THE POPULATION DENSITY OF LANDLOCKED STATES AND
WORLD POPULATION DENSITY: A COMPARISON
by Ivgota Rita Raport

ABSTRACT

Generalizations have stated that population clusters around coasts, rivers, and lowlands. From this, the hypothesis that landlocked states have a lower than average population density was proposed. Several sources were checked to determine the average world population density was around 92 people per square mile. An atlas and a world almanac were consulted to locate landlocked states and their population densities. The mean population density for the landlocked states was calculated, and this figure compared to the mean world population density. No statistical tests of significance were undertaken. The mean population density of landlocked states was found to be 205.8 people per square mile. Thus, the hypothesis was rejected.
 

INTRODUCTION

Statement of the Problem

Demography, the study of population, is an important subfield of geography. Examination of the population distribution and reasons for this distribution are often considered geographic themes. One common generalization is that population clusters around coasts, rivers, and lowlands which can be substantiated by examination of population dot maps. While population density varies dramatically within many political units, this is an often used figure to examine the relationship between population and area. Many states contain coastal areas, and only a few are considered landlocked. These landlocked states might, thus be expected to have lower than average population densities. The population density of landlocked states was compared to the average population density of the world.
 

Significance of the Problem

Population is a major geographic concern, and an understanding of the spatial distribution of population is helpful in examining many diverse geographic problems. Transportation for landlocked states is particularly at risk because of the geopolitical balances and lead to military aggression or oppression. Strength in numbers is sometimes a political factor. A better understanding of the demography of landlocked states can contribute to an understanding of the rise, perpetuation, and fall of the political units. 

Purpose

The issue of population density of landlocked states was examined in order to better understand their demography as related to the more numerous coastal states. Furthermore, the common generalization about population being concentrated near coasts was, in part, tested. 

Statement of Hypothesis

The hypothesis tested was the mean population density of landlocked states is lower than the mean population density of the world. The null hypothesis was the mean population density of landlocked states is the same as the mean population density of the world. 

Assumptions and Limitations

Although one data source was used for the mean population densities of the landlocked states, such a data base itself represents a compilation of data. Dates generally were given as 1989 estimates; however, that these data were comparable was assumed.

The accuracy and completeness of statistical data such as population density is always an important concern and results in sometimes unknown limitations. Population density is an average figure itself and can be extremely misleading, especially for areas as large as states. Examination of population of major inland rivers and lowlands was not attempted so that the generalization about population distribution which includes rivers and lowlands may have caused inclusion of the landlocked states into the higher population density classification. 

Definitions

Population densities in people per square mile were used. Landlocked states were defined as states without oceanic coastline or access to the ocean through water bodies such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, or the Persian Gulf. Thus, Zaire, Jordan, and Romania were not considered landlocked. A state was defined as a political unit listed as a state by the data source.
 

Ethical Considerations

The key question concerned comparison of statistical data from secondary data sources. Human subjects were not directly involved. This study should not invoke significant emotional or risk factors. Because of these characteristics, this study did not require review by the Institutional Review Board.
 

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

[The review of related literature gives the reader the necessary background to understand the study by citing the investigations and findings of previous researchers and documents the researcher's knowledge and preparation to investigate the problem. This section is not required for the G110 assignment.]
 

DESIGN OF THE STUDY

Sources of Data

The world population density was obtained, first, from two different world regional geography textbooks, Jackson and Hudman(1) and Wheeler and Kostbade.(2) This figure was checked with figures from a world almanac edited by Hoffman(3) and Haub, Kent, and Yanagishita.(4) A Nystrom atlas(5) was used to locate the states and determine which category, landlocked or coastal, best described each. The mean population densities of each landlocked state were obtained from the average population density figures given in the "Nations of the World" listing of The World Almanac.(6) 

Sampling Procedures

All states listed in the data bank were located in the Nystrom World Atlas;(7) thus, no random sampling procedures were utilized. The states examined were a complete sample by the definitions used in "Nations of the World."(8) 

Description of Procedures

World regional geography textbooks were consulted to locate the average world population density figures, and then the world area and world population figures were used to derive it directly as confirmation. Next, the individual state listings in "Nations of the World"(9) were examined. Each state was located using the atlas and categorized as either coastal or landlocked. If it was landlocked, its name and population density were recorded. 

