Choropleth maps

Choropleth maps are the fancy name given to maps which show information using colour.

In the example below, different shades of one colour are used to show the population density. This is the number of people that live in an area. The darker shades represent high numbers of people in an area and the lighter shades represent low numbers of people.

A choropleth map needs a key to explain what the different shades mean.

Chloropleth map showing global population density. Degrees of density are categorised by colour and explained in a key below the map.World population density

  • Sparsely populated (yellow) – few people live here
  • Moderately populated (browny/orange) – a medium number of people live here
  • Densely populated (dark orange) – lots of people live here
A world map labelling the continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, Antarctica, Africa, South America and North AmericaWorld continents

Compare the map above the population density map at the top of the page. Name the continents that fit the following descriptions:

  1. sparsely populated in the middle of the continent
  2. mostly moderately populated
  3. mainly densely populated
  4. entirely sparely populated
  1. Australasia
  2. Asia
  3. Europe
  4. Antarctica