World Population Density 2011
Rank Country Population Area Density
Million km2 Pop/ km2
22 UK 62.7 244,100 254
23 Italy 61.0 301,000 202
21 France 65.3 551,000 119
60 Netherlands 16.9 41,500 406
95 Switzerland 7.6 41,200 185
From CIA Factbook 2011
How often do you hear people complaining that France can take many more
immigrants as they have much more room, their population is half ours. It is not,
France is just twice as large.
UK Population Density 2010
62,261,967 people live in the UK
244,146.6 sq km area of the UK
Population Density = 255 pop/km2
Data from Office of National Statistics
UK Population density is the total number of people residing in the UK on a
particular date divided by the land area.
The most accurate population count in the UK is the Census which takes place
every 10 years; the next in 2011. Government is proposing to scrap the Census
Yearly figures are produced from best estimates mid point through the year, so
after the 2011 census all figures will be a best guess. Surely the purpose of the
census is to verify the past 10 year’s estimates
Netherlands is the same size as Switzerland but has twice the population density.
This is because the Netherlands is flat and Switzerland is one big mountain.
The UK’s population figure has little value as it does not take into account how
much land is actually available to live on.
Land Usage Surveys break down land usage into categories so it should be
possible to quantify how much land is used to house people together with their
gardens. The resulting land area would not include lands which would be
impractical to live on such as mountains, rivers, defense, roads, offices, factories,
farmland, woodlands, heaths, marshes etc.
UK Population Density 2010
No sources for the UK and Regions give the Urban Land Usage directly; the %
data below comes from the Countryside Survey 2007, it is for “Built-up and
Gardens” and “Unsurveyed urban land”
Population Land Area Urban Usage Population
2010 (1) Sq km (2) % Sq km Density
UK 62,261,967 244,146 12.1 (4) 29,542 2108
England 52,234,045 130,432 16.5 (5) 21,521 2427
Scotland 5,222,100 78,807 6.3 (3) 4,965 1052
Wales 3,006,430 20,778 6.9 (6) 1,434 2097
N Ireland 1,799,392 14,130 10.5 (7) 1,484 1216
1. Population Mid 2010 from
2. UK Land Area 2011 from
3. Data for Scotland, 80% live on 5% of land www.snh.org.uk (6.3 = 5/0.8)
4. UK Urban usage is calculated from the 4 regions.
5. England. Built-up Urban & Gardens + Unsurveyed Urban land.
6. Wales. Built-up Urban & Gardens + Unsurveyed Urban land.
7. Northern Ireland. Built-up Urban & Gardens + Building & Curtilage
UK Summary Chapter 9
UK & London Population Density 2010
London 15,060 Tower Hamlets 65,000 Richmond 12,300
North East 9,090 Westminster 55,870 Kingston 11,410
North West 8,450 City of London 44,230 Barnet 11,040
Yorkshire & Humber 7,930 Kensington & Chelsea 37,220 Harrow 10,370
West Midlands 6,880 Islington 37,380 Sutton 10,080
East Midlands 6,500 Hackney 36,230 Bexley 9,960
East of England 5,910 Southwark 34,170 Hillingdon 9,780
South East 5,850 Camden 34,420 Croydon 9,620
South West 5,670 Hammersmith & Fulham 30,740 Havering 8,540
England 7,300 Lamberth 25,470 Bromley 7,480
Further full data & sources:- London Population Density
The land area data is for Buildings & Gardens only in 2007.
Revised 13 August 2011
Population Density by Region
This chart shows the density for the top and bottom Counties, Authorities and
Towns in the UK. For full list
Population Density by Region 2008
Top 10 All Land B+G Bottom 10 All Land B+G
Portsmouth 4960 East Yorkshire 140
London 4850 (1) 14,920 Isles of Scilly 130
Southampton 4710 Lincolnshire 120
Luton 4420 Devon 110
Blackpool 4060 Rutland 100
Leicester 4020 Shropshire 90
Southend 3940 Herefordshire 80
Nottingham 3920 N Yorkshire 80
Bristol 3840 Cumbria 70
Slough 3720 Northumberland 60
1. London uses 33% of its land for Housing & Gardens, Harrow 44%, City 7%,
ONS Standard Land Measurements revised 1 Jan 2011
UK 244,146.6 km sq. To High water mark.
N Ireland 14,129.7
Editor’s Comments 14 August 2011
New mid 2010 population stats and revised UK land areas Jan 2011
Editor’s Comments 10 July 2010
UK’s Population Density cannot be calculated with available data.
I thought that this would be the easiest section to start with. How wrong could I
be? The starting point was to find the area of the UK and Regions. As an engineer
use to using Standard facts, I was amazed to find very few answers and then
there was no consistency at all.
