South America is a continent located in the southern part of the western hemisphere. The continent covers a total area of 6.89 million square miles and has a population of more than 410 million people. The average population density in South America is 56 persons per square mile. However, population density ranges between countries. Ecuador has the highest population density, while the Falkland Islands have the lowest.
The Three Most Densely Populated South American Countries
Ecuador is located in the western region of the continent, and is bordered by Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean. Ecuador is made up of mainland territory and the Galapagos Islands, and covers a total area of 109,480 square miles. The country has a population of over 16.1 million people, which translates to a population density of 152.7 persons per square mile, the highest in the continent. Ecuador’s high density is attributed to a rapidly growing population within its relatively small territory.
Colombia is located in the northern part of the continent and borders Brazil, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, and Ecuador. The country covers an area of 440,831 square miles and has a population of about 49.2 million people. Colombia has a population density of 105.5 persons per square mile, which is the second highest in South America. A factor linked to the high population density in Colombia is its rapidly growing population.
Venezuela is the northernmost country in continental South America and borders Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana. The country covers an area of 353,841 square miles and has a population of more than 31.7 million residents. Venezuela has a population density of 87.4 persons per square mile, which is the third highest in South America. The majority of the country's residents live in large towns and cities, and this high rate of urbanization is a primary factor behind its high population density.
The Three Least Densely Populated South American Countries
3. French Guiana
French Guiana (also known as Guiana) is an overseas territory of France located in the north-eastern part of South America. French Guiana is bordered by Brazil and Suriname and covers an area of 32,252 square miles. The territory has a population of 250,109 people, which translates to a population density of 7.8 persons per square mile, and is third lowest in the continent. Approximately half of French Guiana's population resides in Cayenne, the country's capital.
Suriname is a South American country bordering French Guiana, Guyana and Brazil. Suriname is one of the smallest countries in the continent covering an area of 64,000 square miles. The country has a population of 566,000 and a population density of only 7.5 persons per square mile, the second lowest in South America. The majority of Suriname’s population resides in or near Paramaribo, the country’s capital.
1. Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands refer to an archipelago of over 750 islands located 300 miles off South America’s coast. The Falkland Islands cover a total area of 4,700 square miles and have a population of 2,932 people. The Falkland Islands have the lowest population density in South America one of the lowest in the world with a population density of 0.7 persons per square mile, a fact attributed to the remoteness in most of the territory.
The population of South America is expected to grow in the future, but at a decreasing rate. Continued urbanization taking place across the continent will cause an increase in population density.