Sunday 28 January 2018

The Most Densely Populated Square Kilometre in 39 European Countries

A few days ago I published a short piece in The Conversation about population density across Europe, based on EU gridded population data. This was really my attempt to see if I could produce some numbers which better reflect the experience of population density across Europe, rather than just the raw arithmetic average. At the end of the piece I added a table with some stats, including the maximum 1km population density for each of the 39 countries I looked at. There wasn't space in the article to tell you where all these places were, so I'm doing it here instead. So, without further ado, here are the most densely populated 1km squares in each of the 39 countries, from Spain to Liechtenstein. Click to enlarge.

I did this quickly so it's a bit rough and ready as far as the maps go - a few labelling blips here and there but you can get the idea. Scrolling through from most dense to least dense does generally seem to make sense visually though you can't always tell what's what because some places have lots of high rises in them and you don't get a sense of that from the aerial photos.

Notes: the data are from 2011, so a little old now. We should also really consider these estimates, for a variety of reasons, but I think they are likely to be close to truth, based on my analysis of similar datasets (e.g. ONS in the UK and GHSL globally). Note that if you download the EU data you'll have to then join it to some kind of geodata (e.g. shapefile) because it's not already done. This can be tricky with about 2 million 1km cells and rows of data. Why are England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland separate here? That's just the way they published the data. But I found it useful to get a better look at patterns in different parts of the UK.