Representing Population on a Map

Choropleth Maps

A choropleth map can be used to represent population data. A choropleth map uses colours or shading to represent population data. Choropleth maps are divided into administrative units, such as districts or parishes. The population density for each administrative unit is calculated. Then each administrative unit is coloured or shaded according to its population density. Choropleth maps are useful for showing differences in population densities of different administrative units. However they do not show the variations in population density that exist within these administrative units. Study the map of Jamaica below.

Jamaica is divided into administrative units called parishes. (Image by TUBS and used under this creative commons license)


Click the link below to see a choropleth map of Jamaica. Which parishes have the highest population densities?

Choropleth map of Jamaica


Dot Maps

Dot maps can also be used to represent population data. On a dot map, each dot represents a certain number of people. Dots are placed according to the number of people who live in an area. There are more dots in densely populated areas and fewer dots in places which are sparsely populated. A dot map gives a good idea of how the population is distributed in an area. Dot maps are also easy to read. Look at the map of Jamaica again and locate the parish of Portland. Then click the link below to see a dot map of Jamaica. Do most of the residents of Portland live near the coast or further inland?

Dot map of Jamaica



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