Real Population Density

Boise Valley wheat field

Boise Valley, Idaho wheat field around 1920

In the United States, in these times of high unemployment, increasing deficits, and seemingly endless wars, it would be well to count our blessings. One such blessing is the bounteous land in which we live. The United States has more arable land than any other country. Even though the United States is the third most populous nation on Earth, her Real Population Density ranks as twelfth least dense of all nations.

As the world’s population increases and ever more demands are placed on the food supply, am I thankful to be living in the United States. Let me explain some of the terms associated with real population density and show you the favorable numbers for the U.S.A.

Arable Land

Agricultural area includes land suitable for crops and livestock. The standard classification, used by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, divides agricultural area into these components:

  • Arable Land — land under annual crops, such as cereals, potatoes, vegetables, and melons that are replanted after each harvest; also land left temporarily fallow.
  • Orchards and Vineyards — land under permanent crops such as citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest.
  • Meadows and Pastures — areas for natural grasses and grazing of livestock.

In 2008, the world’s total arable land amounted to 13,805,153 square kilometers, whereas 48,836,976 square kilometers was classified as agricultural land. In this post, we are focused on arable land. Of interest is this map of the world with arable land percentages showing the United States in the 15-19% range.

Real Population Density

Population density is the number of people per square kilometer. Real Population Density is the number of people per square kilometer of arable land. This enables us to see the capacity of a country to feed their own people.

Real Population Density is a much better measure than pure population density as it shows how a seemingly more densely populated country can carry a larger population because a much bigger portion of the land is suitable for agriculture.

For those of us used to thinking in acres, one square kilometer is equal to 247.1 acres.

