The World's Most Densely Populated Islands

Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, is one of the world's most densely populated islands.
Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, is one of the world's most densely populated islands.

Some of the most densely populated islands in the world are Santa Cruz del Islote (Colombia), Ap Lei Chau (Hong Kong), Migingo (Kenya), Fadiouth (Senegal), Male (Maldives), Ebeye (Marshall Islands), and Manhattan (New York City, US) among others. Being densely populated means that there is a high population on a small piece of land.

The world’s Most Densely Populated Islands

The most densely populated island in the world is Santa Cruz del Islote Island. The island is an Archipelago of San Bernardo located in Colombia, off the coast of Bolivar. The population density of Santa Cruz del Islote is 103,917 residents per square kilometers. There is a legend that states that two wandering fishermen founded the island. According to locals, these fishermen discovered that the island had no mosquitoes and stayed. In the past, it was rare not to have mosquitoes in the Caribbean. Today, the island is very populated. Residents believe it is the most peaceful place in the world. Children are well behaved and doors are never locked. Approximately 1,247 people live on the island.

The Ap Lei Chau Island is located next to the Aberdeen Channel and Aberdeen Harbor, off Hong Kong Island. It is the second most densely populated island worldwide. Formerly known as the Aberdeen Island, the Ap Lei Chau’s population density is 66,755 people per square kilometers. The population of the island is approximately 86,782 people. There is a four-lane road bridge that joins the island to Hong Kong Island.

Migingo Island is a tiny island located in Lake Victoria, Kenya. In 2009, the number of people living on the island was only 131. However, over the years, the number has increased to about 1,000 inhabitants. The increase in population is a result of the lucrative fishing business on the island. The history of Migingo Island is not very clear which has led to past conflicts between Kenya and Uganda over ownership of the land. However, the two countries reached an agreement in 2016 which guarantees the residents a peaceful stay. Today, the population density of Migingo is 65,500 residents per square kilometers.

Among the most densely populated islands is Manhattan, New York. It is famous for being home to the headquarters of the UN called Wall Street. The world knows Manhattan as a cultural, financial, entertainment, and media capital of the globe. It hosts the two largest stock exchange markets in the world namely the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange. The population of the island is 1,634,795 against an area of 54.47 square kilometers. As a result, its population density is 27,489 people per square kilometers. Manhattan is among the five boroughs in New York State with the other four being: Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.

Challenges Faced By Dense Islands

Most of these islands have tourist attraction sites that boost the tourism sector in their economies. Others, like Manhattan, are renowned for their great contributions in finance, entertainment, cultural heritage, and the media. However, some of them experience various problems such as attacks by pirates, lack of social amenities such as running water, boundary disputes, insecurity, and unemployment among others.

The World's Most Densely Populated Islands

RankIslandResidents Per Kilometer Squared
1Santa Cruz del Islote103,917
2Ap Lei Chau66,755
3Migingo Island65,500
4Ile de Fadiouth (Fadiouth)60,000
7Bungin Island41,176
8Ilha de Moçambique36,210
9Manhattan (New York City)27,489
10Lagos Island26,955
11Salsette Island (Mumbai)24,414
12Île Saint-Louis (Paris)22,409
14Lilla Essingen (Stockholm)21,004
15Tsing Yi18,746

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