Canada is a vast country, the world's second biggest after Russia. However, the majority of its 35 million inhabitants reside in a fairly limited region. Follow the sequence of maps below to show how tiny it is. This is a cartogram, which is a map in which the area of each region is replaced with a mapping variable, in this case population. The result is that small regions can be given greater emphasis.
The first map shows Canada's territory according to its own definition, which includes all land and sea territories controlled by Canada's government. The second map shows Canada's total area, which includes all land and sea areas within its borders, even those not controlled by Canada's government. The third map shows Canada's total area as a percentage of its total land area (including Greenland), which is about one-fifth of its total territory.
The fourth map shows Canada's total area as a percentage of its total land area (excluding Greenland), which is about one-third of its total territory.
The fifth map shows Canada's total area as a percentage of its total maritime area (including offshore islands), which is about one-fifth of its total territory.
The sixth map shows Canada's total area as a percentage of its total maritime area (excluding offshore islands), which is about one-third of its total territory.
The seventh map shows Canada's total population, about 34 million people, which is less than half of its total territory.
Canada as a whole has a population density of only 4 persons per square kilometer, ranking it 228th among the world's most densely inhabited countries. The population density is among the lowest in the world, owing mostly to the fact that a large portion of the nation to the north is completely deserted.
The highest population densities are found in small regions within Quebec and Ontario, with 150 persons per square kilometer. By comparison, the United States has a population density of 55 persons per square kilometer.
Canada's largest cities have populations between 100,000 and 500,000 people. Most of these cities were founded before World War II, when many Americans moved to Canada to work on military bases. Today, more than half of all Canadians live in two provinces: Quebec (27%) and Ontario (20%). These two provinces alone account for 70% of Canada's population.
Canada's other six provinces and three territories combined account for the remaining 30% of the population. They include Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
In total, there are 5 million people living in Canada, which makes it one of the most populous countries in the world without having any major city exceeding 250,000 inhabitants.
Almost all the population of Canada lives in two main areas: the Atlantic coast and the prairies.
Why is Canada's population density so low? Approximately 7% of Canada's landmass is arable, with part of it being marginal. People choose to reside in locations with fertile soil. Canada does contain heavily populated places, such as Toronto and Vancouver. However, these cities have significant surrounding areas that are not populated.
Canada's largest city, Toronto, has a population of about 6 million people. But the majority of its residents live in rural areas nearby. Only about 15% of Torontonians actually commute into the city for work; the other 85% use public transportation or drive themselves. This means that only 15% of Toronto's commuters are responsible for bringing in income to support the city's economy.
In comparison, the United States has a much higher population density - about 100 per square mile (39/km2). Although Canada has less land than America, it has more people living here. Why? The answer is simple: there are many benefits to having a large population. Countries need people to run businesses, go to school, take care of the sick, and do many other things that can only be done by individuals or groups.
Large populations also mean more demand for food, goods, and services. This is why Canada needs farmers who grow crops such as wheat, corn, and soybeans. They are the ones who will benefit from which parts of the country become popular with humans.