Mapping Population density with Prospex

Filed in: General News

January 3, 2014

We used used our software to map population density and see whether England the most overcrowded major country in EU.

We wanted to check how overcrowded the UK is compared to other countries in the world and also  help people (and their estate agents) who want to find less populated places in the UK.

Looking first for these less populated places, we drew a quick map of population density by UK Government Office Region (GOR) using our flagship GIS mapping software, Prospex.

UK population density by Government Office Region

UK population density by Government Office Region

When viewed at the GOR level, the Greater London Region has a density more than ten times the other regions. If you are looking for solitude but with a reasonable train service to London then ring up some estate agents in Norwich or Aberystwyth. If you like sleeper trains ring up estate agents in Truro or Inverness. All these places are in easy reach of areas of very low population.

International Comparisons

In order to examine the international comparisons of population density we downloaded area data on the largest 250 countries from the CIA World Factbook. We also downloaded the population for these countries. For 13 smaller countries we could not find population data but the only one of these missing countries we had heard of was South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. Tables of area, population and population density are given in the Appendix.

In terms of density the UK was ranked 48th at 260 people per square kilometre (2.6 people per hectare). Many of the most dense countries are small: Macau at 20,822 people per square kilometre was the most dense. Of the larger countries the UK came behind Bangladesh (1,137), the Netherlands(405), Belgium (342) and Japan (337).

The population density of England is just over 4 people per hectare and as the first maps showed, it is the London Region that is by far the most dense. A closer look by mapping population densities by local authority wards gives a richer picture. Boundary files for wards and other administrative boundaries are available through our data product AdminView, which forms part of the datasets embedded in Prospex. (Click the map for a larger image.)


Population density by Local Authority Wards


Even in the South East there are many areas with a density of less than one person per hectare.
Looking closer still at the centre of London we see an interesting dip in residential density in the City of London: Many people work in the City but not many actually live there. The pie-charts in the following map show the density of each ward. A full pie-chart is shown when the density is 100 people per hectare or more: That is more than twenty times the average density of England.


Population density in Central London


Find out more

For more information about our flagship mapping and analysis software, Prospex, please call us on 01904 701020 or complete our enquiry form.



Areas, Population and population density for selected countries.

The top ten countries by area (sq km) with the UK’s European neighbours are:

Rank Country Area (Sq Km)
1 Russia 17098242
2 Canada 9984670
3 United States 9826675
4 China 9596961
5 Brazil 8514877
6 Australia 7741220
7 India 3287263
8 Argentina 2780400
9 Kazakhstan 2724900
10 Algeria 2381741
43 France 643801
63 Germany 357022
80 UK 243610
120 Ireland 70273
135 Netherlands 41543
141 Belgium 30528
225 Jersey 116
250 Monaco 2


The top ten countries by population with the UK’s European neighbours:

Rank Country Population
1 China 1349585838
2 India 1220800359
3 United States 316668567
4 Indonesia 251160124
5 Brazil 201009622
6 Pakistan 193238868
7 Nigeria 174507539
8 Bangladesh 163654860
9 Russia 142500482
10 Japan 127253075
16 Germany 81147265
21 France 65951611
22 UK 63395574
64 Netherlands 16805037
83 Belgium 10444268
119 Ireland 4775982
196 Jersey 95732
217 Monaco 30500


The top ten countries by population density plus some others:

Rank Country Density (People/Sq Km)
1 Macau 20822
2 Monaco 15250
3 Singapore 7834
4 Hong Kong 6506
5 Gaza Strip 4898
6 Gibraltar 4159
7 Bahrain 1686
8 Maldives 1322
9 Malta 1302
10 Bermuda 1286
12 Bangladesh 1137
14 Jersey 825
26 Netherlands 405
34 Belgium 342
35 Japan 337
48 UK 260
52 Germany 227
77 China 141
102 France 102
134 Ireland 68
176 United States 32


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