With its diminutive size, Luxembourg should be grateful it even occupies a lonely pixel on this cartogram, which shows what the world looks like based on nations’ populations.
Created by Reddit user TeaDranks, the graphic consists of tiny squares, each of which represents 500,000 people. With 520,672 people according to July 2014 estimates in the CIA World Factbook, Luxembourg barely makes the cut.
The gist of the map, and a story that an NPR blogger who wrote about the cartogram, is that some countries with huge swaths of land have smaller than expected populations (see Russia, especially Canada), India’s population has almost caught up with China’s, the United States houses only 5 percent of the world’s total population, and some cities in Asia boast populations larger than certain European countries — yes, yes, Luxembourg is definitely one of those.
For instance, the city of Shanghai in China is home to a population that hovers around 24 million. That’s 48 times the population size of Luxembourg. Shanghai also covers 2,400 square miles, whereas the entire Grand Duchy only has a hold on 998 square miles of land. Although the city of Shanghai includes more area, that doesn’t mean Luxembourg has a greater population density — astronomically far from it, actually. For every square mile in Luxembourg, there is approximately 521 people, give or take. In Shanghai, for every square mile of land, the range can be anywhere from 2,500 to 119,860 people per square mile, the latter being found in the “Inner Core” of the megacity.
So, one could easily fit one-fifth of the entire population of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg into a square mile of the downtown area of Shanghai. In terms of land mass, one could squeeze about two and a half Luxembourgs in the city limits of Shanghai.
But this comparison is unfair: After all, Shanghai is not only the most populous country in China but also the world. I mean, come on. Would you really want to give up this gorgeousness:
For this mess of shiny towers and rampant air pollution?
Nah. We wannabe and recently converted Luxembourgers don’t need no fancy-pants skyscrapers.
Maybe if we all hurry up and complete our dual-citizenship projects, we’ll get Luxembourg nearer to the 100,000-person mark, and then when we surpass that oh-so-riveting milestone, the prime minister and grand duke can declare a national week of state-mandated and -subsidized drinking of Diekirch Grand Cru.