Entrance to town of Darwin, Falkland Islands.

The 10 Least Densely Populated Places In The World

Introverts rejoice! These locations prove that this planet still has a few unturned stones. Be they jungle islands or frozen tundras, this collection of human settlements serves as evidence that humanity can thrive anywhere, even in complete seclusion from itself. To measure isolation, we divide the population of a region by its land area, which results in the number of people that exist within a square kilometer. On one end, we have Svalbard, an Arctic community on an archipelago with just 0.0478 people per km2. To better picture this, imagine only three people occupying the entire island of Manhattan! Some people like their privacy—read on if you are in the mood to learn more.

10 Lowest Population Density Places On Earth

Rank Country Most Recent Year Population Density (People per km2)
1 Svalbard 2021 0.0478
2 Greenland 2021 0.14
3 Falkland Islands 2020 0.29
4 Pitcairn Islands 2020 1.057
5 Tristan Da Cunha 2021 1.4
6 Mongolia 2021 2.15
7 Western Sahara 2023 2.2
8 Namibia 2021 3.07
9 Australia 2021 3.35
10 French Guiana 2023 3.601

Svalbard - 0.0478 People per km2

 Polar bear on the drifting ice with snow and evening pink blue sky, Svalbard, Norway.
 Polar bear on the drifting ice with snow and evening pink blue sky, Svalbard, Norway. 

At the top of the world lies Svalbard, an isolated and icy frontier with fewer people than anywhere else. Polar bears, those ferocious creatures of the Arctic, are jokingly said to outnumber the human inhabitants in this frosty domain. But that is not the only peculiarity. Suppose you are considering a final resting place; scratch Longyearbyen off the list. In this frigid town, the law prohibits dying due to the tenacity of the permafrost. While the digital age is impossible to avoid elsewhere, Svalbard residents depend on satellite for reliable internet connections. So, why did anyone decide to settle here in the first place? Coal mining's historical significance is the answer. If you happen to be a visitor, brace yourself for the polar night from late October to mid-February, a period of ceaseless darkness. Also remember, when checking in at a cozy abode, do not be surprised if it stands on stilts— this is just an ingenious solution to the challenge of melting permafrost.

Greenland - 0.14 People per km2

The traditional and remote Greenlandic Inuit village Kullorsuaq located at the Melville Bay, in the far north of West Greenland
The traditional and remote Greenlandic Inuit village Kullorsuaq is located at the Melville Bay. Image credit Danita Delimont via Shutterstock.

Few places can claim the title of the world's largest island, and Greenland is that colossus. Covering a staggering area, its frozen vastness accounts for a potential 20-feet global sea level rise, thanks to the imposing Greenland Ice Sheet. Among its icy waters, Greenland sharks glide, some living over 400 years, making them one of the planet's oldest living beings. This massive space is mostly absent of human presence, but its capital Nuuk is still full to the brim of historical moments. If you peruse through the National Museum, you might stumble upon ancient mummies dating back to the 15th century. Keep in mind that while most of the region is blanketed in ice, communities still manage to persevere. Qaanaaq, a settlement as far north as one could imagine, braves the chill. Last, if you find yourself there in winter, you should expect to see a dogsled whiz by because it is the preferred mode of transportation when snow rules the landscape.

Falkland Islands - 0.29 People per km2

King Penguins at Volunteer Point on the Falkland Islands
King Penguins at Volunteer Point on the Falkland Islands.

Upon approaching the Falkland Islands, one might be forgiven for thinking they have stumbled into a penguin kingdom. Five distinct species of these birds call the islands home. However, it is not only the avian life that stands out. With a little passion for history, you will discover events like the pivotal Battle of Goose Green in 1982, which significantly impacted the conclusion of the Falklands War. Humans may have made their mark, but they are outnumbered here, not by penguins, but by sheep (which is not a Herculean task with a population density of barely 0.29). Desperate to maintain that golf swing? There is a course here that is among the most isolated on the planet. Plant life is a rarity, but the sedge species found only on these islands hold that claim. Oddly, sports enthusiasts can get their adrenaline rush with traditional horse and dog racing events. As for a touch of local flavor, tune into the government-run Falkland Islands Radio Service, which ensures that residents and visitors alike stay informed and entertained.

