ascending order.

U.S. State2023 PopulationPopulation Change
(2022–23)
% Population
Change (2022–23)
New York19,571,216-101,984-0.52%
California38,965,193-75,423-0.19%
Illinois12,549,689-32,826-0.26%
Puerto Rico*3,205,691-14,422-0.45%
Louisiana4,573,749-14,274-0.31%
Pennsylvania12,961,683-10,408-0.08%
Oregon4,233,358-6,021-0.14%
Hawaii1,435,138-4,261-0.30%
West Virginia1,770,071-3,964-0.22%
Alaska733,406+130+0.02%
Vermont647,464+354+0.05%
Mississippi2,939,690+762+0.03%
New Mexico2,114,371+895+0.04%
Rhode Island1,095,962+2,120+0.19%
Wyoming584,057+2,428+0.42%
New Hampshire1,402,054+3,051+0.22%
Kansas2,940,546+3,830+0.13%
Michigan10,037,261+3,980+0.04%
North Dakota783,926+5,014+0.64%
Maine1,395,722+6,384+0.46%
Iowa3,207,004+7,311+0.23%
District of Columbia**678,972+8,023+1.20%
Connecticut3,617,176+8,470+0.23%
South Dakota919,318+9,449+1.04%
Montana1,132,812+9,934+0.88%
Nebraska1,978,379+10,319+0.52%
Delaware1,031,890+12,431+1.22%
Kentucky4,526,154+14,591+0.32%
Maryland6,180,253+16,272+0.26%
Nevada3,194,176+16,755+0.53%
Massachusetts7,001,399+18,659+0.27%
Missouri6,196,156+18,988+0.31%
Wisconsin5,910,955+20,412+0.35%
Arkansas3,067,732+21,328+0.70%
Minnesota5,737,915+23,615+0.41%
Idaho1,964,726+25,730+1.33%
Ohio11,785,935+26,238+0.22%
Washington7,812,880+28,403+0.36%
Indiana6,862,199+29,925+0.44%
New Jersey9,290,841+30,024+0.32%
Oklahoma4,053,824+34,553+0.86%
Alabama5,108,468+34,565+0.68%
Utah3,417,734+36,498+1.08%
Colorado5,877,610+36,571+0.63%
Virginia8,715,698+36,599+0.42%
Arizona7,431,344+65,660+0.89%
Tennessee7,126,489+77,513+1.10%
South Carolina5,373,555+90,600+1.71%
Georgia11,029,227+116,077+1.06%
North Carolina10,835,491+139,526+1.30%
Florida22,610,726+365,205+1.64%
Texas30,503,301+473,453+1.58%

Note: *Territory. **Federal district.

New York’s population shrank by approximately 102,000 people in 2023 compared to 2022. Most of that drop occurred in New York City, where the net population fell by 77,000 people. This is more than the amount by which California’s population shrank (75,000 people).

In conjunction with the Northeast and Western states’ declines, Southern states (Texas, Florida, and North Carolina to name a few) saw gains in the same period. In fact, Texas added nearly half a million people, a 1.5% gain, or three times the national average.

These patterns could indicate ongoing interstate migration. For example, between 2020 and 2021, more than 100,000 Californians moved to Texas. A 2021 New York Times analysis found that Texas in particular is teeming with jobs and good schools alongside a low crime rate. As a result it has become a preferred destination for those looking to maintain their quality of life for lower costs, compared to New York City and California.

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