For much of my working life I have been based in extremely sparsely parts of the UK. No, not the Highlands, but as close as you can get in England and Wales. Shropshire, Powys and now Herefordshire. Very sparse areas require very different policy approaches to, well, most other parts of the country. It’s hard to get across quite how different these areas are and, I feel, when it has been my task to I have largely failed.

So I’ve tried playing about with some dataviz. Let’s see how it works. The average population density across England and Wales is a rather low 383 people per km2. To demonstrate this here are 383 people in a square.


That’s nice but no-one really lives in an average location.

In Birmingham people live at an average density of 4,100 people per km2. At the same scale as above that looks something like.


And finally to Herefordshire. In Herefordshire we have an average population density of 86 people per km2. Which, in our virtual square kilometre, looks like this.


Which I think makes it look quite different.

But that’s just me.