Pitcairn Islands - 1.057 People per km2

Photo of Pitcairn Island in Bounty Bay--so called becuase it was inhabited by 9 mutineers from Mutiny on the Bounty.
Photo of Pitcairn Island in Bounty Bay--so called becuase it was inhabited by 9 mutineers from Mutiny on the Bounty.

Take a moment to picture living on an island so isolated that ships only supply it a few times a year. This is the daily reality for the inhabitants of the Pitcairn Islands. The startling reality of this island, with barely over a person per each square kilometer, is that the descendants of HMS Bounty mutineers call it home. Furthermore, the Pitcairn Islands hold the title for the smallest national jurisdiction by population, which could either be an achievement or a concern depending on perspective. Interestingly, its linguistic dialects are mostly made up of the unique language ("Pitkern") of its only settlement, Adamstown. This town's economy is a fascinating one, due to how it leans heavily on the sales of coins and stamps. As for fun facts? The Pitcairn Islands can also lay claim to possessing one of the world's most remote post offices.

Tristan Da Cunha - 1.4 People per km2

Welcome to the Remotest Island touristic signpost in Tristan Da Cunha
Welcome to the Remotest Island touristic signpost in Tristan Da Cunha. Image credit maloff via Shutterstock.

As you munch on your potatoes at dinner, try to imagine using them as a currency. This is not a fairy tale but the reality of Tristan Da Cunha, the world's most remote inhabited island chain. With a population density of 1.4 persons per square kilometer, there's plenty of room for cattle – an asset so vital that every family on the chain possesses some. History has branded its mark here, too; in 1961, a volcanic eruption led its residents to momentarily evacuate to England. As for the internet? It is a rare luxury with slim amounts of data. However, the true stars might be the rockhopper penguin colony and the Albatrosses. Regarding income for the average citizen, the waters surrounding this island are teeming with life, making fishing the staple for its economy.

Mongolia - 2.15 People per km2

maloffInner Mongolia Hulunbeier Mozhegle Mongolian tribe yurt
 Hulunbeier Mozhegle: Mongolian tribe yurt village.

This is a country of tradition, and archery and wrestling are centerpieces during events like the annual Naadam Festival. With a population density of 2.15 persons per square kilometer, Mongolia is an expansive land where ancient practices are celebrated and carried on. Ulaanbaatar, its capital, wears the crown for having the chilliest average temperature of all world capitals. Another curiosity is the Orkhon Valley: this site is home to ancient inscriptions carved on stone monuments, detailing historical events and Turkic culture in the Runic script. Yet, Mongolia is not just about history and cold. The majesty of the Altai Mountains provides sanctuary to elusive snow leopards, while the Gobi Desert has preserved remains and artifacts from the age of dinosaurs. Finally, reflecting its endless landscape, nearly half its people still reside in gers, an iconic structure for nomads of the region.

Western Sahara - 2.2 People per km2

Car driving in Rub al Khali Desert at the Empty Quarter
Car driving in Rub al Khali Desert at the Empty Quarter.

Have you ever sipped on Sahrawi tea under a vast sky with almost no neighbors in sight? Western Sahara's sparse populace, at a mere 2.2 inhabitants per square kilometer, grants a solitude hard to find elsewhere. This territory is marked by a 2,700 km long defensive sand wall known as the Moroccan Wall. The lands have been in dispute since the Spanish exit in 1975, and its economy is sparse but it currently revolves around phosphate mining. However, as remote and dangerous as the region is, some people are known to kitesurf on the coast. Ultimately, the dispute has caused significant upset for the nomadic Berber tribes which have inhabited the area for countless generations. There is one significant city, however: Laayoune exists towards the coast and holds a population of around 250 thousand. 

Namibia - 3.07 People per km2

An aerial view of the center of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia in Southern Africa.
An aerial view of the center of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia in Southern Africa. Image credit Tomasz Wozniak via Shutterstock.

When one thinks of sand, Namibia often springs to mind with its skyscraper-high dunes. So, did you know that it also hosts certain species of trees that have survived for over two thousand years? In the Deadvlei region, ancient trees like the Dorsland stand in contrast to the milky white clay pans around them. Interestingly, with a population density of 3.07, this country is not densely inhabited by humans but does hold the record for the second highest population of cheetahs. Furthermore, the chillingly named Skeleton Coast is a nod to its propensity for shipwrecks. Thankfully, not all is desolate: the Himba tribe, decorated in red ochre-covered skin, has made the northern region their home. Further points of interest include Windhoek, the capital, and the Etosha National Park which is famous for its salt pans that are claimed to be observable from space. 

