Sure, you know that China is home to a billion people — 1.4 billion people, to be exact. And maybe you know that India is just behind with 1.3 billion (and will very soon pass China).
But did you know that Bangladesh — smaller than Illinois, not to mention half of the states in the U.S. — contains 162 million people, more than half of the United States’ 323 million? Or that Indonesia — just a little bigger than Texas — houses 259 million?
The pattern continues throughout southeast Asia, a region about which your average American doesn’t tend to know much. And even if he or she did know these countries’ massive populations and comparatively tiny physical size, they’d have no way to truly relate to that reality. The amount of people per square mile in the U.S.? 85. Bangladesh? 2,497.
Over the last 50 years, while the U.S. population growth rate has gone from stagnating to declining, many parts of the world that are hardly even on the average American’s radar have seen a population boom — as the population density map above reveals. And southeast Asia isn’t even the leader in that department. That’s all Africa, by a long shot.
As last year’s U.N. population projections demonstrated, the world will indeed look drastically different by 2100. But the thing is, it already is drastically different, at least when compared to our already-held understandings about the world. It’s just hard to visualize it.
Enjoy this population density map? Check out this map that reveals population densities across the entire world, and take a look at this animated map that presents world population growth in GIF form. Then, see a photographic representation of just how much things have changed in the world’s most densely populated city.