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Visualizing 200 Years of U.S. Population Density

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Visualizing 200 Years of U.S. Population Density

Visualizing 200 Years of U.S. Population Density

At the moment, there are around 326 million people living in the United States, a country that’s 3.5 million square miles (9.8 million sq km) in land area.

But throughout the nation’s history, neither of these numbers have stayed constant.

Not only did the population boom as a result of births and immigrants, but the borders of the country kept changing as well – especially in the country’s early years as settlers moved westwards.

U.S. Population Density Over Time

From a big picture perspective, here is how population density has changed for the country as a whole over the last 200 years or so:

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But today’s animated map, which comes to us from Vivid Maps, takes things a step further.

It plots U.S. population density numbers over the time period of 1790-2010 based on U.S. Census data and Jonathan Schroeder’s county-level decadal estimates for population. In essence, it gives a more precise view of who moved where and when over the course of the nation’s history.

Note: While U.S. Census data is granular and dates back to 1790, it comes with certain limitations. One obvious drawback, for example, is that such data is not able to properly account for Native American populations.

“Go West, Young Man”

As you might notice in the animation, there is one anomaly that appears in the late-1800s: the area around modern-day Oklahoma is colored in, but the state itself is an “empty gap” on the map.

The reason for this? The area was originally designated as Indian Territory – land reserved for the forced re-settlement of Native Americans. However, in 1889, the land was opened up to a massive land rush, and approximately 50,000 pioneers lined up to grab a piece of the two million acres (8,000 km²) opened for settlement.

While settlers flocking to Oklahoma is one specific event that ties into this animation, really the map shows the history of a much broader land rush in general: Manifest Destiny.

You can see pioneers landing in Louisiana in the early 1800s, the first settlements in California and Oregon, and the gradual filling up of the states in the middle of the country.

By the mid-20th century, the distribution of the population starts to resemble that of modern America.

Population Density Today

The average population density in the U.S. is now 92 people per square mile, although this changes dramatically based on where you are located:

If you are in Alaska, the state with the lowest population density, there is just one person per square mile – but if you’re in New York City there are 27,000 people per square mile, the highest of any major city in the country.

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Energy

Charted: The World’s Biggest Oil Producers

Just three countries—the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia—make up the lion’s share of global oil supply. Here are the biggest oil producers in 2022.

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A cropped chart with the per day production by the biggest oil producers in 2022.

Charted: The World’s Biggest Oil Producers in 2022

In 2022 oil prices peaked at more than $100 per barrel, hitting an eight-year high, after a full year of turmoil in the energy markets in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Oil companies doubled their profits and the economies of the biggest oil producers in the world got a major boost.

But which countries are responsible for most of the world’s oil supply? Using data from the Statistical Review of World Energy by the Energy Institute, we’ve visualized and ranked the world’s biggest oil producers.

Ranked: Oil Production By Country, in 2022

The U.S. has been the world’s biggest oil producer since 2018 and continued its dominance in 2022 by producing close to 18 million barrels per day (B/D). This accounted for nearly one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.

Almost three-fourths of the country’s oil production is centered around five states: Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Alaska, and Colorado.

We rank the other major oil producers in the world below.