Methods and Instruments of Data Gathering

A list of landlocked states and their population densities was compiled. After completion of this list, the world political map(10) was reexamined to locate all landlocked states and check that each was included on the list. 

Statistical Treatment

Upon completion of this procedure, the number of landlocked states on the list were counted and recorded. The average population densities of each of the states were added, this sum was recorded, and the sum was divided by the number of landlocked states to obtain a mean population density for landlocked states. Finally, a comparison was made between the mean population density of landlocked states and the mean population density of the world. If the former figure were the higher, the hypothesis would have been rejected; but if it were the lower, the hypothesis would have failed to be rejected. No formal tests of significance were undertaken. 

ANALYSIS OF DATA

The Jackson and Hudman text stated:

The estimated population of the world in 1990 is about 5.3 billion. If they were evenly distributed over the land area of the earth (including Antarctica), there would be approximately 92 persons per square mile (35.5 per square kilometer) of land area.(11)

The Wheeler and Kostbade text gives the average population density as 89 people per square mile.(12) Figure 1 shows the calculations derived from the use of Hoffman's(13) figure for world land area and the world population figure given by Haub, Kent, and Yanagishita.(14) This resulted in a mean population density of 93 people per square mile. These figures were considerably close and the range of 89-93 people was accepted as the mean world population density.

In the identification of landlocked states, only one difficulty was encountered. The Vatican City was listed as a state; however, no population density was given.(15) It was assumed no one is truly a citizen of the state, not even the Pope, and thus, they are represented elsewhere. It was, therefore, excluded from the analysis. The appendix lists the 29 landlocked states and their population densities. Figure 2 shows the calculations made in determining the mean population densities of the landlocked states. The mean population density of the landlocked states was determined to be 205.8 persons per square mile. The difference between the mean population density of the land locked states and the mean world population density is between 112.8 and 116.8. (See Figure 3.) The mean population density of the landlocked states was more than twice that of the mean world population density. (See Figure 4.) It might be noted by examination of the appendix, that 14 of 29 states have a mean population density of less than 100 persons per square mile. If the definition of average had been mode rather than mean, the conclusion may have been different. 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

Restatement of the Problem

Population has been said to cluster along coasts, rivers, and lowlands. This might indicate a low population density for landlocked states. The hypothesis, the mean population of landlocked states is lower than the mean population density of the world, was tested. 

Description of the Procedures

Two sources for the average world population density and its computation from source data were used to determine the mean world population density.(16) A data base provided a list of states and their population densities from an almanac.(17) With the combined assistance of an atlas,(18) a list of landlocked states and their population densities was compiled. The total number of landlocked states were counted, the sum of the densities was determined, and by division of these figures, the mean population density of landlocked states was calculated. The two means were compared, and the hypothesis tested.

Major Findings

The world population density was determined to be between 89 and 93 people per square mile while the 29 landlocked states had a mean population density of 205.8 people per square mile, or more than twice the mean world population density. Therefore, the hypothesis that landlocked states have a lower mean population density than the mean population density of the world was rejected. 

Conclusions

Landlocked states do not have a lower mean population density than the coastal nations. While this may at first seem indicated by common broad generalizations, other complexities may predominate. The generalization also includes rivers and lowlands as areas of population concentration. For example, Paraguay and Hungary are both lowlands, and Paraguay and Switzerland are on important rivers. Furthermore, some landlocked states are near to coasts, even though they do not possess shorelines. Examples include San Marino and Swaziland. These would be considered coastal in a dot map examination. Close examination of the data indicates that almost half of the landlocked states do have population densities below the average. Thus, while no direct relationship exists to support the simplistic statement, closer examination may help strengthen it and build toward an improved understanding of these population distributions. 

Recommendations for Further Investigation

Investigation of other influences on the population densities of landlocked states would be helpful and provide testable hypotheses. Using modes and medians rather than means might also show substantiation of the generalizations.

