This Map Shows the Most Extreme Comparison of Population Density We've Seen
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This Map Shows the Most Extreme Comparison of Population Density We’ve Seen

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You may have heard that the majority of the world’s population actually lives within a relatively small circle that covers China, India, Japan, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

That’s a pretty extreme example of population density – but here’s one that is even more impressive.

It’s quite simple actually: it compares parts of the most expansive regions (Canada, Russia, non-coastal USA, Greenland, Australia, and others) with a tiny chunk of land that holds close to 400 million people.

An Extreme Comparison of Population Density

The following image comes to us from Metrocosm, the website of data visualization expert Max Galka.

Bangladesh and three provinces in India, which are highlighted in red, take up just 160,000 sq. mi (415,000 sq. km) – that’s smaller than California. Together they hold more population than all of the blue territories on the map.

An Extreme Comparison of Population Density

That’s right, the blue area contains the entirety of many significant countries, such as Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia. The blue even includes parts of China, the United States, and most of Russia.

Getting More Extreme

Here’s the kicker – the disparity is only getting more intense. Take a look at the following map of the fastest growing cities, showing the rate of new citizens per hour:

Fastest Growing Cities

Dhaka, the largest city in Bangladesh, is one of the fastest growing cities in the world with a growth rate of 74 people per hour. Kolkata (India) is also up there, adding 32 citizens every hour.

Meanwhile, the cities within the blue area of the original map do not have the same kind of growth happening at all.

For the Numbers Geeks

Here are the original calculations, from Metrocosm, for the blue and red areas of the original map in case you are interested. It’s worth noting that the data was retrieved in 2015, so it is slightly out of date.

The “Blue” Regions

JurisdictionRegionPopulation
CanadaAll35,010,000
Saudi ArabiaAll28,123,000
AustraliaAll22,280,000
RussiaSiberian Federal District19,254,300
NigerAll18,124,000
KazakhstanAll16,137,000
MaliAll14,478,000
ZambiaAll14,440,000
RussiaNorthwestern Federal District13,583,800
ChadAll12,620,000
RussiaUral Federal District12,082,700
BoliviaAll10,610,000
SomaliaAll10,295,000
SwedenAll9,437,000
BrazilPará8,073,924
Papua New GuineaAll7,440,000
ParaguayAll6,844,000
RussiaFar Eastern Federal District6,291,900
Libyan Arab JamahiriyaAll5,918,217
ChinaQinghai5,626,722
TurkmenistanAll5,411,000
FinlandAll5,408,000
NorwayAll4,985,000
IrelandAll4,804,000
New ZealandAll4,436,000
Central African RepublicAll4,191,429
BrazilAmazonas3,873,743
MauritaniaAll3,623,000
Republic of the CongoAll3,609,851
UruguayAll3,412,000
BrazilMato Grosso3,224,357
LithuaniaAll3,173,000
OmanAll3,110,000
ChinaTibet3,002,166
United StatesUtah2,942,902
United StatesKansas2,904,021
MongoliaAll2,809,000
BrazilMato Grosso do Sul2,619,657
NamibiaAll2,352,000
LatviaAll2,210,000
BotswanaAll2,068,000
United StatesNebraska1,881,503
BrazilRondônia1,748,531
ArgentinaMendoza1,741,610
United StatesIdaho1,634,464
GabonAll1,597,000
BrazilTocantins1,496,880
EstoniaAll1,338,000
ArgentinaSalta1,215,207
ArgentinaChaco1,053,466
United StatesMontana1,023,579
ArgentinaCorrientes993,338
CyprusAll911,000
ArgentinaSantiago del Estero896,461
United StatesSouth Dakota853,175
FijiAll828,046
BrazilAcre790,101
GuyanaAll757,000
BrazilAmapá750,912
United StatesNorth Dakota739,482
United StatesAlaska736,732
ArgentinaSan Juan680,427
ArgentinaJujuy672,260
ArgentinaRío Negro633,374
GreeceCrete620,000
United StatesWyoming584,153
ArgentinaNeuquén550,334
SurinameAll540,000
ArgentinaFormosa527,895
Western SaharaAll507,160
ArgentinaChubut506,668
BrazilRoraima496,936
Solomon IslandsAll472,419
ArgentinaSan Luis431,588
ArgentinaCatamarca367,820
BahamasAll360,000
IcelandAll347,000
BelizeAll335,000
ArgentinaLa Rioja331,847
FranceCorsica322,000
ArgentinaLa Pampa316,940
ArgentinaSanta Cruz272,524
VanuatuAll267,000
New CaledoniaAll266,000
French GuianaAll250,377
GuamAll165,124
ChileMagallanes y la Antártica Chilena159,152
ArgentinaTierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur126,190
MicronesiaAll103,549
KiribatiAll102,351
ChileAysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo98,413
GreenlandAll57,475
Northern Mariana IslandsAll53,855
GalapagosAll25,000
PalauAll20,918
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)All3,000
SvalbardAll2,642
Norfolk IslandAll2,169
French Southern and Antarctic LandsAll0
South Georgia South Sandwich IslandsAll0

