Environment

You'll Never Think About The World's Population In The Same Way Thanks To This Map

March 28, 2016 | by Tom Hale

Photo credit: Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock

There are currently 7.3 billion humans bumbling around and living their lives on Earth. That’s a crazy amount of people considering the world population was just half this 50 years ago.

But perhaps even more interestingly, the map below shows how half of all of these people live in a tiny portion, the yellow cells, which represent just 1 percent of the total land.

The map was created by data-fiend Max Galka from Metrocosm. Using NASA’s gridded population data, the projection transcends the geo-political borders conventionally used to measure population sizes. Instead, it’s comprised of 28 million cells, each of which measures approximately 5 by 5 kilometers (3 by 3 miles). Each yellow cell contains over 8,000 people, while the black cells have populations less than 8,000. However, it is worth noting that this data is from 2000, when the Earth’s population was just over 6 billion, as this was the latest data available for this level of resolution.

The sparsely populated blackness dominates the maps, leaving just blots of populations in cities and larger pockets in India, Bangladesh, the coast of China and Indonesia.

As Galka points out, the yellow portion in the United States coincidentally also shows where half of Americans live.

It’s also worth noting that this map doesn't necessarily show that overpopulation is a myth. Most of the “livable” areas are already occupied, without even considering the economic, political and cultural complexities that result as we increase the demand on our planet’s resources.

Make sure you head over to Metrocosm to check out more of Galka's insights, along with a larger resolution image of the map.

Image credit: Max Galka/Metrocosm

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