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Countries by Population Density | Countries by Density 2023

What are the most densely populated countries in the world? Perhaps surprisingly, the most populous countries in the world, China and India, are far from the most densely populated.

The fact is, China and India are simply too large to have the highest population density. In the same way that a stadium holds far more people in total but a bus is easier to fill to capacity, several tiny countries and territories fit far more people into each square kilometer than even the most populous large countries.

For example, the most densely populated country in the world in 2020 was the diminutive European city-state of Monaco. Located near the French Riviera on the northern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco has a population of fewer than 40,000 people compared to China's 1.4 billion—but squeezes them into a mere two km² of land area (compared to China's 9.7 million km²).

Top 10 most densely populated countries in the world, 2020:

  1. Monaco - 19,361/km²
  2. Singapore - 8,019/km²
  3. Bahrain - 2,182/km²
  4. Maldives - 1,802/km²
  5. Malta - 1,642/km²
  6. Bangladesh - 1,265/km²
  7. Vatican City - 924/km² (2019 figure)
  8. Barbados - 668/km²
  9. Lebanon - 667/km²
  10. Mauritius - 624/km²

If one expands the list to overlook political technicalities and include territories that are currently claimed by larger nations, such as Hong Kong and Macau—the "Special Administrative Regions" of China—the numbers become even more impactful.

Top 10 most densely populated countries and territories in the world, 2020:

  1. Macau (SAR of China)- 19,737/km²
  2. Monaco - 19,361/km²
  3. Singapore - 8,019/km²
  4. Hong Kong (SAR of China) - 7,126/km²
  5. Gibraltar (CD of UK) - 3,369/km²
  6. Bahrain - 2,182/km²
  7. Maldives - 1,802/km²
  8. Malta - 1,642/km²
  9. Bangladesh - 1,265/km²
  10. Sint Maarten (Netherlands) - 1,200/km²

On the expanded list, the Chinese territory of Macau has the world's highest population density at 19,737/km². In fact, three of the top five entries are territories rather than countries, with first-place Macau joined by fellow Chinese territory Hong Kong in 4th place and the UK "crown dependency" Gibraltar in 5th.

It is notable that all of these locations are tiny. The whole top five together have a total area of less than 2,000 km². Moreover, most are also highly urbanized centers of wealth and finance, with a tendency toward cities and skyscrapers rather than rolling fields or vast wilderness areas.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of the largest countries in the world by land area have quite low population densities. For example, Russia has a population density of just 9/km², while Canada is even lower at 4/km². The United States of America has a population density of 36/km², which is quite low considering the U.S. is also the country with the third-highest population in the world. For comparison, the two countries with the highest populations—China and India—have population densities of 146/km² and 412/km², respectively.

Density calculation based on land area, not total area.

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What is the most densely populated country in the world?

Monaco is the most densely populated country in the world.

What is the least densely populated country in the world?

Greenland is the least densely populated country in the world.

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