Can anyone recommend a good source for high-resolution georeferenced population data? I know that Natural Earth Data's Cultural Vectors e.g. contain the population per country. However, I am looking for georeferenced global population data with a higher resolution than on a country level. Obviously, Wikipedia and other sources feature data for some country's states or cities but is there a database (ideally) georeferenced which features such data on a global level?

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    $\begingroup$ Voting to close as off-topic because this is not about earth science. (try the GIS stackexchange, if they allow such questions?) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Simon, this is more a GIS-related question. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 12:24
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    $\begingroup$ To some extent I agree with Simon and Jean-Marie; on the other hand, however, high resolution population data are widely used for earth surface modeling, therefore the question might be somehow relevant for the community. $\endgroup$
    – Nemesi
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


For "historical" population data, you can refer to the Gridded Population of the World (GPW), version 4. This dataset makes available estimates of population at ~1 km resolution (30 arc second) for the years 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2020.

The GPWv4 was also used by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre for the Global Human Settlement project. This dataset makes available residential population estimates for target years 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2015 at 250m and 1km spatial resolution.

If you also need future projections, you can refer to the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) scenarios downscaled by Murakami and Yamagata (2019), available here, or by Jones and O'Neill (2016), made available through the ISIMIP project portal.


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