From there it got worse. Every Population Density figures I found were
fundamentally incorrect as the area used in the calculations included all land,
such as mountains, roads, rivers that would be impractical to build on.
I eventually found some data for London.
Tower Hamlets 60,000/km sq.
A lot different to the usual quote figure of 254.
The Countryside Survey looks beautiful but the data categories were inconsistent,
no overall land sizes were referred to and Northern Ireland was found on its own
website with no links to it. It looks like nobody had control of the overall project.
The Next stage is to find correct data and put it in the public domain.
Editor to Office of National Statistics 16/07/10
In researching data on UK population density, using your data, I have calculated
that the population density of Tower Hamlets is 60,300/km sq.
Am I correct?
Editor to Office of National Statistics 20/07/10
My argument is simple, it concerns the way in which you calculate the land area.
Your figures include areas which would be impossible to live on such as
mountains, rivers, roads, railways etc and areas which would be
inappropriate to use to live on such as woodlands, farmlands, green belt etc.
This leaves land used for housing and their gardens. My figures for B & G come
from Land Use GLUD 2005.
From Office of National Statistics 30/07/10
I will try and address your concerns about the population density figures.
I have used the information you have included in your e-mail and the table
Your first e-mail concerned your calculation of the population density of
Tower Hamlets. You calculated that the population density of Tower Hamlets
is 60,300/km sq, and asked us if you are correct.
From your e-mail and attached file, I deduced that you used the "Area of
Domestic Buildings" + "Area of domestic gardens". From the Land Use GLUD
2005 file you are using this is equal to 3,657 metres squared, or about
3.657 km sq. The population of Tower Hamlets is estimated at 234,800 for
2009. This means the population density for Tower Hamlets using your chosen
definition of land area is 64,203.7 /km sq (or 64,194/km sq using the
unrounded 2009 population estimate). This is close to your figure of 64,150
(Please can you let me know how you arrived at your figure? I think the
small difference is due to rounding?)
So in this respect the figures are roughly similar. However, the difference
between definitions of land area is what is causing the difference. ONS
Population density figures are calculated using land areas derived from
Standard Area Measurement figures created by ONS. Areas are calculated to
the Mean High Water mark, and exclude inland water bodies greater than 1 sq
km. These land area definitions are the standard used for comparability
across the UN and the EU and consistent with standard methodology for
calculating population density. This standard is most likely chosen because
it better reflects the occupation of space per person and is therefore more
If we only use "Area of Domestic Buildings" + "Area of domestic gardens"
and ignore green spaces, parks, woods, forests, farmed land, national
parks, mountains etc, we can wind up with a situation where the population
density of, say, the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides (Highland Council
area) is considered to have a similar population density as Hampshire
(because the size of domestic buildings and gardens might be roughly the
same between the two areas). This is just a theoretical example. Including
areas such as green spaces, parks, cultivated areas, national parks, woods
and forests in the population density calculations provides a more
meaningful indicator of population density for many reasons.
The use of only "Area of Domestic Buildings" + "Area of domestic gardens"
for population density calculations is also subject to a large margin of
error because of differences in housing. The area occupied by a high-rise
flat building in London may be the same as the area occupied by a detached
house with a garden in Hampshire, but there is a big differences in the
number of people who live in the two areas and individuals living the flats
may have the same amount of living space each as the family living in the
The population density of Tower Hamlets is 11,876 people per sq. km.
Editor to Office of National Statistics 02/08/10
On the Land use GLUD spreadsheet I calculated the % of land used for
Buildings + Gardens in relation to the total land area.
City of London 8%
Tower Hamlets 15%
These figures reinforce my argument that the land area should be the land
that is actually used for Dwellings not the total area.
The City 7% is empty at night because most of the land is taken up with
offices. Residents are confined to a small area.
Harrow 44% is "Metroland" leafy suburbs covered with Semi's and Terraced
houses with gardens over a large area.
People can see this, it's not about statistics.
Having been to Switzerland and the Netherlands it is obvious that there will
be a population difference as Switzerland is just one big mountain; but in
reality, I would guess that Switzerland's density will be much higher than
the Netherlands. The logic being that they are all crowded into a small
I understand your view point as you need to use statistical data that is
reliable, consistent and is common to the EU and others for comparison.
My background is in engineering, design, sales and marketing so my work is
From Office of National Statistics 03/08/10
I understand the reasons for your point of view, that the land area should
be the land that is actually used for Dwellings not the total area. Perhaps
it would be most useful to clarify the differences by stating that the
population densities you have calculated are based on 'dwelling area' for
these reasons, and that ONS population densities are based on total land
area (excluding water bodies larger than 1km2)