Australia - 3.35 People per km2

Aerial view of the lighthouse in Yamba, NSW, Australia.
Aerial view of the lighthouse in Yamba, NSW, Australia.

Would you believe that Australia has a larger camel population than Egypt? That reality is just the tip of the iceberg for this peculiar continent, which has barely over 3 people for each square kilometer. In fact, Australia used to be even more remote. For at least 65 thousand years, the Aboriginee people have traveled the country's challenging terrain, surviving and passing on incredible knowledge through oral tradition. Conflict with other forms of life is frequent, such as the native wild dogs. Thus, Australia also claims ownership of the world's longest protective structure, the 5,614 km Dingo Fence, which protects farm lands from wandering packs. Aside from the history and struggles with nature, Australia is also home to 19 world heritage sites like Fraser Island, as well as the brilliantly pink Lake Hillier

French Guiana - 3.601 People per km2

Museum Departmental Franconie in Cayenne, French Guiana.
Museum Departmental Franconie in Cayenne, French Guiana.

If you ever questioned the origins of the fiery Cayenne pepper, ponder no more. It draws its name from the capital of French Guiana, Cayenne. The territory, with a surprisingly sparse population density of just 3.6 people per square kilometer, is intriguing for more reasons than one. It is also the proud host to Europe's spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre. Speaking of remote isolation, one cannot forget the infamous Devil's Island, which was once an infamous penal colony. Perhaps the seclusion from over-development has paid off: French Guiana is bordered by the serene Maroni River on its Suriname side as well as the majesty of the Tumuc-Humac mountains. Besides its small human population, French Guiana's shores are famous for its species of leatherback turtle, which demand protection and conservation.

Exploration is at the core of human ambition, either for glory, riches, or perhaps just a taste of quiet. Many of the people who live in these locations are researchers, but others are descendants of ancient sailors or survivors of political conflict. The colorful traditions of the Inuit, Himba, and Mongolian people are proof, however, that a community can prosper anywhere. So, escaping the warmth of neighborly cheer might be impossible — and I, for one, am grateful.

