We are used to see the map of the world in one way for dozens of years. But what if the world could be rearranged in the way so that the people of the country with largest population would move to the biggest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second largest country and so on? How would the modern world map look like?
In the world described by it, the differences in population density between countries would be less extreme than they are today. The world’s most densely populated country currently is Monaco, with 43,830 inhabitants/mi² (16,923 per km²) (1). On the other end of the scale is Mongolia, which is less densely populated by a factor of almost exactly 10,000, with a mere 4.4 inhabitants/mi² (1.7 per km²).
If to follow the described changes, the biggest country in the world Russia would be taken over by it Asian neighbor China, which has the world’s largest population so far. Overcrowded China would not just occupy underpopulated Siberia – a long-time Russian fear – but also fan out all the way across the Urals to Russia’s westernmost borders. China would thus become a major European power. While Russia could easily move to Kazakhstan, which is still considered to be the largest landlocked country in the world.
Canada, the world’s second-largest country, would be transformed into an Arctic, or at least quite chilly version of India, the country with the world’s second-largest population.
However USA wouldn’t actually need to swap the population with another country, as it is the third most inhabited country in the world with population of 310 millions.
And with an area of just over 3.7 million mi² (slightly more than 9.6 million km²), it is also the world’s third largest country (2). Brazil, at number five in both lists, is in the same situation.
Check some of the most interesting swaps that could theoretically take place:
So countries with large population would move to more spacious places, like 94 million Filipinos would no longer need to crowd on the small archipelago but move to the Democratic Republic of Congo instead.
Mongolia in its turn could go to Belgium instead, whose even tinier neighbour Luxembourg is populated by 320,000 Icelanders, no longer enjoying the instant recognition provided by their distinctly shaped North Atlantic island home.
Australia with its 22, 5 million inhabitants could easily occupy Spain, which would be probably the furthest migration ever.
Poor Vietnamese would have to move from hot, tropical climate to the icy Greenland. That would be a really tough challenge to adjust.
Jamaica would still be island-shaped – but landlocked, as the Jamaicans would move to Lesotho, an independent enclave completely surrounded by South Africa – or rather, in this strange new world, South Korea.
British however should relocate to the middle of the Sahara desert and enjoy the neighborhood to Mexico, Thailand and Iran, while Tunisians enjoyed the former British territory.
Some countries only move a few doors down, so to speak. El Salvador gets Guatemala, Honduras takes over Nicaragua, Nepal occupies Birma/Myanmar and Turkey sets up house in Iran. Others wake up in a whole new environment. Dusty, landlocked Central African Republic is moving to the luscious island of Sri Lanka, with its pristine, ocean-lapped shores. The mountain-dwelling Swiss will have to adapt to life in the flood-infested river delta of Bangladesh.
So far some of the countries are really blessed with their current location, but the question is how would the destiny of the countries change in the course of life if these changes were real? For example Iraq that has been destroyed by constant wars and fights over the oil. What if they moved to somewhere else, like the sunny country of Zambia with non-threateing neighbors in the process?
These rearranged maps like in some sort of the game are just a part of the curious cartography, but how strange would it be if it came to reality.