MAPPED - The Yuxi Circle: The World’s Most Densely Populated Area
If you wanted to capture over 55% of the global population inside a circle with a 4,000km radius, which city would you place at its epicenter?
In 2013, a post appeared on Reddit marking a circular area of the globe with “more people living inside this circle than outside of it.” The circle had a radius of 4,000 km (just under 2,500 miles) and was named the Valeriepieris circle after author Ken Myers’ username.
Acknowledging that the Valeriepieris circle is not actually a circle (it was drawn on a two-dimensional map rather than a globe) and is based on data that has become outdated, mapmaker Alasdair Rae went digging and discovered what he calls The Yuxi Circle, the world’s most densely populated area.
Introducing the Yuxi Circle
Rae traced circles around 1,500 cities worldwide to find out how many people lived within a 4,000 km radius, just like the original Valeriepieris circle. He based his calculations on WorldPop data from 2020, based on a global population of 7.8 billion people.
Of the 1,500 circles that Rae made calculations for, 148 contained populations of 4 billion or more. He found many examples in Asia including in China, Myanmar (Mandalay), Laos (Vientiane), Bangladesh (Chattogram), India (Agartala), Bhutan (Thimpu), and Vietnam (Hanoi) to name a few.
But of them all, Yuxi, a city in the Yunnan province of China, has the largest population living within a 4,000 km radius: 4.32 billion.
Put another way? The circle encompasses over 55% of the world’s population, despite including desolate areas like the Taklamakan Desert, the Tibetan Plateau, Mongolia, and Southern Siberia.