What Countries Would Look Like If Their Size Matched Their Population

We are all familiar with the standard map of the world. Have you ever imagined the map in any other way? If not, Max Roser from Our World in Data has done it for you. He made a map, not based on how big a certain country is, but based on its population. As a result, he made a really interesting demographic cartogram.

The Bright Side team took a close look at the work of this economist. We decided to compare some countries from Max Roser’s map to the same countries from the regular map of the world.

What’s a demographic cartogram?

A cartogram is a map in which some thematic mapping variables — like travel time or population (in this case, the population of Earth in 2018) is shown. Every square on Max Roser’s map represents 500,000 people in a country. So, there are 15,266 squares on his map — that is all of the 7.633 billion people in the world. So, for example, vast countries like Russia and Canada don’t have a huge population and this is why they look much smaller on Roser’s maps.

Below, you will see the maps of 24 countries. The upper pictures show the real size of the countries and the lower pictures demonstrate what the countries would look like if the population was used to represent the size of the territory.

Asia and Oceania

Everyone knows that Russia is the biggest country in the world. However, on Max Roser’s map, it doesn’t look as big as it really is. It can even be compared to some European countries (for example, 2 Great Britains with a population of 66.6 million people and 242.495 million km² of territory).

The biggest countries in Asia are China (1.415 billion people) and India (1.354 billion people). And Saudi Arabia, despite its huge territory is comparable to Uzbekistan (447,400 km² and 32.3 million people).

Australia is the 6th country in the world in terms of territory (7.7 million km²). However, on Roser’s map it is close to the size of the Philippines (299,763 km² and 106.5 million people) and Indonesia (1.9 million km² and 266.8 million people).


Romania and Great Britain are quite similar in terms of territory, but on Max Roser’s map they look very different. Great Britain is comparable to France (547,030 km² and 65.2 million people) and Romania, which is quite big, can be compared to the Netherlands (41,526 km² and 17.1 million people).

Spain on Roser’s map looks like the Ukraine (603,549 km² and 44 million people) and Sweden shrinks and starts to look like Belarus (207,600 km² and 9.6 million people) and 2 Slovakias (48,845 km² and 5.4 million people).

It is also quite interesting to look at and compare Germany and Finland that have similar territories, but not on Roser’s map. Germany is similar to Turkey (783,663 km² and 81.9 million people) and Finland is only half of sunny Portugal (92,082 km² and 10.3 million people).

North and South America

As you can see, the USA and Canada have comparable territories but they are really different in terms of population. Just imagine: on Roser’s map the USA is almost 2.5 times bigger than Russia (17.1 million km² and 144 million people). And Canada is just as big as California (423,970 km² and 39.6 million people).

Mexico is way smaller than Canada (the second biggest country in the world) but in terms of population, it is much bigger (130.8 million and 37 million, respectively). It is compared to Japan (377,944 km² and 127.2 million people). And Brazil can be compared with the densely-populated state of India Uttar Pradesh (240,928 km² and 220 million people).

Argentina on Max Roser’s map is comparable to Columbia (1.1 million km² and 49.5 million people), and Peru is like 2 Ecuadors (283,560 km² and 16.9 million people).


Despite the fact that Sudan is twice as big as Egypt, it has a way smaller population. Egypt can be compared to 2 Kenyas (585,650 km² and 51 million people), and Sudan with the 10th biggest country in the world — Algeria (2.3 million km² and 42 million people).

Chad, which is pretty big in terms of territory, has shrunk dramatically on the cartogram. Now, Chad is as big as Somalia (637,657 km² and 15.2 million people) and Nigeria has a bigger population than Russia (17.1 million km² and 144 million people).

Look at these 2 neighbors — Western Sahara and Morocco. The first one is only a little bit more than 1 square and is compared to Comoros (1,862 km² and 0.8 million people), and Morocco is compared to Mali (1.2 million km² and 19.1 million people).

Which of these maps amazed you the most? Share your reactions in the comment section below.

Preview photo credit Depositphotos.com, The World Economic Forum

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