Population density (people per sq. km of land area) - Country Ranking - Africa

Definition: Population density is midyear population divided by land area in square kilometers. Population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country of asylum, who are generally considered part of the population of their country of origin. Land area is a country's total area, excluding area under inland water bodies, national claims to continental shelf, and exclusive economic zones. In most cases the definition of inland water bodies includes major rivers and lakes.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization and World Bank population estimates.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 Mauritius 623.30 2018
2 Rwanda 498.66 2018
3 Comoros 447.24 2018
4 Burundi 435.18 2018
5 The Gambia 225.31 2018
6 São Tomé and Principe 219.82 2018
7 Nigeria 215.07 2018
8 Uganda 213.06 2018
9 Seychelles 210.35 2018
10 Malawi 192.44 2018
11 Togo 145.05 2018
12 Cabo Verde 134.93 2018
13 Ghana 130.82 2018
14 Ethiopia 109.22 2018
15 Sierra Leone 105.99 2018
16 Benin 101.85 2018
17 Egypt 98.87 2018
18 Kenya 90.30 2018
19 Senegal 82.35 2018
20 Morocco 80.73 2018
21 Côte d'Ivoire 78.83 2018
22 Tunisia 74.44 2018
23 Burkina Faso 72.19 2018
24 Lesotho 69.44 2018
25 Guinea-Bissau 66.65 2018
26 Eswatini 66.06 2018
27 Tanzania 63.58 2018
28 Cameroon 53.34 2018
29 Guinea 50.52 2018
30 Liberia 50.03 2018
31 South Africa 47.63 2018
32 Equatorial Guinea 46.67 2018
33 Madagascar 45.14 2018
34 Djibouti 41.37 2018
35 Mozambique 37.51 2018
36 Zimbabwe 37.32 2018
37 Dem. Rep. Congo 37.08 2018
38 Eritrea 31.82 2011
39 Angola 24.71 2018
40 Somalia 23.92 2018
41 Zambia 23.34 2018
42 Algeria 17.73 2018
43 Niger 17.72 2018
44 Mali 15.64 2018
45 Congo 15.36 2018
46 Chad 12.29 2018
47 Gabon 8.22 2018
48 Central African Republic 7.49 2018
49 Mauritania 4.27 2018
50 Botswana 3.98 2018
51 Libya 3.80 2018
52 Namibia 2.97 2018

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Development Relevance: Population estimates are usually based on national population censuses. Estimates for the years before and after the census are interpolations or extrapolations based on demographic models. Errors and undercounting occur even in high-income countries; in developing countries errors may be substantial because of limits in the transport, communications, and other resources required conducting and analyzing a full census. Population density is a measure of the intensity of land-use, and can be calculated for a block, city, county, state, country, continent or the entire world. Considering that over half of the Earth's land mass consists of areas inhospitable to human inhabitation, such as deserts and high mountains, and that population tends to cluster around seaports and fresh water sources, a simple number of population density by itself does not give any meaningful measurement of human population density. Several of the most densely populated territories in the world are city-states, microstates, or dependencies.[6][7] These territories share a relatively small area and a high urbanization level, with an economically specialized city population drawing also on rural resources outside the area, illustrating the difference between high population density and overpopulation.

Limitations and Exceptions: Current population estimates for developing countries that lack recent census data and pre- and post-census estimates for countries with census data are provided by the United Nations Population Division and other agencies. The cohort component method - a standard method for estimating and projecting population - requires fertility, mortality, and net migration data, often collected from sample surveys, which can be small or limited in coverage. Population estimates are from demographic modeling and so are susceptible to biases and errors from shortcomings in the model and in the data. Because the five-year age group is the cohort unit and five-year period data are used, interpolations to obtain annual data or single age structure may not reflect actual events or age composition. The quality and reliability of official demographic data are also affected by public trust in the government, government commitment to full and accurate enumeration, confidentiality and protection against misuse of census data, and census agencies' independence from political influence. Moreover, comparability of population indicators is limited by differences in the concepts, definitions, collection procedures, and estimation methods used by national statistical agencies and other organizations that collect the data.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Population density is midyear population divided by land area in square kilometers. This ratio can be calculated for any territorial unit for any point in time, depending on the source of the population data. Populationestimates are prepared by World Bank staff from variety of sources. They are based on the de facto definition of population and include all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship, within the physical boundaries of a country and under the jurisdiction of that country's political control. Refugees not permanently settled in the country of asylum are considered part of the population of their country of origin. Population numbers are either current census data or historical census data extrapolated through demographic methods. The count also excludes visitors from overseas. Population density is calculated by dividing midyear population by land area in a country. Population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship - except for refugees not permanently settled in the country of asylum, who are generally considered part of the population of their country of origin. Land area is a country's total area, excluding area under inland water bodies, national claims to continental shelf, and exclusive economic zones. In most cases the definition of inland water bodies includes major rivers and lakes.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual