Which countries are most densely populated?

To understand people’s geographical distribution, we need to look at population density. How does this vary across the world?

Geographical maps often shape our understanding of the world, but they tell us nothing about where people live. To understand this, we need to look at population density.

Population density measures how densely populated an area is. It is calculated by dividing the total population by the area's total land area.

The map shows the number of people per square kilometer (km2) across countries.

Click to open interactive version

Globally, the average population density is 62 people per km² in 2024, but there are very large differences across countries.

Many of the world’s small islands or isolated states have large populations for their size. The five most densely populated are Macao, Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Gibraltar. Singapore has 8,430 people per km², more than 200 times as dense as the United States and 2,000 times as dense as Australia.

Of the larger countries1, Bangladesh is the most densely populated, with 1,342 people per km². This is almost three times as dense as its neighbor, India. It’s followed by Rwanda (584), South Korea (530), Burundi (529), and the Netherlands (525).

If you hover your mouse over the brackets from 0 to 10 on the legend, you can see the world's least densely populated countries. Greenland is the least dense, with around 0.1 people per km², followed by Mongolia, Namibia, Australia, and Iceland.

Another useful tool for understanding how people are distributed worldwide is the population cartogram, a geographical presentation of the world in which the size of the countries is not drawn according to the distribution of land but according to the distribution of people.

In another article, we show how the world looks in this way. When we see a standard map, we focus on the largest countries by area. But these are not always where the greatest number of people live. We need this context to understand how the lives of people around the world are changing.


  1. Here, we use an arbitrary cut-off of 10,000 square kilometers to define a "large" country.

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Hannah Ritchie and Edouard Mathieu (2019) - “Which countries are most densely populated?” Published online at Retrieved from: '' [Online Resource]

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    author = {Hannah Ritchie and Edouard Mathieu},
    title = {Which countries are most densely populated?},
    journal = {Our World in Data},
    year = {2019},
    note = {}
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