Why Half of Humanity Lives in This Circle

Tomas Pueyo
11 min readJul 30, 2023

More than 50% of the world’s population lives in this circle.
Do you think it’s a coincidence?

Let’s zoom into the region to break down the situation.

India and China together account for 2.8 B people, or 35% of the world’s population.
But many other neighboring countries also have a massive population: Indonesia has 274M, Pakistan 230M, Japan 126M, Philippines 114M… And that’s just those with over 100M people. All these countries together amount to a bit over 50% of the world’s population.

I only show countries above 30M people

The Root of East and South Asian Population

Let’s dive into the biggest ones. First, we have India.

1. India

I analyzed India in depth with Pakistan and Bangladesh in an article about the Indian subcontinent. If you have read the article or thread, or already understand why India is so populous, skip this section. If not, you might want to go there now, or simply follow this short version:

  1. The Indo-Australian plate hits the Eurasian plate

2. The collision raises the land.

3. This creates the biggest mountain range in the world, formed by the Himalayas, Tibet, Hindu Kush, Hengduan Shan…

4. The weight is so heavy that these mountain ranges fall towards the Earth. The regions around it fall with it, becoming flatter, and…

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Tomas Pueyo

2 MSc in Engineering. Stanford MBA. Ex-Consultant. Creator of applications with >20M users. Currently leading a billion-dollar business @ Course Hero