Kyle Smith discusses the left’s infatuation with Canada and Justin Trudeau at NRO. As part of the suggestion that these folks take up permanent residence there he says:
It’s not as if there’s no room. Canada is a land of 36 million people spread out over 3.9 million square miles. Among the 100 largest countries on earth, it ranks 99th in population density. Canada is empty.
Unlike Kyle, we are unwilling to start or donate to a Kickstarter campaign to send these folks north.
Sidebar: Well not necessarily north. One of them lived in Detroit and if you go south from Detroit the first country you enter is? Yep, Canada. End Sidebar.
We agree that Canada has lots of room to welcome folks but we wondered about the data. Our first question is: What country is number 100? Our second question is: How did Kyle determine the largest 100 countries?
It is hard to answer the first question without answering the second although it seems likely that Kyle has Australia at 100. It is much like Canada: Big and with a lot of people but very low population density.
It sounds like Kyle means area when he says the 100 largest countries on earth. If that is correct then he is mistaken and there are some interesting definitional problems. Canada is number 230 in population density on this list and second in area on this list. Botswana (231/47), Mauritania (232/29), Nambia (236/34), and Mongolia (239/19) (in addition to Australia (235?/6) are all below Canada and it the top 100 of area. The Aussies get a question mark because they are listed as 236 but they should be 232 by the data presented.
But the results work for population, See this list. It takes a bit of work but Canada is 99 and Australia 100.
The definitional problems are Greenland and Western Sahara. Greenland is:
Greenland is a Danish-occupied territory of Denmark, but Greenland is not a member of the European Union. It is part of the North American continent, and Greenland is the largest island in the world, excluding Australia and Antarctica, which are continents. The prime minister of Greenland is Kim Kielsen.
It is large and if you think it is a country it is by far the one with the lowest population density and it would be the 12th largest country.
has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since the 1960s when it was a Spanish colony. The Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement, with its Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) government, both want control of the territory.
If you think it is a country it is 238/78. That makes it less dense than Canada and still in the top 100 in area.
Three lessons: First, be careful with wording. The 100 largest counties will be interpreted as area. Second, cite your source. Third, it is easy to dispute data and lead to confusion about the point. Whether Kyle’s data is exactly right or not, his point that Canada has lots of space is right. Sensitivity is important.