I recently appeared on the Comedy Central (Online) series called Josh Investigates in an episode called ‘Is Britain Full?’ starring YouTube star, Josh Pieters.
In a heavily edited video, much of my interview was left out.
Josh Investigates: Is Britain full?
In the video, I stated that England is the third most densely populated major country in the world (after Bangladesh and South Korea).
The producers of Josh Investigates: Is Britain full? disagreed.
They then showed an infographic showing Macau as the most crowded place on earth, with Monaco, Malta, and other tiny islands and micro-states featured.
Although not factually incorrect, some complained that it was misleading to compare these tiny places with major, industrialised nations.
Subsequently, the production staff of Josh Investigates: Is Britain full? replaced their list with another one cobbled together using some figures from the United Nations Population Division, which claims to show the three most crowded countries in the world as:
- South Korea
However, the United Nations does not recognise Taiwan as a country!
The United Nations Population Division lists Taiwan as a province of China.
If we’re going to allow provinces into lists of countries then why not add cities?
London is well over eight times as crowded as Taiwan.
Furthermore, the United Nations Population Division does not have a listing for the population density of England, only the UK.
The UK has 73.9% of its population living in predominately urban areas.
This percentage is the highest in the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
The OECD is an economic organisation with 36 member countries and includes most of the highly developed economies.
Since the vast majority of the British population live in highly urbanised areas, their perception and reality are that of a crowded nation.
So, to answer the question “Is Britain full?”, the reply from most people is: Yes!
Is Britain full?: Tricks of the trade
Those who are in favour of open borders will try some ‘tricks’ to hide the fact that we face overcrowding.
The first ‘trick’ is to always quote the population density of the UK rather than England.
84% of the UK population live in England but adding Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to the calculation of population density is sometimes a deliberate ploy.
This arithmetic ‘slight of hand’ is an attempt to divert attention away from the overcrowding in England.
The second ‘trick’ is to use ‘micro-states’ such as Macau and Monaco in a list of the most overcrowded places on the planet.
Comparing Macau (30 sq km) and Monaco (2 sq km) to England (130,279 sq km) is not comparing like with like.
Just dividing the number of people by the land area of a country is not always the best way to understand population density.
Highly urbanised nations may contain vast swathes of empty land (including farmland).
Most people in these urbanised nations do not experience or live in these ’empty areas’ on a daily basis.
Therefore, their perception and reality are of a crowded, urban area.
So, a more nuanced approach to population density is needed to arrive at a more comprehensive picture.
Instead of comparing Monaco or Macau to England, it may be more meaningful to compare them with urban areas in England.
The island of Malta is often portrayed as the most densely populated place in Europe.
Using a crude arithmetic calculation, Malta does indeed appear more crowded than England.
However, London’s population density is far higher than Malta’s.
Similarly, Glasgow is also far more crowded than Malta.
Even the sleepy town of Bournemouth (4000 per square km) is more crowded than Malta (1562 per square km)!
Monaco usually appears second in a list of the most crowded places in the world (if considering tiny islands and small city-states as well as major countries).
However, there are 46 electoral wards in London with a higher population density than Monaco.
Macau is a special administrative area in China, and Wikipedia describes it as the ‘most densely populated region in the world’.
Macau’s population density is 21,080.6 per square km.
However, there are nine electoral wards in London with a higher population density than Macau:
London Borough of Westminster
- Church Street 28,862.6 per square km
- Bayswater 22,308.9 per square km
- Lancaster Gate 23,795.2 per square km
- Harrow Road 27,559.6 per square km
London Borough of Hackney
- Cazenove 21,470.8 per square km
- Hoxton 21,407.6 per square km
London Borough of Camden
- King’s Cross 21,429.5 per square km
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
- Earls Court 21,573.0 per square km
London Borough of Newham
- Green Street East 23,619.1 per square km
Sweden is the rape capital of Europe
I mentioned that Sweden was the rape capital of Europe.
Josh Investigates then showed an infographic:
The most recently available statistics show England and Wales recorded the highest number of violent sexual offences in Europe.
Although not factually incorrect, the above statistics can be misleading.
The combined population of England and Wales is about 59 million.
The population of Sweden is about 10 million.
To get a more meaningful interpretation of the statistics, we should like at the ‘per capita rate’.
When calculating such a rate, it’s customary to use rates per 100,000.
Sweden recorded the highest number of violent sexual crimes relative to its population,
Sweden: 178 per 100,000
England and Wales: 113 per 100,000
So, women are more at risk of being attacked in Sweden than anywhere else in Europe.
That makes Sweden the rape capital of Europe.