Smallest-to-Largest Population Density of All Countries

Country Most Recent Year Population Density (People per km2)
Greenland 2021 0.14
Mongolia 2021 2.15
Namibia 2021 3.07
Australia 2021 3.35
Iceland 2021 3.83
Libya 2021 3.83
Suriname 2021 3.93
Guyana 2021 4.09
Mauritania 2021 4.6
Canada 2021 4.27
Botswana 2021 4.57
Kazakhstan 2021 7.04
Central African Republic 2021 8.76
Russian Federation 2021 8.79
Gabon 2021 9.09
Bolivia 2021 11
Turkmenistan 2021 13
Chad 2021 14
Oman 2021 15
Norway 2021 15
New Caledonia 2021 15
Saudi Arabia 2021 17
Argentina 2021 17
Paraguay 2021 17
South Sudan 2021 17
Congo, Rep. 2021 17
Belize 2021 18
Mali 2021 18
Finland 2021 18
Algeria 2021 19
New Zealand 2021 19
Uruguay 2021 20
Niger 2021 20
Bhutan 2021 20
Papua New Guinea 2021 22
Sudan 2021 24
Solomon Islands 2021 25
Sweden 2021 26
Brazil 2021 26
Vanuatu 2021 26
Zambia 2021 26
Chile 2021 26
Peru 2021 26
Somalia 2021 27
Angola 2021 28
Eritrea 2021 30
Latvia 2021 30
Estonia 2021 31
Venezuela, RB 2021 32
Lao PDR 2021 32
Kyrgyz Republic 2021 35
United States 2021 36
Faroe Islands 2021 39
Palau 2021 39
Bahamas, The 2021 41
Mozambique 2021 41
Zimbabwe 2021 41
Congo, Dem. Rep. 2021 42
Lithuania 2021 45
Belarus 2021 46
Montenegro 2021 46
Colombia 2021 46
Turks and Caicos Islands 2021 47
Djibouti 2021 48
South Africa 2021 49
Madagascar 2021 50
Fiji 2021 51
Liberia 2021 54
Iran, Islamic Rep. 2021 54
Guinea 2021 55
Nicaragua 2021 57
Cameroon 2021 58
Equatorial Guinea 2021 58
Panama 2021 59
Afghanistan 2021 61
Yemen, Rep. 2021 62
Bulgaria 2021 63
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2021 64
Georgia 2021 65
Mexico 2021 65
Croatia 2021 69
Eswatini 2021 69
Tajikistan 2021 70
Ecuador 2021 72
Tanzania 2021 72
Ireland 2021 73
Guinea-Bissau 2021 73
Lesotho 2021 75
Ukraine 2021 76
Samoa 2021 79
Tunisia 2021 79
Uzbekistan 2021 79
Burkina Faso 2021 81
Serbia 2021 81
North Macedonia 2021 82
Myanmar 2021 82
Greece 2021 83
Morocco 2021 83
Romania 2021 83
Brunei Darussalam 2021 85
Cote d'Ivoire 2021 86
French Polynesia 2021 88
Senegal 2021 88
Timor-Leste 2021 89
Moldova 2021 91
Honduras 2021 92
Kenya 2021 93
Cambodia 2021 94
Spain 2021 95
Dominica 2021 97
Armenia 2021 98
Iraq 2021 100
Costa Rica 2021 101
Malaysia 2021 102
Albania 2021 103
Slovenia 2021 105
Hungary 2021 106
Ethiopia 2021 107
Northern Mariana Islands 2021 108
Cuba 2021 108
Austria 2021 109
Egypt, Arab Rep. 2021 110
Turkiye 2021 110
Portugal 2021 113
Slovak Republic 2021 113
Benin 2021 115
Syrian Arab Republic 2021 116
Sierra Leone 2021 117
Azerbaijan 2021 123
Poland 2021 123
France 2021 124
Jordan 2021 126
United Arab Emirates 2021 132
Cyprus 2021 135
Czechia 2021 136
Thailand 2021 140
Ghana 2021 144
Indonesia 2021 145
Cabo Verde 2021 146
Denmark 2021 146
Tonga 2021 147
Isle of Man 2021 148
China 2021 150
Togo 2021 159
Kiribati 2021 159
Guatemala 2021 160
Micronesia, Fed. Sts. 2021 162
Andorra 2021 168
St. Kitts and Nevis 2021 183
Italy 2021 200
British Virgin Islands 2021 207
Nepal 2021 210
Malawi 2021 211
Antigua and Barbuda 2021 212
Korea, Dem. People's Rep. 2021 216
Seychelles 2021 216
Switzerland 2021 220
American Samoa 2021 225
Uganda 2021 229
Sao Tome and Principe 2021 232
Marshall Islands 2021 234
Dominican Republic 2021 234
Qatar 2021 234
Nigeria 2021 234
Germany 2021 238
Kuwait 2021 239
Liechtenstein 2021 244
Luxembourg 2021 249
Gambia, The 2021 261
Jamaica 2021 261
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2021 268
United Kingdom 2021 277
Cayman Islands 2021 284
St. Lucia 2021 295
Trinidad and Tobago 2021 297
Pakistan 2021 300
Virgin Islands (U.S.) 2021 302
El Salvador 2021 305
Vietnam 2021 311
Guam 2021 316
Curacao 2021 343
Japan 2021 345
Sri Lanka 2021 358
Grenada 2021 367
Puerto Rico 2021 368
Tuvalu 2021 373
Philippines 2021 382
Belgium 2021 383
Haiti 2021 415
Israel 2021 433
Comoros 2021 441
India 2021 473
Burundi 2021 489
Netherlands 2021 521
Korea, Rep. 2021 530
Rwanda 2021 546
Lebanon 2021 547
San Marino 2021 562
Aruba 2021 592
Nauru 2021 626
Mauritius 2021 634
St. Martin (French part) 2021 639
Barbados 2021 654
West Bank and Gaza 2021 817
Channel Islands 2021 872
Bermuda 2021 1,181
Sint Maarten (Dutch part) 2021 1,260
Bangladesh 2021 1,301
Malta 2021 1,620
Maldives 2021 1,738
Bahrain 2021 1,852
Gibraltar 2021 3,267
Hong Kong SAR, China 2021 7,060
Singapore 2021 7,595
Monaco 2021 17,604
Macao SAR, China 2021 20,806

Data sourced from The World Bank.


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