50% of the global population live on 1% of the world’s land

Some argue that – if you don’t care about things like quality of life – you could fit the entire world’s human population into the state of Texas. Thankfully, nobody has seriously considered the proposition, but in terms of land used, we’re certainly not making the most of things. This wonderful map from Max Galka clearly demonstrates this: the yellow markers on the map represent 50% of the world’s population, crammed into just 1% of the landmass.

50% of the global population live on 1% of the world’s land

That’s 3.65 billion people taking up a tiny part of the world – the remaining 50% have taken the sensible decision to spread out into the other 99%.

The map is based on NASA’s gridded population data, which records the population of Earth in 14 square kilometre patches. Galka’s map uses a grid of 28 million cells of roughly 3 x 3 miles. “The yellow region in the map includes every cell with a population of 8,000 or more people. Since each of them has an area of about nine square miles, the population density of each yellow cell is at least 900 people per square mile, roughly the same population density as the state of Massachusetts,” explains Galka.asia_population

As you’d expect, the biggest cities provide the heaviest spread of yellow, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Just under 20 per cent of the world’s population is in China, so that gets a particularly dense colouring, along with India (around 18%) and Bangladesh (another 2%). Between Australia and China, Java is pretty hard to miss. It’s only 49,536 square miles, but contains a whopping 140 million people.

Japan is also worth a look. It’s actually pretty pale compared to the rest of the world, but Tokyo is a bright spot, as you’d expect for the world’s most densely populated city: 37 million people light up that metropolis on the map.

But let’s take a look closer to home…uk_population_desnsity

So, London, obviously, but that’s not the whole story. The belt that runs from Merseyside to the East Midlands is pretty densely populated too, as are parts of South Wales, the North East and the south coast. Much of Ireland, East Anglia, Scotland and Wales is more quiet, however.

The world’s population is predicted to reach 11 billion by 2100. The map shows there is space, but then the popular spots are that way for a reason, be it economic or practical. We have the space to spread out, but it’ll take some clever thinking to ensure we actually do.

READ NEXT: This map shows the most polluted places on Earth

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