Top 10 Most Populated Countries 100 Years Ago

Top 10 Most Populated Countries 100 Years Ago

. 8 min read

Earth is the home of human beings ever since its inception. Beginning with Adam and eve and ending with a large number of people that followed them. Today, people are of the opinion that the population is increasing at a quick pace in the fast, global and modern 21st century High advancement of technology and a falling death rate with a rising birth rate are considered as one of the major reasons for increase in the population. These days availability of high power medicines are playing a key role in the increasing trend of population. Majority of people have an idea that the scenario of populated countries was never before. A reality check says that population has always been increasing whether its today or centuries ago. Population usually refers to the number of people who are located in a country, state or a city. Many people have a notion that earlier there were less people who existed which gave rise to lesser crimes, lesser worries and empty roads. Surprisingly, there were many countries then which had just many inhabitants staying there. Populations in these countries were far beyond the estimation people had in those days. They were famous for their busy roads, crowded places and a huge population. Here is the list of the ten most populous countries a century ago:

10. Italy

italy populationYes, the land of pizza’s and spaghetti’s was one of the most populated countries a century ago. 100 years back the population of Italy was 35.2 million, making a position for itself in the list of the most populated countries then. This was the highest number of people living in the country recorded 100 years back. Being one of the busiest work place and a commercial hub for many it stood as a convenient ground for many migrates as well. There reached a level where in the economy was divided into two different phases only because of the ever increasing population. The first phase was considered as positive view and second was considered as the negative view. The first phase was regarded as strength and was marked as a medium to advance and grow the economy in various ways whereas the second phase was considered to be one of the most threatening economic factors of the era. All these viewpoints together made Italy as one of the  most populated countries 100 years ago.

9. France

France PopulationHistorically, France was considered as one of the largest nations of Europe. This large nation had a large number of populations as well. At the initial stages of the 20th century France was considered as one of the best tourist places of the era. There used to be regular visitors throughout the year. Many people started to move towards France thinking that there would a good source of income from this tourist place which thereby kept on increasing the number of migrants and their families. The early years of the 20th century faced a large population from immigration. However, moving in of migrants didn’t affect the populous of this country to a large extent. The population of this country was still balanced but it increased sharply with the start of the World War II. The start of the Second World War brought about immediate effects in the sudden and excessive growth in the population of this French country.

8. UK

UK population

The end of the nineteenth century and the start of the twentieth saw tremendous strong growth in terms of population of UK. There were three million and above people residing in London in 1861 which shockingly doubled to over seven million by the 1913s. Exactly 100 years back London was the immigrant hubs for many. UK was considered as the third least populous country as London overshadowed all other British and almost all European countries in the 20th century and continued maintaining the same position for next two and half centuries. The start of 20th century witnessed the largest competitors of the already grown population of the UK. London already had a remarkable population of half a million which further increased to an extremely large number of over seven million in 1913. This trend of population growth was not steady, nor was it due to any single factor. UK was marked as one of the most populous country because of a very efficient man force and a productive number of youth population mainly women who were drawn to the capital by household sectors.

7. Japan

Japan Population

The land of the rising sun ranked 7th in the top most populated countries 100 years ago. The total area of the Great Japan was 162, 665 sq miles. 1913 witnessed a total population of 49,092,000 inhabitants. The population of this country grew at an ever increasing rate because of the ever growing human force as well as the rising work performance and great production abilities of the labor sector in the industries. Short span of two eras’s witnessed the working age of Japan’s population increase rapidly. The productivity capacity of the Japanese was pretty high and commendable. Thus, acting as a determining force for this labor intensive nation. Large number of people in the industrial sectors have increased the population of Japan to a very large extent because more and more people were employed to match the growing needs of the developed economy then. The advancements of Japan have attracted a large number of migrants who have migrated from different places to reside or work in Japan. Therefore, leading to high population a century ago makes for itself a place in the top ten populated countries 100 years ago.

