I need a rough estimate of how many people live in each "cell" of the Earth.

For instance, how many people live in the cell between latitudes 70/80 and longitudes 210/220?

  • Exact number is not important. I would be satisfied with a 0/100/10k/100M estimate.
  • I wrote "living" but that could be "working/etc" or "passing through", these are acceptable too.
  • Any format is OK, even a raster image or a big CSV file.
  • The cells should be at most 10 degrees * 10 degrees, as seen in the map below. The more precise the better.

enter image description here

Context: I am writing software that needs to spend more time on areas where more people live.


2 Answers 2


Please see this one: http://ghslsys.jrc.ec.europa.eu/data.php

The Global Human Settlement Layer

Landsat data from 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2014 were processed and analysed in order to produce three different GHS products:

  • one on population (GHS-POP),

  • one on built-up areas (GHS-BUILT),

  • one city model dataset (GHS-SMOD).

Data is open and free, with 250 metre resolution.

What is inside:

example for NY

via Stats, Maps n Pix


I believe the UN WPP Adjusted Population Density v4.10 may work for your purposes.

To provide estimates of population density for the years 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020, based on counts consistent with national censuses and population registers with respect to relative spatial distribution, but adjusted to match United Nations country totals.

The granularity is at a pretty fine resolution.

To enable faster global processing, and in support of research communities, the 30 arc-second adjusted count data were aggregated to 2.5 arc-minute, 15 arc-minute, 30 arc-minute and 1 degree resolutions.

The link below is to a few different population estimates, including the one described above.


  • Yes. That seemed like the best of the options available. Hope it helps. =) Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 4:15

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