I am trying to make a world population density Choropleth map (country level).

The data I am using is publicly available on World Development Indicators website.

Pretty much, I have an excel file with one column for country name and the other column for population density.

I want to create a simple world map but I have very minimal experience in using QGIS (I have a mac). I tried using google maps but rather than shading, it places markers on the maps.

I want something simple that looks like this: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Gl7YYBhOuwI/TmQPm7qrnuI/AAAAAAAAAAU/lslkxp8OZ4w/s1600/choropleth+map+world.jpg

and has a nice scale which shows what the max and min population density are.

Can you guys direct me to any good resources on this? (Keep in mind that I have very little experience with QGIS)

What would be the best way to make such a map?

P.S. I know I am a noob :( . Can someone please direct me towards some good introductory resources for using QGIS/ArcGIS and mapping software in general? This will really help me with my job.

  • A very similar question was recently asked here, and in my answer I linked to a tutorial on the process and a few additional resources for QGIS you might find helpful.
    – Chris W
    Sep 21, 2014 at 20:05

1 Answer 1


You'll need to join the tabular data to a shapefile of the world's political boundaries, based on a common field (preferably, a 3 letter ISO code). You can download such a layer here

For more help on join or tabular join as it is sometimes called, you can search gis.stackexchange, or general GIS manuals.

After the join operation, you can style and symbolize the resulting map based on the population density value for each country polygon, to create a coropleth map/

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