6. Austro-Hungarian Empire

Austria Hungary PopulationDating back to a good 100 years ago Austria-Hungary was considered as a multinational platform and one of the world’s powerful nations of its time.  This country was considered as the second largest country of the European nations and was the sixth most populous country. Population of Austro- Hungarian Empire was 33 million in 1913. This country had marked an ever increasing trend in the population of the Austro – Hungarian Empire. One of the reasons of the sudden increase in the population of Hungary was that people from the Asian countries were moving towards European nations passing from the easy Turkey-Balkan-Austrian route. Many moved towards the northern side what is now Germany and many chose to move westward what is now France. But those who did not have the courage to live their lives in the north or to the west due to varied climatic conditions stayed in between what was then and now Austria-Hungary.

5. Germany

Germany Population

The country of beers and great architecture was and is till date one of the highly populated countries in the world. One century ago it held a population of over 10 million people. Germany witnessed a sudden increase in its population, due to economic factors like a considerably huge number of immigrants from neighboring countries and greater employment opportunities in Germany at that time. Also many individuals stayed in Germany since birth since then have been residing there. Being the heart of the European nations this country is really huge holding a large number of people as well. This phase of growing population in the early 20th century was known as “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics”. One of the important reasons for this growth was because Germany was getting a lot of out- migration than the in migrations. However, Germany made an excellent use of the manpower it had. Germany went on to form the world’s most remarkable and strongest army and navy teams.

4. USA


Being the 4th most populated countries in the world US had the population of 97,225,000 a century ago. The provinces of Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee were very highly populated than California. Majority of inhabitants resided and went on to live for generations in these provinces thereby increasing the population count. California was considered was the 21st most populous state then even when it had a meager population of 1.4 million. USA’s California was one of the fastest growing states as there was a declining rate that took e of death rate and an ever increasing birth rate. Immigration of people to the US in the 1900 gave rise to the sudden growth of population. After numerous researches and studies, it is claimed that the birth rates of US were pretty high in comparison to any other states of the US and countries. Countries like Canada and England were also comparatively less in population as the fertility rates of US was 35 percent which was a reasonably high figure.

3. Russia


Soviet Russia was very populous in the 20th century. Thereby, making place in the third most populous countries 100 years back. Russia was populated by 168.5 million people during the year of 1913. This country had a huge labor capital there making it a labor intensive nation. Russia being a large economy had many people who resided there since its inception and continued to live there for generations on end. There were a large number of migrants that moved towards Russia because of the declining poverty of this nation. Soviet Russia was well known for great government policies that it had thereby leaving very little room for poverty and meager financial crises.

2. India


This land of cultures and people was and till today remains as the second most populated country in the world. The tremendous rise of population in India had ample of reasons like large families, large number of children, lack of education, need for a male child, early marriage etc. Such factors together gave rise to a large number of population. People then were unaware about the family planning techniques and various contraceptives that could give the country a controlled population. Another major reason for high population growth was the fact that India was an underdeveloped country. The poor people gave birth to many offspring’s so that their children can begin working at an early age and support the family. Gender discrimination was very much relevant those days. Couples continued giving birth to children until they got a son. Above all, superstitions were the major reasons for the country being over populated. People were of the belief that children are a gift of god and hence, abortion is criminal. All such factors combined together gave the population of 25, 70,580 even at 1913.

1. China


There has always been a tough competition between China and India in terms of population. However China continues to remain as the world’s most populated country throughout the globe. The population of China keeps on increasing at a quick pace thereby making first place in the top ten populated countries. 100 years back too it was the most populous country holding around 43, 71,400 number of people then. The huge availability of land in china was one of the driving factors of for the increasing trend in population even then. China’s population did not rise suddenly but it was always a big one. Initially, China comprised of poor people and a non mechanized economy. Poor people gave birth to large number of children which meant large number of working hands within a span of few years. Poverty was also one of the reasons that rise to increase in population. Large land areas, poverty and rural economies were the major reasons of high population in 1913.


Part of the womstreet editing team, Laura is from the UK and has keen interests in Business, entertainment, home, design and culture.