Table of Countries by Real Population Density

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Rank  Country1 Real Density2 Population  Arable Land (km2)
1 Australia 48 22,268,000 468,503
2 Kazakhstan 72 16,026,000 221,059
3 Canada 82 34,017,000 415,573
4 Niger 107 15,512,000 144,784
5 Lithuania 114 3,324,000 29,216
6 Russia 117 142,958,000 1,218,599
7 Latvia 126 2,252,000 17,926
8 Ukraine 140 45,448,000 324,791
9 Argentina 147 40,412,000 274,490
10 Guyana 172 754,000 4,390
11 Belarus 173 9,595,000 55,575
12 United States 188 310,384,000 1,650,062
13 Moldova 196 3,573,000 18,194
14 Paraguay 218 6,455,000 29,678
15 Hungary 218 9,984,000 45,782
16 Bulgaria 226 7,494,000 33,099
17 Central African Republic 228 4,401,000 19,313
18 Turkmenistan 229 5,042,000 22,013
19 Mongolia 232 2,756,000 11,887
20 Romania 236 21,486,000 90,961
21 Denmark 249 5,550,000 22,295
22 Uruguay 250 3,369,000 13,490
23 Togo 251 6,028,000 24,038
24 Zambia 253 13,089,000 51,777
25 Estonia 258 1,341,000 5,207
26 Finland 269 5,365,000 19,913
27 Sudan 270 43,552,000 161,093
28 Namibia 279 2,283,000 8,172
29 New Zealand 294 4,368,000 14,848
30 Samoa 295 183,000 620
31 Serbia 299 9,856,000 32,990
32 Croatia 302 4,403,000 14,566
33 Poland 312 38,277,000 122,547
34 Turkey 317 72,752,000 229,764
35 Chad 318 11,227,000 35,258
36 Nicaragua 325 5,788,000 17,810
37 Bolivia 329 9,930,000 30,146
38 Brazil 333 194,946,000 586,036
39 Cameroon 333 19,599,000 58,868
40 Mali 335 15,370,000 45,872
41 Spain 339 46,077,000 135,776
42 South Africa 340 50,133,000 147,609
43 Benin 340 8,850,000 26,029
44 Burkina Faso 341 16,469,000 48,353
45 France 344 62,787,000 182,568
46 Czech Republic 350 10,493,000 29,999
47 Libya 351 6,355,000 18,123
48 Montenegro 363 631,000 1,740
49 Cuba 368 11,258,000 30,631
50 Bosnia and Herzegovina 375 3,760,000 10,026
51 Macedonia 377 2,061,000 5,471
52 Morocco 377 31,951,000 84,797
53 Slovakia 383 5,462,000 14,264
54 Sweden 385 9,380,000 24,368
55 Ireland 386 4,470,000 11,587
56 Cambodia 392 14,138,000 36,081
57 Zimbabwe 395 12,571,000 31,862
58 Tunisia 396 10,481,000 26,489
59 Afghanistan 400 31,412,000 78,542
60 Greece 425 11,359,000 26,749
61 Kyrgyzstan 426 5,334,000 12,530
62 Fiji 430 861,000 2,001
63 Syrian Arab Republic 447 20,411,000 45,644
64 Belize 448 312,000 696
65 Iran 462 73,974,000 160,001
66 Mexico 466 113,423,000 243,457
67 Algeria 470 35,468,000 75,501
68 Gabon 483 1,505,000 3,118
69 Myanmar 489 47,963,000 98,135
70 Thailand 490 69,122,000 140,941
71 Azerbaijan 518 9,188,000 17,754
72 Senegal 518 12,434,000 24,019
73 Nigeria 527 158,423,000 300,736
74 Botswana 527 2,007,000 3,805
75 Equatorial Guinea 539 700,000 1,299
76 Georgia 543 4,352,000 8,022
77 Mozambique 549 23,391,000 42,576
78 Iraq 559 31,672,000 56,700
79 Angola 578 19,082,000 33,038
80 Albania 582 3,204,000 5,507
81 Norway 587 4,883,000 8,312
82 Ghana 602 24,392,000 40,507
83 Côte d’Ivoire 607 19,738,000 32,531
84 Austria 614 8,394,000 13,677
85 Uzbekistan 614 27,445,000 44,710
86 Gambia 620 1,728,000 2,788
87 Panama 637 3,517,000 5,517
88 Armenia 649 3,092,000 4,766
89 Guinea-Bissau 651 1,515,000 2,327
90 Lesotho 658 2,171,000 3,300
91 Laos 670 6,201,000 9,255
92 Portugal 672 10,676,000 15,898
93 Bhutan 672 726,000 1,081
94 Swaziland 673 1,186,000 1,763
95 Madagascar 708 20,714,000 29,251
96 Germany 711 82,302,000 115,698
97 Honduras 713 7,601,000 10,663
98 Tonga 722 104,000 144
99 Tajikistan 739 6,879,000 9,304
100 Ethiopia 740 82,950,000 112,080
101 Malawi 766 14,901,000 19,456
102 Uganda 776 33,425,000 43,077
103 Italy 780 60,551,000 77,651
104 Peru 789 29,077,000 36,864
105 Republic of the Congo 816 4,043,000 4,952
106 Luxembourg 819 507,000 619
107 Saudi Arabia 838 27,448,000 32,742
108 India 844 1,224,614,000 1,451,809
109 Chile 872 17,114,000 19,619
110 Kenya 889 40,513,000 45,597
111 North Korea 903 24,346,000 26,972
112 Suriname 904 525,000 581
