Assessing the changes of the population living throughout the most seismically hazardous area (MSHA) constitutes an important foundation for seismic risk assessment. However, the changes of the population living in the MSHA of Asia, which exhibits the highest number of earthquake related fatalities, were poorly understood. Therefore, this study analyzed the changes of the population in the MSHA between 2000 and 2015 at the continental, subcontinental, and national scales. We found that the population, especially the vulnerable population (i.e., children under or equal to the age of 14 and elderly people over or equal to the age of 65), in Asia’s MSHA increased rapidly between 2000 and 2015. The population in the MSHA increased by 185.88 million with a growth rate of 20.93%, which was 3.38% greater than that in the non-MSHA region. Meanwhile, the vulnerable population in the MSHA increased by 63.65 million with a growth rate of 19.73%. The increase of the vulnerable population in the MSHA was 19.93% greater than that in the non-MSHA region. We also found that urban population growth was a major factor impacting the increase in both the population and the vulnerable population throughout Asia’s MSHA. Therefore, attention should be paid to the changes of the population in Asia’s MSHA, whilst it is imperative to execute strict building codes and select the development location more carefully in the MSHA.
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