Monday, October 12, 2009

Overpopulation - Not a Myth

I watched this video over at My Latest Adventure and it really got me thinking and doing some good ol' math.

I wouldn't bother you all with my argument, but, honestly, it was too much work not to share with someone!

My biggest problem (although certainly not my only) with this video is when it claims that every family in the world could have a house and a yard and fit in Texas. Let us explore this.

The population of the world is 6.79 billion people. The average household size in the US in 2007 was 2.6 people. So, assuming that 2.6 is the average household size in the whole world, there are 2.6 billion households in the world.

Texas is 268,820 square miles. This comes out to 172,044,800 acres in Texas. If we squished all of the people in the world into Texas, there would be 0.066 acres per household. This is roughly 3,000 square feet. This is not enough room for a house and a yard for 2.6 people. Unless it was a really small house and a really small yard.

Oh, and there would be no room for garages, roads, parks, stores, schools, sidewalks, or anything else.

If I were to give each household a quarter acre then only 688 million of them would fit. Sans roads, etc. If we gave each household a quarter acre, then we would need a land mass just under twice the size of Alaska.

In conclusion, if the one fact that that video states is false, then the whole message can be discredited. I just wonder how people like this can just spread blatant lies. They just assume, perhaps correctly, that people will not check their facts. Well, I check facts, fuckers.


  1. That is too much math for me Raine, lol. You sure should them! Your comment at the end made me laugh, "Well, I check facts, fuckers.".. lol.

  2. Well, I have to admit that I didn't actually do the math like you did. But I have to disagree with you that the whole message can be discredited because each house wouldn't have very much room. The premise of the video wasn't that every person in the whole world could actually live comfortably in Texas, but that all of the people would physically fit, so there is obviously much more room on the earth than we are actually using. It just got me thinking...

  3. I, too, felt that the video was a little (lot) of propaganda from the other side of the fence, but I was too lazy to actually do the math. I don't think I would discredit the entire video, but it's reminiscent of Michael Moore -- take the facts that we want, twist them around a bit, use them to make our point, and ignore everything else.

  4. Apparently, you've never shopped for a house in North Carolina. 0.066 acres is about the right size of a lot down here. Let's put enough houses in one place so that people can touch their neighbor's houses! Although, if everyone is crammed that close together, you don't need streets or anything like that. And, if you're a Raleigh city planner, you don't need schools! Pfft. What are you thinking!

    The only fault in your logic is assuming that all families are 2.6 people. That's the average American household size. In order to make your math work, you need to figure out the average size of families worldwide. Good luck finding that number.

    Also, you can claim townhouses as a house with a yard. Not the way I would choose to live, but it technically does work. I think it would also fit within your .066 acre lot (again, based on what I've shopped for here in NC).

    The REAL problem with the Texas argument is, with everyone living in Texas...who is going to grow our crops for us? Apparently, mass extinction due to starvation is part of their plan.

  5. This counter to the supposed "myth" of overpopulation - that the whole population of the world could be fit into Texas - is ridiculous. Sure, you could put them all in there, but where would the resources come from to support them all? Once you think it through, you'd soon have those people spread all over the world again.

    Rampant population growth threatens our economy and quality of life. I'm not talking about the obvious environmental and resource issues. I'm talking about the effect upon rising unemployment and poverty in America.

    I should introduce myself. I am the author of a book titled "Five Short Blasts: A New Economic Theory Exposes The Fatal Flaw in Globalization and Its Consequences for America." To make a long story short, my theory is that, as population density rises beyond some optimum level, per capita consumption of products begins to decline out of the need to conserve space. People who live in crowded conditions simply don’t have enough space to use and store many products. This declining per capita consumption, in the face of rising productivity (per capita output, which always rises), inevitably yields rising unemployment and poverty.

    This theory has huge implications for U.S. policy toward population management. Our policies that encourage high rates of population growth are rooted in the belief of economists that population growth is a good thing, fueling economic growth. Through most of human history, the interests of the common good and business (corporations) were both well-served by continuing population growth. For the common good, we needed more workers to man our factories, producing the goods needed for a high standard of living. This population growth translated into sales volume growth for corporations. Both were happy.

    But, once an optimum population density is breached, their interests diverge. It is in the best interest of the common good to stabilize the population, avoiding an erosion of our quality of life through high unemployment and poverty. However, it is still in the interest of corporations to fuel population growth because, even though per capita consumption goes into decline, total consumption still increases. We now find ourselves in the position of having corporations and economists influencing public policy in a direction that is not in the best interest of the common good.

    The U.N. ranks the U.S. with eight third world countries - India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia and China - as accounting for fully half of the world’s population growth by 2050.

    If you’re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, I invite you to visit either of my web sites at or where you can read the preface, join in my blog discussion and, of course, purchase the book if you like. (It's also available at

    Pete Murphy
    Author, "Five Short Blasts"

  6. That video is just bizarre. Thanks for putting the math to their "science".

  7. Nothing to do with the video, topic or your calculations, but many people in the world live in very high densities in high rise buildings and/or in very small dwellings (<1000sqft per family). What is standard in the US is not what everyone needs. Is a 3000sqft house really necessary? One thing I've learned from people who are used to living in small spaces in close proximity to others is that there is no room to hoard. It's then about necessities that you keep and spending time outside in the community and larger social spaces. Shows that you don't need have lots of money and live in a big house to have a rich life.


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