The “Red” Regions

JurisdictionRegionPopulation
BangladeshAll172,019,000
IndiaBihar99,000,000
IndiaWest Bengal90,320,000
IndiaJharkhand32,000,000

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Agriculture

Which Countries Produce the Most Wheat?

Global wheat production is concentrated in just a handful of countries. Here’s a look at the top wheat-producing countries worldwide.

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Visualizing Global Wheat Production by Country (2000-2020)

Wheat is a dietary staple for millions of people around the world.

After rice and corn (maize), wheat is the third most-produced cereal worldwide, and the second-most-produced for human consumption. And considering wheat’s importance in the global food system, any impact on major producers such as droughts, wars, or other events, can impact the entire world.

Which countries are the largest producers of wheat? This graphic by Kashish Rastogi visualizes the breakdown of 20 years of global wheat production by country.

Top 10 Wheat Producing Countries

While more than 80 different countries produce wheat around the world, the majority of global wheat production comes from just a handful of countries, according to data from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Here’s a look at the top 10 wheat-producing countries worldwide, based on total yield in tonnes from 2000-2020:

RankCountryContinentTotal yield (tonnes, 2000-2020)% of total (2000-2020)
#1🇨🇳 ChinaAsia & Oceania2.4 B17.0%
#2🇮🇳 IndiaAsia & Oceania1.8 B12.5%
#3🇷🇺 RussiaAsia & Oceania1.2 B 8.4%
#4🇺🇸 U.S.Americas1.2 B 8.4%
#5🇫🇷 FranceEurope767 M 5.4%
#6🇨🇦 CanadaAmericas571 M 4.0%
#7🇩🇪 GermanyEurope491 M3.5%
#8🇵🇰 PakistanAsia & Oceania482 M3.4%
#9🇦🇺 AustraliaAsia & Oceania456 M3.2%
#10🇺🇦 UkraineEurope433 M3.1%

China, the world’s largest wheat producer, has yielded more than 2.4 billion tonnes of wheat over the last two decades, making up roughly 17% of total production from 2000-2020.

A majority of China’s wheat is used domestically to help meet the country’s rising food demand. China is the world’s largest consumer of wheat—in 2020/2021, the country accounted for approximately 19% of global wheat consumption.

The second-largest wheat-producing country is India. Over the last two decades, India has produced 12.5% of the world’s wheat. Like China, India keeps most of its wheat domestic because of significant food demand across the country.

Russia, the world’s third-largest wheat producer, is also the largest global exporter of wheat. The country exported more than $7.3 billion worth of wheat in 2021, accounting for approximately 13.1% of total wheat exports that year.

