The map above shows a rather surprising and counterintuitive fact, Europe’s population is not only relatively further north than America’s, but even further north than Canada’s!
To see how this could be true, here are the 5 largest cities (based on greater metropolitan population) in each area ordered from north to south:
- Moscow (Europe) – 55°45′N
- London (Europe) – 51°30′N
- Calgary (Canada) – 51°03′N
- Vancouver (Canada) – 49°15′N
- Paris (Europe) – 48°51′N
- Montreal (Canada) – 45°30′N
- Ottawa (Canada) – 45°25′N
- Toronto (Canada) – 43°42′N
- Boston (USA) – 42°21′N
- Chicago (USA) – 41°50′N
- Istanbul (Europe) – 41°00′N
- New York (USA) – 40°42′N
- Madrid (Europe) – 40°23′N
- Washington DC (USA) – 38°54′N
- Los Angeles (USA) – 34°03′N
The chart at the top of the page shows the percentage of each country’s/continent’s respective population that lives at each latitude. While the data is now 20 years old, the relative population of each latitude is likely fairly similar today as it was in 1995.
Thus, Canada’s mean population of latitude is 7 degrees further south (800km!) than Europe’s. You can leanr more about this from David Taylor’s original blog post: Canada: strong and free, but maybe not as north as you think.
Surprised by the result? Leave your comments below:
Not so brilliant https://plus.google.com/+TomVoute/posts/3hRwoRYtVdY
Joe Pendleton says
I found this very revealing; e.g., that London and Paris were at 51°30′N and 48°51′N, respectively, well north of Chicago (41°50′N) and New York (40°42′N).
As such, I don’t see the need for snide commentary about Moscow (yes, we would all expect it to be far north) and South America (yes, it indeed lies in another hemisphere so it didn’t need a mention). Ironically, replies to your comment in Google+ ignored your critique and those readers found it interesting also.
Hint: Typically when you start typing something like “… ehm…” (“And true, the South American metropolises are even more… ehm…south”) you are about to be a dick, so please reconsider.
The major settlements of the USA, Canada, and Europe all have one major factor in common – access to water, via oceans and/or rivers. Since there aren’t a bunch of major rivers in the northern half of Canada, while there is easy ocean access to all of the northern European nations, the results of this population spread isn’t surprising, at all. Until very recently (in the course of human events), ships and rivers/oceans were the primary way of transporting large groups of people across continents. [An additional bonus from living around large bodies of water is related to their climate-modifying effects on nearby lands – making them cozier than landlocked tundra, in winter.]
Even now, with our huge numbers of railroads and highways, the largest USA, Canadian, and European cities remain located near major ports. Trade is still highly dependent upon water travel, even if people don’t travel via the oceans/rivers as much as they once did. So, if most of northern Canada were as accessible to major bodies of water as northern Europe is, I have no doubt it would be much more heavily populated than it is at present. Just look at the population numbers in relation to their water transportation possibilities and the maps are entirely “intuitive”.
John Bailey says
Jazi Zilber says
1. map is distorting sure to a couple factors Canada looks more North.
2. Europe is warmer due to the golf stream. had you done a similar map by temperatures, you would get closer to intuitive expectations. I think that people perceive Canada to be cold-North rather than map-north
John Cartwright says
Whoever wrote this article doesn’t seem to know what “counterintuitive” means. The position of cities on the two continents is not counterintuitive, it’s obvious.