I'm new to QGIS, always used ArcMap, and I'm struggling to find out how to best display population density at the block group level for a county (the most granular level of detail for census geography). I have the shapefile for the block groups, and I've joined the csv containing my population data per block group to the shapefile, but now I'm at a loss on:

  1. how to best display the population density
  2. the method for executing the task in QGIS

Most of the block groups have populations ranging from 25-100 people. Would it be best to have 1 dot equal 25 people per census block? How do I create this type of map in QGIS? Any suggestions?

3 Answers 3


Use Vector -> Research Tools -> Random Points Inside Polygons.

Select the variable, which contains the number of people in each Block (=polygon) under expression. leave sampling strategy untouched at point counts.


Unfortunately, you can't set dot density style in QGIS (for now, I hope) as easily as you can do in ArcGIS. You can do it by creating a new Point layer. Do not expect any hope from style window.

You can follow instructions in Creating a statistical dot density map with QGIS


Plugins -> Manage and install plugins -> install 'Dot Map' Plugin.

view -> toolbar -> dot map, then click on the dot map tool visible above where we add layers and then you could do it.

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