# World's population could fit in Texas?

Please verify or debunk this anecdote I’ve heard tossed around, usually as an argument that overpopulation is a myth:

Supposedly, every single living person on Earth could fit in the state of Texas and the population density still would be less than that of New York City, i.e. a little crowded but still livable.

Seems hard to believe, but I don’t know where to start with the calculations for figuring this out.

According to Wikipedia, New York City has a population of around 8.1 million in an area of 321 square miles. This is a population density of about 25,000 people.

The state of Texas has an area of 268,581 square miles. If the world’s population of about 6.5 billion were all in Texas, this would be about 24,000 people per square mile.

Note, however, that this doesn’t prove that overpopulation is a myth. New York City is only livable because the rest of the planet is not similarly populated, and NYC can import food, fresh air and water, etc.

Good question, LemonPledge. Here’s an old thread where we discussed it!

From here, New York’s density as of 2004 was 10,194/km^2.

The area of Texas is 695,622 km^2, and the world population is 6,526,658,579, so 10,958/km^2, neglecting bodies of water, mountains, etc.

So it’s technically roughly true.

There are 268,601 square miles in Texas. If you took the 6.5 billion people on the earth and divide them by 268,601, you get about 24,200 people per square mile. That’s about 128 square yards per person. Unless my math is wrong.

Yabbut, it would truely suck if your 128 square yards was somewheres out in the middle of West Texas.

I have a mental image of billions of people, crowded together, shoulder-to-shoulder.

Then, some old coot with a handlebar mustache stands above the crowd. He is wearing spectacles, boots & a cowboy hat.

He takes off the cowboy hat.
He waves it above his head.

And then…

he shouts…
YEEE-HA!

The panic!
The trampling!
The horror!

Then, I go lie down for a while…

I can vouch for that.

I recently read the sprawl book by Robert Brugemann. The book explains how the entire US population could comfortably live within the geographical boundaries of Wisconsin. Interesting, I thought.

Frankly, my country is sufficiently under-populated that I think we should offer near-unlimited immigration, with only a few major caveats. Thing is, the immigrants will want to live in the existing cities (increasing the social strain), instead of getting all pioneer and building new cities in the sparsely-populated western provinces (which, if history is any guide, will lead to half of them dying off in the first few winters anyway). Oh, well…

Well I’m sure I read that the whole of the Earth’s population could stand on the Isle of Wight*. (Google search results)

However, a rough calculation shows that that is cobblers…

150 square miles = (150 x 5280[sup]2[/sup]) = 4,181,760,000 sq ft.

thus giving each person about 0.64 square feet, or a square a little over nine and a half inches on each side.

• For those unacquainted with the Isle of Wight, it’s a small (150 square mile) island off the south coast of England.

From one of those Google results, it looks as though the present population of the Earth could still fit on Zanzibar.

Zanzibar has an area of 650 square miles, or about 18.1 billion square feet.

So that gives each person about 2.8 sq ft, or a square with sides 20 inches long.

It would certainly be a tight fit! Still, I suppose a significant proportion of the Earth’s population is made up of infants, which could be carried, so it probably could be done

Is it still true that the entire population of Earth could fit inside a cube one mile on each side, breathing space not being a factor? I read that when I was a kid but I don’t know if it’s still accurate.

Oh, now that is just great! Just go right ahead and tell the aliens what size slave ship to bring with them when they come. Way to go.

Wow. So the Isle of Wight is smaller than Jacksonville, FL? That’s a place where every person would have a roomy 2 foot square prairie on which to roam.

(I read that fun fact from Marilyn vos Savant.)

But to claim that that proves there is no overpopulation problem is disingenuous. Each person needs a certain amount of space for support, as well as a certain amount of resources.

Anyone have any figures on that?

But these are square feet in two dimensions. For the sake of breathing, could we build up and give everybody and extra couple of cubic yards of air to store their books in?