African population density to surpass Europe’s next year (graph)

A graph from Ryan Briggs (using UN data found here). HT: Aid Thoughts

Population Density tumblr_kps850PrZK1qz80k2o1_r1_400

Briggs also posts this wonderful heat map of population density in Africa that he got from Lee at Roving Bandit (probably the best economics blog in Southern Sudan).

Africa Population Density 2000 heat map

Click the picture to see maps from other decades going back to 1960.

Briggs says, “Charles Kenny has a good  explanation of the African population explosion and how it could happen without large amounts of economic growth.” Kenny summarizes his upcoming book on The Success of Development.


  1. Introduction: Abandon Hope?
  2. The Bad News: Diverging Incomes
  3. The Worse News: It’s Hard To Raise Growth Rates
  4. The Good News: The End Of The Malthusian Trap
  5. The Better News: The Great Convergence In Quality Of Life
  6. The Great News: The Best Things In Life Are Cheap
  7. Drivers Of The Better Life: Innovation, Ideas And Institutions
  8. Policies For The Quality Of Life
  9. The Global Agenda
  10. Conclusion: Realistic Optimism

…and concludes:

Realistic optimism is the right attitude with which to face the issue of development. This is based on a recognition of the challenges still facing the world –significant progress to be made, limits to the likely speed of that progress, and concerns with sustainability. But we should also acknowledge that the rapid and unprecedented improvement in global quality of life over the past fifty years provides some significant grounds for hope about the future. Understanding the causes of this success, and building on existing progress, is a vital part of ensuring that it is sustained.