RankCountry2022 Production
(Thousand B/D)
YoY ChangeShare of
World Supply
1🇺🇸 U.S.17,770+6.5%18.9%
2🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia12,136+10.8%12.9%
3🇷🇺 Russia11,202+1.8%11.9%
4🇨🇦 Canada5,576+3.0%5.9%
5🇮🇶 Iraq4,520+10.2%4.8%
6🇨🇳 China4,111+2.9%4.4%
7🇦🇪 UAE4,020+10.4%4.3%
8🇮🇷 Iran3,822+4.6%4.1%
9🇧🇷 Brazil3,107+3.9%3.3%
10🇰🇼 Kuwait3,028+12.0%3.2%
11🇲🇽 Mexico1,944+0.9%2.1%
12🇳🇴 Norway1,901-6.3%2.0%
13🇰🇿 Kazakhstan1,769-2.0%1.9%
14🇶🇦 Qatar1,768+1.8%1.9%
15🇩🇿 Algeria1,474+8.9%1.6%
16🇳🇬 Nigeria1,450-11.2%1.5%
17🇦🇴 Angola1,190+1.1%1.3%
18🇱🇾 Libya1,088-14.3%1.2%
19🇴🇲 Oman1,064+9.6%1.1%
20🇬🇧 UK778-11.0%0.8%
21🇨🇴 Colombia754+2.4%0.8%
22🇮🇳 India737-3.8%0.8%
23🇻🇪 Venezuela731+8.1%0.8%
24🇦🇷 Argentina706+12.4%0.8%
25🇦🇿 Azerbaijan685-5.6%0.7%
26🇮🇩 Indonesia644-6.9%0.7%
27🇪🇬 Egypt613+0.8%0.7%
28🇲🇾 Malaysia567-1.7%0.6%
29🇪🇨 Ecuador481+1.7%0.5%
30🇦🇺 Australia420-5.2%0.4%
31🇹🇭 Thailand331-17.5%0.4%
32🇨🇩 Congo269-1.7%0.3%
33🇹🇲 Turkmenistan244+1.0%0.3%
34🇻🇳 Vietnam194-1.2%0.2%
35🇬🇦 Gabon191+5.4%0.2%
36🇸🇸 South Sudan141-7.6%0.2%
37🇵🇪 Peru128+0.5%0.1%
38🇹🇩 Chad124+6.2%0.1%
39🇬🇶 Equatorial
Guinea
119-9.2%0.1%
40🇸🇾 Syria93-2.7%0.1%
41🇮🇹 Italy92-7.9%0.1%
42🇧🇳 Brunei92-13.8%0.1%
43🇾🇪 Yemen81-2.4%0.1%
44🇹🇹 Trinidad
& Tobago
74-3.6%0.1%
45🇷🇴 Romania65-6.2%0.1%
46🇩🇰 Denmark65-1.6%0.1%
47🇺🇿 Uzbekistan63-0.9%0.1%
48🇸🇩 Sudan62-3.3%0.1%
49🇹🇳 Tunisia40-12.9%0.0%
50Other CIS43+4.4%0.0%
51Other Middle East210+1.2%0.2%
52Other Africa283-3.4%0.3%
53Other Europe230-20.5%0.2%
54Other Asia Pacific177-10.6%0.2%
55Other S. &
Cent. America
381+68.5%0.4%
Total World93,848+4.2%100.0%

Behind America’s considerable lead in oil production, Saudi Arabia (ranked 2nd) produced 12 million B/D, accounting for about 13% of global supply.

Russia came in third with 11 million B/D in 2022. Together, these top three oil producing behemoths, along with Canada (4th) and Iraq (5th), make up more than half of the entire world’s oil supply.

Meanwhile, the top 10 oil producers, including those ranked 6th to 10th—China, UAE, Iran, Brazil, and Kuwait—are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s oil production.

Notably, all top 10 oil giants increased their production between 2021–2022, and as a result, global output rose 4.2% year-on-year.

Major Oil Producing Regions in 2022

The Middle East accounts for one-third of global oil production and North America makes up almost another one-third of production. The Commonwealth of Independent States—an organization of post-Soviet Union countries—is another major regional producer of oil, with a 15% share of world production.

Region2022 Production
(Thousand B/D)
YoY ChangeShare of
World Supply
Middle East30,743+9.2%32.8%
North America25,290+5.3%27.0%
CIS14,006+0.9%14.9%
Africa7,043-3.5%7.5%
Asia Pacific7,273-1.4%7.8%
South & Central
America
6,3617.2%6.8%
Europe3,131-8.6%3.3%

What’s starkly apparent in the data however is Europe’s declining share of oil production, now at 3% of the world’s supply. In the last 20 years the EU’s oil output has dropped by more than 50% due to a variety of factors, including stricter environmental regulations and a shift to natural gas.

Another lens to look at regional production is through OPEC members, which control about 35% of the world’s oil output and about 70% of the world’s oil reserves.

A pictogram of the regional per day production by the biggest oil producers in 2022.

When taking into account the group of 10 oil exporting countries OPEC has relationships with, known as OPEC+, the share of oil production increases to more than half of the world’s supply.

Oil’s Big Balancing Act

Since it’s the very lifeblood of the modern economy, the countries that control significant amounts of oil production also reap immense political and economic benefits. Entire regions have been catapulted into prosperity and wars have been fought over the control of the resource.

At the same time, the ongoing effort to pivot to renewable energy is pushing many major oil exporters to diversify their economies. A notable example is Saudi Arabia, whose sovereign wealth fund has invested in companies like Uber and WeWork.

However, the world still needs oil, as it supplies nearly one-third of global energy demand.

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