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Visualizing Population Density Patterns in Six Countries

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As of 2022, Earth has 8 billion humans. By 2050, the population is projected to grow to 10 billion.

In the last 100 years, the global population more than quadrupled. But none of this growth has been evenly spread out, including within countries.

This series of 3D maps from Terence Teo, an associate professor at Seton Hall University, renders the population density of six countries using open-source data from Kontur Population. He used popular programming language R and a path-tracing package, Rayshader, to create the maps.

France and Germany: Population Density Spikes and Troughs

Let’s take a look at how the population spreads out in different countries around the world. Click the images to explore higher-resolution versions.

This image shows a map of France and its population spread.

France is the world’s 7th largest economy and second-most-populous country in the EU with 65 million people. But a staggering one-fifth of the French population lives in Paris and its surrounding metro—the most populous urban area in Europe.

Many residents in the Paris metropolitan area are employed in the service sector, which makes up one-third of France’s $2.78 trillion gross domestic product.

This image shows a map of Germany and its population spread.

Unlike France, Germany has many dense cities and regions, with Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, and Cologne all having over a million residents. Berlin is the most populated at 3.5 million residents in the city proper, and 6 million in the wider urban area.

That said, the relatively recent reunification of West and East Germany in 1991 meant that post-WWII growth was mostly concentrated in West Germany (and West Berlin).

Italy and Chile: Coast to Coast

In Italy, another phenomenon affects population density and urban development—a sprawling coastline.

This image shows a map of Italy and its population spread.

Despite having a large population of 59 million and large metropolitan areas throughout, Italy’s population spikes are closer to the water.

The port cities of Genoa, Napoli, and Palermo all have large spikes relative to the rest of the country, as does the capital, Rome. Despite its city center located 15 miles inland from the sea, it extends to the shore through the district of Ostia, where the ancient port of Rome existed.

This image shows a map of Chile and its population spread.

Meanwhile in Chile, stuck between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, population spikes corroborate with its many port towns and cities.

However, the country is more concentrated than Italy, with 40% of its residents congregating around the capital of Santiago.

Turkey and Canada: Marred by Mountains and Climes

Though Chile has difficulties with terrain, it is relatively consistent. Other countries have to attempt to settle many different climes—regions defined by their climates.

This image shows a map of Türkiye and its population spread.

Mountains to the south and east, a large, semi-arid plateau, and even a small desert leave few centers of urban growth in Türkiye.

Predictably, further west, as the elevation comes down to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, population spikes begin to heighten. The largest of course is the economic and cultural hub of Istanbul, though the capital Ankara is also prominent with more than 5 million residents.

This image shows a map of Canada and its population spread.

In Canada, the Rocky Mountains to the west and freezing cold temperatures in the center and north account for the large country’s relative emptiness.

Though population spikes in Western Canada are growing rapidly, highly populous urban centers are noticeably concentrated along the St. Lawrence River, with the Greater Toronto Area accounting for more than one-sixth of the country’s 39 million people.

Increasing Urbanization

According to the World Bank, more than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and that trend is only growing.

By 2050, 7 out of 10 people are projected to live in cities. This congregation makes cities a beehive of productivity and innovation—with more than 80% of the world’s GDP being generated at these population centers.

It’s in this context that mapping and studying urban development becomes all the more important, particularly as policymakers try their hand at sustainable urban planning.

As Teo puts it:

“By showing where people are (and are not), they show us where political and economic power is concentrated, and perhaps where and who our governments represent.”

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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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Demographics

Population Projections: The World’s 6 Largest Countries in 2075

See how the world’s 6 largest countries will grow (or shrink) by 2075, based on the latest UN population projections.

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A cropped chart with the population projections for the world's six most populous countries until 2075.

Population Projections for the World’s 6 Largest Countries

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

The end of the 21st century will see the first plateauing (and eventually shrinking) of world population since the Industrial Revolution. As birth rates fall across the globe, what does this mean for the world’s most populous countries?

To find out, we visualized forecasts for the world’s six largest countries using data from the latest revised version of the UN World Population Prospects 2022.

Projections are based on a “medium fertility scenario”, which assumes countries will converge at a birth rate of 1.85 children per woman, by 2045-2050.

China’s Projected Population Decline

China’s population boom has officially come to an end, with the country reporting two consecutive years of decreases (down 850,000 in 2022, and 2.1 million in 2023).

Year🇨🇳 China🇺🇸 U.S.🇮🇩 Indonesia
1970812M199M114M
1980975M222M146M
19901,144M246M181M
20001,260M281M213M
20101,344M310M242M
20201,424M335M271M
2030E1,417M351M291M
2040E1,380M366M308M
2050E1,317M375M317M
2060E1,211M381M319M
2070E1,091M387M318M
2075E1,035M389M316M

Note: Figures are rounded.

The country’s population in 2050 is forecasted to be 1.32 billion, which is roughly the same as it was in 2007. The UN believes this demographic downtrend will accelerate as we enter the second half of the century.

What does this mean for the Chinese economy? Many worry that a smaller workforce, coupled with an aging population, will increase healthcare expenditures and hamper economic growth.

India’s Population Boom Continues

Meanwhile, the UN believes that India’s population will peak somewhere in the mid 2060s, just shy of the 1.7 billion mark.

India’s population will not age as quickly as its neighbor. Those over the age of 65 will represent less than one-fifth of the population until 2060, and their share of India’s total number of people and will not approach 30% until 2100.

Year🇮🇳 India🇵🇰 Pakistan🇳🇬 Nigeria
1970551M58M55M
1980689M79M72M
1990861M114M94M
20001,050M152M121M
20101,232M192M159M
20201,390M225M206M
2030E1,509M272M260M
2040E1,608M320M318M
2050E1,668M366M375M
2060E1,695M406M427M
2070E1,691M439M472M
2075E1,678M452M491M

Note: Figures are rounded.

Finally, whether these predictions come true or not will depend on how quickly birth rates fall as the country develops. For example, India’s fertility rate fell from 6.2 in 1950, to 2.0 in 2021 (births per woman).

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