The people of the Arab world became a quite influential political voice in recent months, and the outcome of the Arab and the Middle East unrest remains unclear. But the events have put a region back on our mental map of the world that many had only in mind as either a holiday destination or a region to avoid. This picture has clearly changed, and many previously unknown places have become of people’s geographical knowledge. Why some places are more prominently named than others often has a direct link to the human geography of the countries where these recent events unfolded: The countries of the Arab world are characterised by diverse population patterns that draw a very different picture than the normal land areas suggest. Each of the countries human shapes can be seen in the World Population Atlas, which also provides a view of the global population patterns.
A coherent picture of the population patterns in the Arab region is given in the following new gridded population cartogram that I created from the countries of the Arab League member states, in which so far most of the democracy movements unfolded.
The Arab League has 22 member states with an estimated total population of 360 million who live in an area of 13,953,041 square kilometres (data from Wikipedia). The population density of 24.33/sqkm is less meaningful as a single figure. The population map shows that largest population densities concentrate along the coastal areas, while large areas are sparsely populated desert regions. The major population centres in the different countries were often the hotspots of the unfolding protests.
This is the human shape of the Arab world: