Approximately 7.6 billion people live on the earth on seven continents. Antarctica is uninhabited, but up to 5,000 people can be found on the continent undertaking various research throughout the year. In contrast to Antarctica, the continent with the densest population is Asia.
Continents by Population Density
Asia is the most populated continent in the world with a population of approximately 4.5 billion. About 59.55% of the world’s population lives in Asia. Asia covers an area of 17,212,000 square miles. The continents population density is 246.11 per square mile. Between 2010 and 2018 the population grew at an average of 1% annually.
Europe has a population of 743 million, representing 9.73% of the global population as of 2018. The continent covers an area of 3,930,000 square miles. The population’s density is 187.84 per square miles. Europe is slightly larger than China (3,705,407 square miles), but China has twice the population of Europe.
Africa ranks third with a population of 1.29 billion, representing 16.87% of the world’s population. Africa covers an area of 11,730,000 square miles. The population density of the continent is 87.15 people per square mile. Africa is experiencing the world's fastest population growth. Between 2010 and 2015, the population growth in Africa was 2.55% per annum. Between 2020 and 2050 half of new births in the world is expected to occur in Africa.
North and South America
North America and South America have near equal population densities. North America has a density of 57.29 per square mile while South America has a density of 56.9 per square mile. North America has a population of 580 million while South America has a population of 429 million.
Australia is the world's least densely populated continent, aside from Antartica which does not have a permanent population. Approximately 41.5 million people inhabit an area of 2,969,907 square miles. The continent’s density is 8.37 per square mile.
Trends in Global Population
By 2030, the global population is projected to reach 8.5 billion. By 2050, the population is expected to reach 9.7 billion. India and China remain the world’s most populated countries and account for 37% of the global population. Africa is the fastest-growing continent with a growth rate of 2.55%. The population of Europe is expected to shrink by 2050. Several European countries are set to experience a population decline of 15% by 2050.