If the world’s population were evenly distributed across the globe, each of Earth’s 7.4 billion human beings would have approximately 150 square miles to him- or herself. But humans have lived in cities for more than 10,000 years, and many aspects of modern life depend on high-density development. By 2050, 66% of the world’s population will live in an urban area, an increase from 54% today.
In many of the densest countries in the world, 100% of the population lives in an urban area. Small countries such as Macao, Monaco, and Gibraltar have experienced massive population growth over the past several decades, yet the total land area of the three nations is smaller than the island of Manhattan. As a result, these countries’ populations have had to concentrate in high-density cities. Meanwhile, countries such as Namibia, Mongolia, and Greenland are covered in wide swathes of uninhabitable land, and as a result have the smallest ratios of people-to-land area in the world.
To determine the most and least crowded countries in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the population density of 215 countries with data from the World Bank. Population density is defined as the number of people per square mile of land area within a country. There are 25 countries with a population density of at least 1,100 people per square mile, and 25 countries with fewer than 42 people per square mile.