Article Summary: “The Distribution of Human Population by Altitude” by Cohen & Small


Title: Hypsographic demography: The distribution of human population by altitude
Author: Joel Cohen and Christopher Small
Scope: 3 stars
Readability: 2 stars
My personal rating: 4 stars
See more on my book rating system.

Topic of Book

The authors examines the density of human population by altitude.

Key Take-aways

  • World population is highly constrained by altitude.
  • 73.7% of the world’s population is within 500 vertical meters of sea level.
  • The main exception to this rule is the large populations in the Tropical Highlands of Mexico and the Andes.

Important Quotes from Book

33.5% of world population live within 100 vertical meters of sea level.

Occupied land below 100 m elevation contains a disproportionate percentage of the world’s population compared with other elevations.

In the Northern Temperate zones, 77.3% of the population lives at or below 500 meters altitude, despite the area being only 53.6% of total land area. For the entire world, 73.7% of the population live at or below 500 meters on 57.2%, despite the area being only of the total land area.

The broad bulge centered 1500-3500 meters elevation arises primarily from the Mexican plateau and the south-central Asian highlands.

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