Russia-Ukraine Impact on Global Wheat Market

Because Russia and Ukraine are both significant global wheat producers, the ongoing conflict between the two countries has caused massive disruptions to the global wheat market.

The conflict has had an impact on adjacent industries as well. For instance, Russia is one of the world’s major fertilizer suppliers, and the conflict has led to a global fertilizer shortage which could lead to food shortages worldwide.

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3 Reasons for the Fertilizer and Food Shortage

Bad weather, the war in Ukraine, and a shortage of fertilizer have led to fears of a global food crisis. Here are three factors you should know.

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3 Reasons for the Fertilizer and Food Shortage

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Bad weather, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a shortage of fertilizer have led to fears of a global food crisis.

This infographic will help you understand the problem by highlighting three key factors behind the mounting food crisis.

#1: The Fertilizer Shortage

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the war has disrupted shipments of fertilizer, an essential source of nutrients for crops.

Russia is the world’s top exporter of nitrogen fertilizer and ranks second in phosphorus and potassium fertilizer exports. Belarus, a Russian ally also contending with Western sanctions, is another major fertilizer producer. In addition, both countries collectively account for over 40% of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.

Here are the top 20 fertilizer exporters globally:

RankCountryExports Value (Billions in USD)
#1🇷🇺 Russia$12.5
#2🇨🇳 China $10.9
#3🇨🇦 Canada$6.6
#4🇲🇦 Morocco$5.7
#5🇺🇸 United States$4.1
#6🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia $3.6
#7🇳🇱 Netherlands$2.9
#8🇧🇪 Belgium$2.6
#9🇴🇲 Oman$2.6
#10🇶🇦 Qatar$2.2
#11🇩🇪 Germany$1.5
#12🇮🇱I srael$1.5
#13🇪🇬 Egypt$1.5
#14🇱🇹 Lithuania$1.4
#15🇩🇿 Algeria$1.4
#16🇪🇸 Spain$1.3
#17🇯🇴 Jordan$1.3
#18🇵🇱 Poland$1.2
#19🇲🇾 Malaysia$1.0
#20🇳🇬 Nigeria$1.0

The main destination of fertilizer exports from Russia are large economies like India, Brazil, China, and the United States.

However, many developing countries—including Mongolia, Honduras, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, and Guatemala—rely on Russia for at least one-fifth of their fertilizer imports.

Furthermore, the war intensified trends that were already disrupting supply, such as increased hoarding by major producing nations like China and sharp jumps in the price of natural gas, a key feedstock for fertilizer production.

#2: Global Grain Exports

The blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet, along with Western sanctions against Russia, has worsened global supply chain bottlenecks, causing inflation in food and energy prices around the world.

This is largely because Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly one-third of the global wheat supply. Wheat is one of the most-used crops in the world annually, used to make a variety of food products like bread and pasta. Additionally, Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil, and rapeseed oil.

ProducerGrain Exports in Million Tons (MT)
🇺🇸 United States93MT
🇷🇺 Russia & 🇺🇦 Ukraine87MT
🇦🇷 Argentina 56MT
🇪🇺 EU50MT
🇧🇷 Brazil44MT
Other87MT

As a result of the blockade, Ukraine’s exports of cereals and oilseed dropped from six million tonnes to two million tonnes per month. After two months of negotiations, the two countries signed a deal to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, raising hopes that the international food crisis can be eased.

#3: Recent Food Shortages

Besides the war in Ukraine, factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change resulted in nearly one billion people going hungry last year, according to United Nations.

France’s wine industry saw its smallest harvest since 1957 in 2021, with an estimated loss of $2 billion in sales due to increasingly higher temperatures and extreme weather conditions.

Heat, drought, and floods also decimated crops in Latin America, North America, and India in recent months. Between April 2020 and December 2021, coffee prices increased 70% after droughts and frost destroyed crops in Brazil.

In the face of multiple crises, the World Bank recently announced financial support of up to $30 billion to existing and new projects in areas such as agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.

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