The District Survey (my personal, unpublished database of the world’s countries, provinces, districts, and subdistricts) contains 3,554 provinces (second-order political units), amounting to 6.8 billion people as of their 2010-ish censuses (some 2011 or 2012, etc).
Dividing each of these populations by the total area (in square kilometers) of the province gives us the density of the population. Generally, the more dense the province, the more urban the province; very often, extremely urbanized cities are, themselves, considered provinces. An example is the number one densest province in the database: Buenos Aires City.
We’ve all seen the maps: “half the world’s population is found within this circle.” Today’s post is related to that idea.
The 14 most densely populated provinces–each with over 10,000 per square kilometer–account for 90.5 million people, packing into about 5,300 square kilometers (at an average density of 17,111/sq km per province). This amounts to 1% of the world’s population. The provinces are, in order of density (greatest to least):

  • Buenos Aires City, Argentina
  • Al Qahirah, Egypt (Cairo)
  • Rif Dimashq, Syria (Damascus)
  • Beirut, Lebanon
  • Metro Manila, Philippines
  • Macao, China
  • Seoul, Korea
  • Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
  • Moscow, Russia
  • N’djamena, Chad
  • Algiers, Algeria
  • Delhi, India
  • Bangui, Central African Republic
  • National District, Dominican Republic

Provinces with over 1,000 people per square kilometer. There are 245 provinces (including those with 10,000 people per), with 866.6 million people, or 13% of the world’s population.
Provinces with over 500 people per square kilometer. There are 439 provinces (including those with 1,000 people per), with nearly 2.1 billion people or 30% of the world’s population.
Provinces with over 100 people per square kilometer: 1,513 provinces, with 4.9 billion people in 15.7 million acres, or 72% of the world’s population.
Finally, there are 2,041 provinces with densities of under 100 per square kilometer. They contain 1.8 billion people in 124 million acres, with an average density of 15 people per square kilometer.
How big is a square kilometer? It’s approximately equal to 0.3861 square miles; but if that doesn’t help, see this Wikipedia article for some examples of places.
The list of provinces with total populations, area, and density can be found in an Excel sheet in the Patron Dropbox Folder for Patrons, along with all our other published resources. You can become a patron with a gift of $100 a year.