Beyond this direct problem two other areas of investigation were suggested. One potential hypothesis would be that the mean gross national product of landlocked states is less than the mean gross national product of the world. Another area of potential investigation is the population density of islands. A possible hypothesis might be the mean population density of island states is higher than the mean world population density. Many areas of investigation concerning population density remain to be examined. 

FIGURES





APPENDIX
LANDLOCKED STATES AND THEIR POPULATION DENSITIES(19)
 
State 
Population Density
Afghanistan 
65
Andorra
 302
Austria 
233
Bhutan 
84
Botswana 
5
Burkina Faso 
72
Burundi 
468
Central African Republic 
12
Chad 
11
Czechoslovakia 
317
Hungary 
293
Laos 
42
Lesotho 
143
Liechtenstein 
483
Luxembourg 
369
Malawi 
176
Mongolia 
3
Nepal 
334
Niger 
15
Paraguay 
28
Rwanda 
715
Swaziland 
112
Switzerland 
406
Uganda 
180
Zambia 
26
Zimbabwe 
66
 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
 
Haub, Carl, Kent, Mary Mederios, and Yanagishita, Machiko. 1991 World Population Data Sheet. Washington, D.C.: Population Reference Bureau, 1991.
 
"Nations of the World." In The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990, pp. 685-772. Edited by Mark S. Hoffman. New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989.
 
Hoffman, Mark S., ed. The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990. New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989.
 
Jackson, Richard H., and Hudman, Lloyd E. World Regional Geography: Issues for Today. 3rd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1990.
 
Kania, Matthew V., Project Director. World Atlas: A Resource for Students. Chicago: Nystrom, 1990.
 
Wheeler, Jr., Jesse H., and Kostbade, J. Trenton. World Regional Geography. Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing, 1990.

1. Richard H. Jackson and Lloyd E. Hudman, World Regional Geography: Issues for Today, 3rd. ed., (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1990), pp. 77.

2. Jesse H. Wheeler, Jr. and J. Trenton Kostbade, World Regional Geography (Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing, 1990), p. 49.

3. Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989), p. 539.

4. Carl Haub, Mary Mederios Kent, and Machiko Yanagishita, 1991 World Population Data Sheet (Washington, D.C.: Population Reference Bureau, 1991).

5. Matthew V. Kania, Project Director, World Atlas: A Resource for Students (Chicago: Nystrom, 1990).

6. "Nations of the World," pp. 685-772, in Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989).

7. Matthew V. Kania, Project Director, World Atlas: A Resource for Students (Chicago: Nystrom, 1990).

8. "Nations of the World," pp. 685-772, in Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989).

9. "Nations of the World," pp. 685-772, in Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989).

10. Matthew V. Kania, Project Director, World Atlas: A Resource for Students (Chicago: Nystrom, 1990).

11. Richard H. Jackson and Lloyd E. Hudman, World Regional Geography: Issues for Today, 3rd. ed., (New York: John Wily & Sons, 1990), pp. 77.

12. Jesse H. Wheeler, Jr. and J. Trenton Kostbade, World Regional Geography (Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing, 1990), p. 49.

13. Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989), p. 539.

14. Carl Haub, Mary Mederios Kent, and Machiko Yanagishita, 1991 World Population Data Sheet (Washington, D.C.: Population Reference Bureau, 1991).

15. "Nations of the World," p. 767, in Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989).

16. See Richard H. Jackson and Lloyd E. Hudman, World REgional Geography: Issues for Today, 3rd ed., (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1990), pp. 77, and Jesse H. Wheeler, Jr. and J. Trenton Kostbade, World Regional Geography (Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishing, 1990), p. 49 for the published figures.

17. "Nations of the World," pp. 685-772, in Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989).

18. Matthew V. Kania, Project Director, World Atlas: A Resource for Students (Chicago: Nystrom, 1990).

19. "Nations of the World," pp. 685-772, in Mark S. Hoffman, ed., The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1990 (New York: World Almanac, An Imprint of Pharos Books, 1989).