Tim De Chant of Per Square Mile has created the infographic: If the World’s Population Lived Like... You may remember him from his previous graphical illustration, The World’s Population Concentrated for which this one follows. It depicted how much space would be needed to house the entire world’s population based on the densities of various global cities.

However he thought it was missing an important element. He writes;

What’s missing from it is the land that it takes to support such a city. In articles and comments about my infographic, some people overlooked that aspect—either mistakenly or intentionally. They shouldn’t have. Cities’ land requirements far outstrip their immediate physical footprints. They include everything from farmland to transportation networks to forests and open space that recharge fresh water sources like rivers and aquifers. And more. Just looking at a city’s geographic extents ignores its more important ecological footprint. How much land would we really need if everyone lived like New Yorkers versus Houstonians?

De Chant found that data available on the resources consumed by cities is difficult to measure. Methods for collecting data vary from city to city which makes drawing comparisons difficult. To solve this dilemma he found that it was possible to compare different countries and how many resources their people and lifestyles use.

For countries, the differences are far, far greater than for cities. Plus, there’s a data set that allows for reliable comparisons—the National Footprint Account from the Global Footprint Network.

The results are represented in the infographic below.


All quotes and images for this post were sourced from Per Square Mile