Thursday, January 22, 2009

Overpopulation continued

I have often heard a claim that all the people in the world could fit into Texas with room to spare. First in 1997 and then many many times since. A friend recently stated that he did not believe that those numbers were accurate, so I decided to check out this oft-made claim for myself.

According to the Texas Almanac, the state's area contains 261,797 square miles of land.

1 square mile = 27,878,400 square feet.

261,797 x 27,878,400 = 7,298,481,484,800 square feet of land in Texas.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total midyear population of the world in 2009 will be 6,790,062,216.

7,298,481,484,800 / 6,790,062,216 = 1,074 square feet of land in Texas per person in the world in 2009.

So, there you have it. All the people in the world could fit into Texas with a fair amount of room for moving around.

Now, I doubt anyone intends this numerical exercise as a practical suggestion for what is to be done with the world's population. I suspect that if we piled the whole world into Texas most people would be dead within a month.

6 comments:

bakakarasu said...

Editing the truth about overpopulation (or anything else) from your blog doesn't edit it from the world. ;-)

John R.P. Russell said...

What is the truth about overpopulation?

Pete Murphy said...

OK, so now you've got everyone located in Texas, each on a tiny plot of ground. Now, start thinking about how you provide them with all of the resources they need just to survive, much less to enjoy a decent standard of living. Where will the farms be? What about the factories? You'll quickly figure out that you'll have to spread them out across the world again and you'll be left with the same truth, that even at today's population, all of the resources and products that every human will ever need must come from only 5 acres of space apiece, already a nearly impossible challenge.

I've seen this ridiculous "Texas" thing repeated all over the internet.

Pete Murphy
Author, "Five Short Blasts"

John R.P. Russell said...

Mr. Murphy,

I too have heard this ridiculous Texas thing many times over many years. I first heard the claim in 1997. I was just curious as to whether the numbers checked out. They do.

I'll tell you what would happen if we piled the whole world into Texas: most people would be dead within a month.

I don't think that anyone has ever intended this numerical exercise as a practical suggestion for what is to be done with the world's population. If they have, they are indeed ridiculous.

I suppose I ought to have begun by describing my purpose in checking out these numbers; a friend stated to me that he did not believe that those numbers were accurate. They are.

That's it, folks. That's all I have pointed out. I have not made any claims about overpopulation at all.

dave said...

What an intriguing prospect for a movie.

"In a world... where everybody lives in Texas... and 6-shooters outnumber people seven to one... but only one cowboy's getting that last T-bone..."

Anonymous said...

I think we should just send put all human waste in Texas.

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