Interesting Facts About Australia #1

Any of you who have watched my videos about driving down the M1, firstly between Brisbane and Sydney and then from Sydney to Melbourne will already know how quiet these roads are. Why were they so quiet?

I’ll take a guess. The population of Australia is about 20,600,856. The UK would fit into Australia approximately 31 and a half times. About three times as many people live in the UK than live in Australia.

So it really isn’t surprising that the Australian M1 is a great deal quieter and a few million times more enjoyable to drive on than the M1 in the UK.

When I still lived in the UK, there was an article in one of the papers, I think it was the Daily Mail, about populations and density. It was after we had decided to emigrate to Australia but long before we had been granted our permanent residency visas. The picture that went with the article pretty much explains the entire content and I tore it out and pinned it on my wall.

As you can see, according to the article, there are just over 1000 people per square mile in the UK, making it the 5th most densely populated country. But in Australia that figure drops down to seven per square mile. Do you think that would explain why the Australian M1 is quieter than the UK M1?

Mind you, if you think the UK is packed you will want to stay clear of (I can’t believe it’s a real country) Monaco. It would have over 43,000 people per square mile except the country itself is smaller than a square mile. So let’s ignore it.

That would make Singapore, according to my research, the most densely populated country in the world with about 17,000 people per square mile. To live somewhere less densely populated than Australia you would have to move to either Namibia, French Guiana, Mongolia, Western Sahara, the Falkland Islands or Greenland.

It’s not as bad in Britain as The Mail suggests. The UK, according to all the  sources I checked, stands at around the 50th (not 5th) most densely populated country out of a list of 238 countries. These sources also suggests that the figure is 636 people per square mile and not the 1005 quoted by The Daily Mail.

Has The Mail got it wrong, or is it the fault of the CIA World Factbook?

I turned to the Highly Authoritative Times Concise Atlas of the World 10th Edition to check out the size of the UK.

Area Sq Miles: 94,058. (This figure is also agreed by the CIA World Factbook.)

Then I checked out the current population of the UK according to the CIA World Factbook as at July 2009.

Population: 61,113,205.

Therefore, simple algebra and a calculator tell me there are 648 people per square mile. To have 1005 people per square mile, as The Mail suggests, the population would need to be over 94million.

Somebody has made a mistake.

But whatever the case, none of this matters to me. Whichever source you check, I still live in a country that has only seven people per square mile and I love it.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • BobinOz April 1, 2010, 3:39 pm |

    Wow! No-one ever called me a gentleman before. Thank John!

  • JOHN WILKES April 1, 2010, 3:37 am |

    Thanks Bob, you’re a gentleman. I’d already seen the CIA Factbook but didn’t trust their figures which shows the Australian coastline is 25,760 (even though it would roughly be as I’d thought).

  • BobinOz March 31, 2010, 5:47 pm |

    Now it’s me that owes you an apology. My information that “the coastline of mainland UK is around 5,000 miles” looks to be completely wrong. Most sources agree with your figures and I’m not about to take issue with anyone at O.S.

    The CIA Factbook, by the way, says “the length of the UK coastline is around 12,429 km or 7723 miles”, so that’s a significant discrepancy.

    But no matter, I still prefer the Australian coastline, although I do hear some of the beaches in the Hebrides are quite nice this time of year. And you’ll probably match that 7/sq mile figure too!

  • JOHN WILKES March 31, 2010, 10:29 am |

    Bob, I do apologise, I should have told you where my facts came from and the figures I have for the U.K. So here goes. Great Britain, the main island only, has a coastline of 17,820 km. Adding principal islands 31,368km. England only 8,982km. Adding principal islands 10,077km. Wales 2,120km. Adding principal islands 2,740km. Scotland 6,718km. Adding principal islands 18,588. Source : The British Cartographic Society, ( Ordnance Survey , A.A. ) As a Boy Scout I was told to trust in God but to take my Ordnance Survey map as well !

  • BobinOz March 31, 2010, 12:31 am |

    Nice try John, but I’m not buying it. I have no idea where you are getting your statistics from, but from what I understand, the coastline of mainland UK is around 5,000 miles in length. Which is pretty good for a small island thanks to all its little nooks and crannies. But it is only about equal to the coastline of Queensland on its own, forgeting about the rest of all Australia.

    Here’s a quote from my free ebook download “20 Reasons Why YOU Should Move to Australia”. You have read it, haven’t you?

    “Australia has 26,735 kms of coastline with 7,000 beaches. If you include the coastline of Tasmania and some of the larger islands that belong to Australia, it’s actually 47,070 kms of coastline.”

    26,735 kms = about 16,700 miles, that’s three times bigger. Still not as big a difference as one would have thought, but I know which beach I’d rather be on.

    As for population density, Brisbane has 918/km² which is equal to about 2,378/sq mi whereas Manchester has 5,138/sq mi.

    And for those Aussies who do not live in the city, cripes, they got loads of room! You all see for yourself when you get here.

  • JOHN WILKES March 30, 2010, 10:03 am |

    Bob, another interesting fact for you…….But first take a guess. How much longer is the Australian coast than the U.K. Is it 20 times as long, 10 times as long, or a lot less ? I reckon you could win a few bob ( dollars ) Bob on this one.
    The answer is twice as long ( mainland U.k. compared with mainland OZ ). Another thought, 90% of the Australian population live and work in the cities. Why? This means that very few people actually live where there is only 7 per sq.mile
    The actual living and working density is therefore almost that of the U.K. If you list OZ and U.K. cities by population it shows that only London is larger than the corresponding city, Sydney.

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