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The Yuxi Circle: The World’s Most Densely Populated Area

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The Yuxi Circle The World’s Most Densely Populated Area

The Yuxi Circle: The World’s Most Densely Populated Area

If you wanted to capture over 55% of the global population inside a circle with a 4,000km radius, which city would you place at its epicenter?

In 2013, a post appeared on Reddit marking a circular area of the globe with “more people living inside this circle than outside of it.” The circle had a radius of 4,000 km (just under 2,500 miles) and was named the Valeriepieris circle after author Ken Myers’ username.

Acknowledging that the Valeriepieris circle is not actually a circle (it was drawn on a two-dimensional map rather than a globe) and is based on data that has become outdated, mapmaker Alasdair Rae went digging and discovered what he calls The Yuxi Circle, the world’s most densely populated area.

Introducing the Yuxi Circle

Rae traced circles around 1,500 cities worldwide to find out how many people lived within a 4,000 km radius, just like the original Valeriepieris circle. He based his calculations on WorldPop data from 2020, based on a global population of 7.8 billion people.

Of the 1,500 circles that Rae made calculations for, 148 contained populations of 4 billion or more. He found many examples in Asia including in China, Myanmar (Mandalay), Laos (Vientiane), Bangladesh (Chattogram), India (Agartala), Bhutan (Thimpu), and Vietnam (Hanoi) to name a few.

But of them all, Yuxi, a city in the Yunnan province of China, has the largest population living within a 4,000 km radius: 4.32 billion.

Put another way? The circle encompasses over 55% of the world’s population, despite including desolate areas like the Taklamakan Desert, the Tibetan Plateau, Mongolia, and Southern Siberia.

Densely Populated Areas Around the Globe

Rae’s search for densely populated clusters also turned up notable circles beyond Asia. They surrounded cities like Cairo, Paris, and Mexico City.

Note: Keep in mind that the white lines on the flat maps are equidistant circles but will only look like circles when plotted on a globe.

The World’s Most Densely Populated Areas - Hanoi

Circling Hanoi yields a population of 4.27 billion (54% of the global population). It was the runner up city circle in Rae’s original search.

Populated Area Circles - Cairo

Circling Cairo yields a population of 2.29 billion. This circle reaches most of Europe while still containing populated areas of India, Pakistan, and Africa.

Populated Area Circles - Paris

Comparatively, circling Paris yields a population of 1.19 billion. This Euro-centric circle contains large tracts of water and scarcely populated islands such as Iceland and Greenland.

Populated Area Circles - Mexico City

Across the Atlantic, circling Mexico City yields a population of 0.73 billion. It’s significantly smaller than the other circles, as the total population in the Americas is concentrated in just three countries, the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil (not included in this circle).

It’s worth noting that the Valeriepieris circle also inspired other people to look at population density in different ways. In 2015, Danny Quah of the London School of Economics looked more closely at the Valeriepieris circle and was inspired to find the smallest circle with more people living inside of it than outside. He determined that a circle with a radius of 3,300 km centered near Mong Khet, Myanmar was “the world’s tightest cluster of people.”

While the Yuxi Circle contains the largest population using Rae’s approach as of early 2022, global populations are constantly changing. Who knows where the next Yuxi Circle will be?

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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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Maps

Mapped: 15 Countries with the Highest Smoking Rates

Since the 1950s, many countries have tried to discourage tobacco use and bring down smoking rates. Here’s where they haven’t worked.

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A cropped map with the 15 countries with the highest smoking rates in the world.

Mapped: 15 Countries with the Highest Smoking Rates

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.

It was not until 1950 when the link between smoking and lung cancer was proven, though physicians as far back as the late 19th century had identified it as a potential cause.

Since then, many countries have discouraged tobacco products in an attempt to reduce smoking rates, and consequent health effects.

We visualize the countries with the highest rates of tobacco use among their population aged 15 and older. Data is sourced from the World Health Organization, and is current up to 2022.

Which Countries Smoke the Most?

In Nauru, nearly half of the population aged 15+ uses a tobacco product, the highest in the world. The island also has a high obesity rate, and nearly one-third of the population suffers from diabetes, due to poor nutritional variety in the food supply.

Here’s a list of smoking rates by country, ranked from highest to lowest.

RankCountryTobacco use in
those aged 15+
1🇳🇷 Nauru48%
2🇲🇲 Myanmar44%
3🇰🇮 Kiribati40%
4🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea40%
5🇧🇬 Bulgaria40%
6🇷🇸 Serbia40%
7🇹🇱 Timor-Leste39%
8🇮🇩 Indonesia38%
9🇭🇷 Croatia37%
10🇸🇧 Solomon Islands37%
11🇦🇩 Andorra36%
12🇧🇦 Bosnia &
Herzegovina
36%
13🇨🇾 Cyprus36%
14🇯🇴 Jordan36%
15🇫🇷 France35%
N/A🌍 World23%

Note: Figures rounded. “Tobacco use” includes smoke and smokeless products.

Meanwhile, countries in the Balkan also see a high incidence of tobacco use, bucking the general European trend. Entrenched cultural norms, lax laws, and inexpensive cigarettes are some of the most commonly identified causes.

On the other hand, tobacco use is a lot lower in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa.

In the U.S., fewer than one in four adults smoke. Canada is even lower at 12% of the population. But some African countries (Nigeria and Ghana) are all the way down in the single-digits, at 3%.

Interestingly, men smoke more than women in nearly every country in the world.

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