Are there any statistics or publications on the distribution of word-wide population over the height over sea level of their residence?

  • 1
    "Normalnull ("standard zero") or Normal-Null (short N. N. or NN ) is an outdated official vertical datum used in Germany."... [according to elevation]. Or, [height above sea level].
    – Mazura
    Jul 20, 2022 at 22:21
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    Is "word"-wide supposed to means "world"-wide? Jul 20, 2022 at 23:23
  • Where did your search engines let you down, please? Jul 21, 2022 at 0:58
  • @Mazura the replacement is NHN. One would also write "über NN" = "above NN" instead of just NN
    – SirHawrk
    Jul 21, 2022 at 7:29

1 Answer 1


The paper Hypsographic demography: The distribution of human population by altitude by Joel E. Cohen and Christopher Small looked at exactly this.

The global distribution of the human population by elevation is quantified here. As of 1994, an estimated 1.88 × 109 people, or 33.5% of the world’s population, lived within 100 vertical meters of sea level, but only 15.6% of all inhabited land lies below 100 m elevation. The median person lived at an elevation of 194 m above sea level. Numbers of people decreased faster than exponentially with increasing elevation. The integrated population density (IPD, the number of people divided by the land area) within 100 vertical meters of sea level was significantly larger than that of any other range of elevations and represented far more people. A significant percentage of the low-elevation population lived at moderate population densities rather than at the highest densities of central large cities.

Marginal frequency histograms and cumulative distributions  of number of people by elevation Marginal frequency histograms (filled bars, left ordinates) and cumulative distributions (solid curves, right ordinates) of number of people by elevation (a); occupied land area by elevation (b); number of people by population density (c); and occupied land area by population density (d)

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