The Most Populated Countries In Southern Europe

By Oishimaya Sen Nag on October 6 2020 in World Facts

Map of Southern Europe.
  • Southern Europe currently hosts a population of over 150 million that accounts for about 1.95% of the global human population.
  • The population density of the region is 118 people per sq. km. More than 70% of the population lives in urban areas.
  • Italy is the most populous country in Southern Europe while Vatican City is the least populous one.

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. 

Southern Europe has 15 countries and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar.

The region currently hosts a population of over 150 million that accounts for about 1.95% of the global human population. When ranked by population, it occupies the third spot among subregions of Europe. The population density of the region is 118 people per sq. km. More than 70% of the population lives in urban areas.

The Five Most Populated Southern European Countries

1. Italy

Italy is the most populous country in Southern Europe, with an estimated population of 60,461,826. 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.

2. Spain

With an estimated population of 46,754,778, 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.

3. Greece

Greece has an estimated population of 10,423,054 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.

5. Portugal

Portugal has an estimated population of 10,196,709, ranking as the fourth most populous country in Southern Europe. It has a population density of 114 people per square kilometer.

6. Serbia

With 8,737,371 peope, Serbia ranks fifth on this list. It is a landlocked country in the region. It has a population density of 89 people per sq. km.

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

RankCountryPopulation (2020)
1Italy60,461,826
2Spain46,754,778
3Greece10,423,054
4Portugal10,196,709
5Serbia8,737,371
6Croatia4,105,267
7Bosnia and Herzegovina3,280,819
8Albania2,877,797
9North Macedonia2,083,374
10Slovenia2,078,938
11Montenegro628,066
12Malta441,543
13Andorra77,265
14San Marino33,931
15Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)33,691
16Holy See801

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