Posted on September 30, 2014
Celebrate Botswana today. Did you know that, ever since its 1966 independence from the United Kingdom, it has had uninterrupted democratic elections?
Can I get a hooray??
In some ways, Botswana doesn't look so very great on paper. It's landlocked, which means that it has no direct access to an ocean or sea. It's mostly desert – the Kalahari, to be exact. It's pretty flat. It's sparsely populated. One of its borders is poorly defined, even – usually a recipe for battles with neighbors. (In this case, Botswana's northern border with Zambia is only a few hundred meters - less than a mile – long!)
It has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and THE highest Human Development Index rating in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Also, there are some areas in which there are diverse wildlife, including the world's largest concentration of African elephants.
Dense and sparse population
Some nations are very small, land-wise, and although their populations are also small, the population is dense. In other words, a lot of people are concentrated together in a small region. Two great examples of this are Singapore and Hong Kong.
Other countries have cities in which there is this sort of dense population – but there are also huge tracts of land with no people, often no roads, even. Those countries have what is called sparse populations – because if you could spread all the people out evenly, across the whole country, the people would be few and far between.
Some great examples of sparsely populated nations are Canada, with its frozen tundra and forested mountains, and Mongolia.
Here are some numbers you can compare. These statistics tell us how many people would be standing in each and every square mile of land, if you spread the people out evenly:
Hong Kong: 16,983
South Korea: 1,303
United Kingdom: 679
United States: 84
How many people, do you think, does Botswana have per square mile?
It turns out that Botswana's population density is about the same as Canada's, with about nine people per square mile.
- Learn more about Botswana's food here.
- Obviously, not all of Botswana is desert. Check out this gorgeous gallery of photos, largely featuring the Okavango Delta.
- Check out the video on the National Geographic website.
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