Southern Europe is the southern half of the European continent. The region includes Greece and Italy, which are often considered the cradle or birthplace of Western Civilization. The location of many Southern European countries along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea has facilitated trade and the exchange of cultures with the rest of the world for centuries. The relatively mild climate of Southern Europe also promoted human settlement in the region.
The Five Most Populated Southern European Countries
Italy is the most populous country in Southern Europe, with an estimated population of 59,429,938. The country has an average population density of 200.5 people per square kilometer, although its population is unevenly distributed. The Po Valley accounts for nearly 50% of Italy's total population, and the metropolitan areas of Naples and Rome are also densely populated. Large tracts of land in the Apennines and Alpine highlands, as well those in the plateaus of Basilicata, have very low population densities. The Italian island of Sardinia is also sparsely populated.
With an estimated population of 46,347,576, Spain is the second most populated Southern European country. The population density in Spain is relatively low, at only 93 persons per square kilometer. Like Italy, Spain's population is also unevenly distributed. Except for Madrid and its heavily-populated surrounding area, most populous parts of Spain are located along the coast.
Greece has an estimated population of 11,183,716 and a population density of 85.3 people per square kilometer. The country is known as the cradle of Western Civilization, as it served as the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, literature, and arts. Almost two-thirds of Greece’s population lives in urban areas. Athens, which is the national capital, and Thessaloniki have the largest metropolitan populations in the country. Other cities such as Patras, Volos, Ioannina, and Heraklion also have large populations.
4. Turkey (East Thrace)
East Thrace is the part of the Republic of Turkey that is geographically located in Southern Europe. This part of the country represents only about 3% of Turkey’s land area but contains 14% of its total population. East Thrace has an estimated population of 10,620,739 and a high population density of 446.9 persons per square kilometer.
Portugal has an estimated population of 10,371,627, ranking as the fifth most populous country in Southern Europe. It has a population density of 114 people per square kilometer.
Least Populated Country in Southern Europe
Southern Europe is home to the world’s least populated nation, Vatican City, which is an enclaved microstate located within Italy. Vatican City has an estimated population of only 801 residents.
List of Countries in Southern Europe by Population
|Rank||Country||Population||Population Density (Persons per km2)|
|4||Turkey (East Thrace)||10,620,739||446.9|
|8||Bosnia and Herzegovina||3,516,816||69|