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What volcanoes have the most people living nearby?

The number of people living in proximity to volcanoes has clear volcanic hazards implications, and population datasets help assess volcanic risk. The LandScan population dataset produced by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory apportions census counts to grid cells based on likelihood coefficients incorporating proximity to roads, slope, land cover, nighttime lights, and other data. The LandScan 2008 data set was applied to the Volcanoes of the World database (for publication in Volcanoes of the World, 3rd ed.) to calculate population densities surrounding Holocene volcanoes at radii of 5, 10, 30, and 100 km. The 10 volcanoes with the greatest population at each of those distance ranges are shown in the tables below.

Data also factor population densities at volcanic fields with large numbers of vents over broad areas, oceanic shield volcanoes with large footprints, and large silicic calderas. For volcanic fields, minimum population densities were calculated for those living within a rectangle encompassing the known footprint of the volcanic field or a circle of 20 km (the average radius of database volcanic fields with documented dimensions). Similarly, 20 km minimum radii were used for large oceanic shield volcanoes and large silicic calderas that could erupt from vents in broad areas over their flanks. These data do not account for non-resident visitors to national parks, forests, or other recreational areas in volcanic regions, which form an unknown, but sometimes non-trivial component of persons at risk from volcanic eruptions.


Population within 5 km

Volcano Country Population within 5 km Last Eruption Year
Michoacan-Guanajuato Mexico 5,783,287 1952 CE
Tatun Volcanic Group Taiwan 5,084,149 648 CE
Campi Flegrei Italy 2,234,109 1538 CE
Ilopango El Salvador 2,049,583 1880 CE
Hainan Volcanic Field China 1,731,229 1933 CE
San Pablo Volcanic Field Philippines 1,349,742 1350 CE
Ghegam Ridge Armenia 1,265,153 1900 BCE
Dieng Volcanic Complex Indonesia 1,092,929 2018 CE
Auckland Field New Zealand 1,049,110 1350 CE
Harrat Rahat Saudi Arabia 1,010,115 1256 CE


Population within 10 km

Volcano Country Population within 10 km Last Eruption Year
Michoacan-Guanajuato Mexico 5,783,287 1952 CE
Tatun Volcanic Group Taiwan 5,084,149 648 CE
Campi Flegrei Italy 2,234,109 1538 CE
Ilopango El Salvador 2,049,583 1880 CE
Hainan Volcanic Field China 1,731,229 1933 CE
San Pablo Volcanic Field Philippines 1,349,742 1350 CE
Ghegam Ridge Armenia 1,265,153 1900 BCE
Dieng Volcanic Complex Indonesia 1,092,929 2018 CE
Auckland Field New Zealand 1,049,110 1350 CE
Harrat Rahat Saudi Arabia 1,010,115 1256 CE


Population within 30 km

Volcano Country Population within 30 km Last Eruption Year
Laguna Caldera Philippines 7,073,814 Unknown
Tatun Volcanic Group Taiwan 6,735,396 648 CE
Michoacan-Guanajuato Mexico 5,783,287 1952 CE
Tangkubanparahu Indonesia 5,729,309 2013 CE
Penanggungan Indonesia 4,605,710 Unknown
Ungaran Indonesia 4,595,534 Unknown
Merapi Indonesia 4,348,473 2019 CE
Arjuno-Welirang Indonesia 4,143,137 1952 CE
Chichinautzin Mexico 4,061,942 400 CE
Vesuvius Italy 3,907,941 1944 CE


Population within 100 km

Volcano Country Population within 100 km Last Eruption Year
Gede-Pangrango Indonesia 40,640,105 1957 CE
Salak Indonesia 38,154,252 1938 CE
Perbakti-Gagak Indonesia 36,630,568 1939 CE
Tangkubanparahu Indonesia 32,855,731 2013 CE
Hakoneyama Japan 30,282,197 2015 CE
Papayo Mexico 28,677,002 Unknown
Chichinautzin Mexico 28,030,794 400 CE
Iztaccihuatl Mexico 27,276,280 Unknown
Arayat Philippines 27,216,491 Unknown
Popocatepetl Mexico 26,509,510 2019 CE

List of Questions

Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Volcanoes of the World, v. 4.8.2. Venzke, E (ed.). Smithsonian Institution. Downloaded 19 Aug 2019. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.VOTW4-2013