India is crowded. You don't have to step onto a Bombay local or into Karol Bagh market to realise this. Yet we don't always realise just how crowded India is compared to the rest of the world, which – aside from China – turns out to be mostly empty. Sure we might have heard that 17.5% of the world population is Indian and that India will overtake China by 2050, but it's not always evident exactly what that means.
Enter Max Galka. Professionally the co-founder of a real estate data business, Galka also enjoys working with data outside of his job. And with so much data now out there to play around with, Galka has plenty to work with.
Take the gridded population data put out by American's National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Instead of measuring population based on local political borders, such as districts and provinces, this data set treats the world population as a grid of square-shaped cells each one roughly 3 miles x 3 miles.
Galka decided to put together a map of the world, and decided to colour it according to whether each cell had either more than 8,000 people (in yellow) or less than 8,000 people (in black). The results, which divide the globe's population into two halves, are stark.
That's right, one half of the world population is in the yellow portions of this map, and the other half are in the black zone. In terms of area, according to Galka, the black region – with relatively low population density – includes 99% of the earth's land. In other words, half the world's population lives on just 1% of the land.
And as you can see, India and China occupy much of that limited territory.
Galka had earlier created another similar map that also gave a sense of just how dense portions of South Asia are. After a reddit user put together a graphical representation of how only 5% of the world's population lives in a vast expanse of land, while the same amount also occupies a tiny portion of territory on India's eastern border as well as in Bangladesh.
The map below shows 5% of the world population living in the purple portions. And the same amount of people live in the tiny red portion covering India and Bangladesh.
Galka later even reformatted the map of world population density based on equal area projection, which gives a more accurate image of what the world actually looks like. No matter which way you slice it, India's overwhelming population figures and population density – and all the attendant issues that come with that are clear for all to see.