A Fascinating Chart of the World’s Population by Longitude and Latitude

The World
How It Works
Sept. 12 2013 3:16 PM

Map: Where the People Are


Via Radical Cartography/Creative Commons

The historian and cartography Bill Rankin, who maintains the blog Radical Cartography, created the fascinating histograms above, which show the world’s population distributed by longitude and latitude. (Apparently, it's been kicking around the Internets for a while, but was new to me.)

A couple of striking things: First, and most obvious, there are an awful lot of people in India and China. Second, the map shows that the majority of the world’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere–where most of the land is—and the temperate climate zone. I would be interesting to check back in a century to see if the bump had moved due to climate change.


On the longitude map, what stands out the most is the third largest spike, located around 30° east. This isn’t the most obvious population belt, but the cities of St. Petersburg, Kiev, Odessa, Ankara, Cairo, Khartoum, Juba, Kampala, Kigali, Lusaka, Harare, Pretoria, and Durban are all within about two or three degrees of 30° east. That’s a crowded meridian!

Part of the Nile, along which most of the people in heavily-populated Egypt live, flows roughly along this line, but other than that, your guess about what this means is as good as mine. 

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.