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Retiring to Paradise

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Charlie is hoping to retire soon. When he does, he would like to get away from it all and move to a country where he could have a lot of space and not feel overcrowded.

Alison has different plans for her retirement. She wants to live somewhere where there will be plenty of activity and she can make lots of new friends.


Here are some population data for eight countries they could move to.
From these data, what advice would you give Charlie and Alison about where each should settle?


Country Population
A 1 366 718 000
B 158 571 000
C 138 740 000
D 61 017 000
E 21 767 000
F 21 284 000
G 4 692 000
H 3 536 000


"Hang on, this only tells me how many people live in the country altogether! I need to know how big each country is too!"

Here is the total land area for each country.
Would you change your advice to Charlie and Alison, based on these data?


Country Total land area (sq km)
A 9 596 961
B 143 998
C 17 098 242
D 301 340
E 7 741 220
F 54 610
G 323 802
H 65 300


Below are some more data that Charlie and Alison have collected about the eight countries (you can download it in a spreadsheet here).

Analyse the data, and send us your choice of country for each of them, together with a clear explanation of why you think the data support your choices.


Country Percentage of population living in urban areas Percentage of land covered by urban areas Uninhabitable land (sq km)
A 48 2.00 1 919 392
B 29 4.50 14 400
C 74 1.50 854 912
D 67 1.70 3 013
E 88 0.30 5 418 854
F 14 2.30 13 653
G 82 0.14 226 661
H 62 0.88 3 265


What other data might it be useful for Charlie and Alison to have, in order to make their decision?