113 Eritrea 906 5,254,000 5,799
114 Somalia 907 9,331,000 10,288
115 Guinea 908 9,982,000 10,990
116 Pakistan 912 173,593,000 190,319
117 Dominican Republic 912 9,927,000 10,881
118 Timor-Leste 913 1,124,000 1,231
119 Ecuador 915 14,465,000 15,808
120 Burundi 919 8,383,000 9,124
121 Rwanda 935 10,624,000 11,366
122 Comoros 945 735,000 778
123 El Salvador 953 6,193,000 6,500
124 China 968 1,341,335,000 1,385,905
125 Guatemala 1,004 14,389,000 14,334
126 Dem Rep of Congo 1,017 65,966,000 64,853
127 Sierra Leone 1,031 5,868,000 5,694
128 Cape Verde 1,078 496,000 460
129 Cyprus 1,105 1,104,000 999
130 United Kingdom 1,105 62,036,000 56,121
131 Venezuela 1,153 28,980,000 25,138
132 Slovenia 1,181 2,030,000 1,719
133 Indonesia 1,191 239,871,000 201,456
134 Tanzania 1,196 44,841,000 37,479
135 Vanuatu 1,200 240,000 200
136 Liberia 1,209 3,994,000 3,304
137 Haiti 1,290 9,993,000 7,747
138 Belgium 1,290 10,712,000 8,302
139 Mauritius 1,306 1,299,000 995
140 Viet Nam 1,341 87,848,000 65,528
141 Nepal 1,363 29,959,000 21,984
142 Saint Vincent 1,557 109,000 70
143 Yemen 1,566 24,053,000 15,364
144 Malaysia 1,583 28,401,000 17,939
145 Jamaica 1,598 2,741,000 1,715
146 Philippines 1,646 93,261,000 56,652
147 Mauritania 1,679 3,460,000 2,061
148 Barbados 1,706 273,000 160
149 Trinidad and Tobago 1,788 1,341,000 750
150 Switzerland 1,945 7,664,000 3,941
151 Sao Tome and Principe 1,988 165,000 83
152 French Guiana 1,991 231,000 116
153 Bangladesh 2,005 148,692,000 74,173
154 Jordan 2,027 6,187,000 3,053
155 Costa Rica 2,090 4,659,000 2,229
156 Netherlands Antilles 2,094 201,000 96
157 Colombia 2,217 46,295,000 20,878
158 Netherlands 2,233 16,613,000 7,441
159 Guadeloupe 2,305 461,000 200
160 Sri Lanka 2,308 20,860,000 9,038
161 Israel 2,362 7,418,000 3,141
162 Réunion 2,424 846,000 349
163 Lebanon 2,527 4,228,000 1,673
164 Micronesia 2,775 111,000 40
165 Egypt 2,791 81,121,000 29,067
166 Japan 2,901 126,536,000 43,620
167 South Korea 2,960 48,184,000 16,280
168 Taiwan 2,979 23,061,689 7,742
169 Papua New Guinea 3,091 6,858,000 2,219
170 Solomon Islands 3,146 538,000 171
171 Brunei Darussalam 3,627 399,000 110
172 Palestinian Territory 3,821 4,039,000 1,057
173 Malta 4,212 417,000 99
174 Martinique 4,229 406,000 96
175 New Caledonia 4,254 251,000 59
176 Saint Lucia 4,462 174,000 39
177 Iceland 4,571 320,000 70
178 Grenada 5,200 104,000 20
179 Aruba 5,350 107,000 20
180 Virgin Islands 5,450 109,000 20
181 Bahamas 5,914 343,000 58
182 Maldives 7,900 316,000 40
183 Guam 9,000 180,000 20
184 Qatar 9,356 1,759,000 188
185 Western Sahara 10,019 531,000 53
186 French Polynesia 10,037 271,000 27
187 Oman 10,910 2,782,000 255
188 Puerto Rico 11,465 3,749,000 327
189 United Arab Emirates 11,774 7,512,000 638
190 Kuwait 18,247 2,737,000 150
191 Bahrain 66,421 1,262,000 19
192 Djibouti 98,778 889,000 9
193 Hong Kong 133,075 7,053,000 53
194 Singapore 508,600 5,086,000 10
195 Macao3 544,000 0

 

Notes

  1. Countries and territories of less than 100,000 in 2009 are not included.
  2. Real Density is population per square kilometer of arable land.
  3. Macao has no arable land, hence real population density is not calculated.

Sources

  • Population: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2011): World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision. New York, accessed July 4th, 2011.
  • Taiwan Population: Wikipedia, accessed July 4th, 2011. Taiwan is not recognized by the United Nations.
  • Arable Land: The World Factbook.
  • Photo Credit: Water Archives.

External Articles

This list is updated occasionally, with newer additions listed first.

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Comments

  1. This is why the 3rd world countries need be depopulated until their physiological density falls below 179 people per sq. km of arable land.

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