India’s Population, A Complex Story
Everyone knows that the population of India and China is over 1 billion people each but after living in India for some time I realized that this number is a bit deceiving. Yes, there are 1 billion people living in India but quite a bit of it seems sparsely populated as you drive through. That may be shocking but the truth is that even with 1 billion people India still has a lot of open land. If you know a bit about India you might respond by saying that most of that open land is inhospitable because it is so dry and hot. But the same could be said of most of Arizona and that hasn’t stopped Americans from living there.
Many countries that have much less population than India have large areas of land that are mountainous. Mountainous land is truly difficult to live in by any great number of people. Most of it is extremely cold and especially so if it is an extreme longitude north or south. Alaska and Canada are great examples of this but so is China: china’s population density is much lower because a lot its territory is high mountains. India, however, doesn’t have a lot of this type of land.
The reason I bring all this up is to say that the more I look closely at world population numbers the more complex the issue becomes. There is a lot more to the whole issue than the standard “India has 1 billion people and China has even more!”
In order to show one other angle on this issue I have compiled the list below. It is simply a list of areas of the world and their density of population; that is, the number of people living per square mile (one square mile equals about 2 1/2 square kilometers). The more I did the math, dividing the actual area by population, the more interesting this list became. I organized the list from the most densely populated to the lowest and topped the list with cities in order to give a perspective.
I think you might find this interesting as well. For one thing it tells me that India is not really much more densely populated than many other countries (including many European ones) and even at 1 billion people India could grow quite a bit more without approaching the density of Bangladesh or Taiwan.
Manhattan, 80k per square mile
Mexico city, 42k per sq ml
Singapore, 20k per sq ml
Bangladesh, 3k per sq ml
Kerala (a state within India where I have been living), 2.1k per sq ml, 15k sq miles, 35 million people
Taiwan, 2k per sq ml
Netherlands, 1k per sq ml
India, 950 people per sq ml
Japan, 900 people per sq ml, Sri lanka also 900
UK, 650 people per sq ml
Germany, 600 people per sq ml
Pakistan, 550 people per sq ml
Italy, 525 people per sq ml
Switzerland, 500 people per sq ml
France, 375 people per sq ml
China, 350 people per sq ml
Indonesia, 330 people per sq ml
Iraq, 225 people per sq ml
Mexico, 150 people per sq ml
USA, 100 people per sq ml
Brazil, 80 people per sq ml
Russia, 20 people per sq ml
Canada, 9 people per sq ml
Australia, 8 people per sq ml