"Dencity" Visualizes Seven Billion People

Size and density are influential in determining the livability of a city. Photo by Magalie L'Abbé.

Earlier this year, we wrote about the symbolism of October 31 in marking the day the world population reached 7 billion people. A design firm based in Boston, Mass., Fathom Information Design, created “Dencity,” a map of global population density as the world reaches this important milestone. The map uses different size and color circles to represent the distribution of population and density around the world. Larger and darker circles show areas with fewer people. Smaller and brighter circles represent more crowded areas.

The map doesn’t tell us anything new, but instead, confirms the spatial distribution of population and density that we have known for quite some time. Eastern Asia has the densest and most populated geography in the world. “The largest city in the world is Shanghai, with over 23 million people as of 2010,” Fathom explains. “China is home to six of the twenty most populous cities in the world, more than any other country.”

India and Pakistan are right behind China in terms of density and population. “Delhi and Karachi are the second and third most populous cities in the world,” Fathom adds. “The two countries are almost uniformly dense until they hit geographic boundaries such as the Himalayas to the north, or political boundaries such as Afghanistan to the west.”

Larger, darker circles show areas with fewer people, while smaller, brighter circles highlight crowded cities. Design by Fathom.

Density is an important factor determining quality of life, as we saw from the livability ranking report the Economist Intelligence Unit published earlier this year. An important finding of the report was distinguishing the common ground between livable cities as their size and density. Read more about this report here.

Fathom’s “Dencity” maps are available for purchase on the company’s website. Click here to access.

The company has also used other interesting visualizations to display data, like population aging and the frequency of health concerns.  Click here to see the company’s data visualization portfolio.

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