Alarming News

May 27, 2004

Overcrowding Nonsense

Several times in the past, in Spot On’s comment section, there has been a debate about the overcrowding of the world. I said it was not overcrowded, that was a myth. A bunch of people, I remember commenter Paul was among them, said I was wrong and the world was very crowded. Well, Dean Esmay crushes the idea that the world is overcrowded. Even I was surprised at just how undercrowded it is.

Posted by Karol at 10:08 PM |

it is the liberal they want to perseve that small town way of life.
Seeing how adaptable people are, and the amount of space in the ocean, anarticia, the artice, china, and the moon. I would have to say that their could be a few billion less people in the world.
But if there were less people who would work at wal-mart

Posted by: cube at May 27, 2004 at 11:13 pm

If anyone is interested in a good book debunking the enviro lobby’s claims, check out “The Skeptical Enviromentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg. So-called overcrowding gets it’s own chapter.
Great site BTW! My newest must-read.

Posted by: jamrat at May 27, 2004 at 11:34 pm

Our old discussions were about the amount of untouched wilderness land, not about how many people we can fit on the planet.
I am a fan of high density population areas because they take up less space per person therefore freeing up land to remain undeveloped.
But most people want to live in a single family house with a big yard. If everyone did this then the world would be one giant street grid lined with houses. Would this be overcrowded? nope everyone would have their space but it would completly destroy natural ecosystems.
The people who complain about overcrowding are not paronied liberal environmentalist. No, it’s small town rural people worried about new houses springing up near there house and worried that there small town will become a big town.
They are big town suburban people worried that new people moving in will cause more traffic problems.
They are big city people worried that more people would make things even more uncomfortably crowded than it already is.
Many cities have already run out of space to fit an expanding population. NYC being one of them. The only place to expand is vertical(or destroy the parks). And NYC is already the most vertical city in the world. NYC has done a good job of urban planning, meaning a highly concentrated population but little traffic.
LA is having population problems and running out of space. Ocean on one side mountains on the other. The expanding population away from city center is causing horrible traffic problems over there. They don’t have the public transportion system that makes NYC metro area a great example of good urban planning.
Dean, your population per square mile stats for each city are very misleading.
I say this because the geographic size of the citys vary greatly. It would make much more sense if you re-did your stats and used greater metro area instead of official city size.
Paris would be a lot less dense if you used the same geographic scale as NYC.
Also if you just took Manhattan’s population density it would probably be the hightest in the world.

Posted by: PAUL at May 28, 2004 at 1:04 am

There’s nothing misleading about the data I presented. The fact is that the globe isn’t overcrowded.
If you want to change to discuss DIFFERENT topics–such as how to do proper urban planning, how people in small towns feel if too many more people come to live where they do, etc., that’s fine. But it’s a different subject.
By the way, wilderness areas have been expanding in North America for the entire last century. There is more land covered by forests in North America today than when Teddy Roosevelt was President. An increase in wilderness areas has coincided with increases in population.
People don’t want to believe this, but it’s quite true.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at May 28, 2004 at 1:24 am

What do you mean by “overcrowding”?
Talk in real world terms.
The worlds population can easily fit on the planet, I agree. Heck as you proved we can all fit in Alberta. What’s your point, because you are not addressing any real issues.
Dude, your stats are misleading. Downtown Paris is not more crowded than Downtown Tokyo or NYC. Paris is geographically smaller so you are only sampling the downtown and most crowded section. While in other city’s you are sampling much more area than the city center.
Jacksonville Florida is geographically a huge city but only a section of it is densely populated. Using your stats it would be classified as not crowded at all.
Hoboken NJ is small geographically and only semi crowded but using your stats it would be classified as a very crowded city.

Posted by: PAUL at May 28, 2004 at 1:54 am

There probably is more forest land now than before the industrial revolution and before mega-farms and modern timber industry. I have seen pictures of New England towns back then and it was all fields and farm land. We needed wood back then for everything, including heat.
Now almost ALL of our forest are new growth because it was all chopped down.

Posted by: PAUL at May 28, 2004 at 2:14 am

“IF” the planet is overcrowded then it means there is about 1 billion towel heads to many…

Posted by: russ at May 28, 2004 at 6:44 am


Posted by: Jake at May 28, 2004 at 9:11 am

“Most Americans live in suburbs and rural areas and believe in low-density housing.”
I also like low density housing, thus lies the problem.
When I am faced with a decision to move out of the high density city, I will have to make a choice over what i would personally prefer and what is environmentally/socially responsible.
No time now. will write more later…

Posted by: PAUL at May 28, 2004 at 11:21 am

It may be true that everyone could be squeezed into Alberta, but that does not make my part of the world any less crowded. The New York area is too crowded for my tastes. Not enough parking, too much traffic, and too much pollution. Sprawl seems to be eating up most of the countryside in this area. The coastline for hundreds of miles is almost completely developed. And the cost of real estate is at record highs.
It is true that there is plenty of room in the Sahara or Antarctica, but who would want to live there. It seems that the most desirable portions of the planet are already overcrowded. And more people and more affluence will make the problem worse. It is a quality of life issue and more people will only make things worse.

Posted by: Dan at May 28, 2004 at 12:59 pm

I don’t think the planet is overcrowded, and I’d like to make it more crowded, so I’m pro-family. If you think it’s overcrowded, well, you don’t have to reproduce. That’s about how much you can do about it. After all, if you think things are getting worse – why would somebody want to marry and have kids with you? To raise more miserable pessimists?

Posted by: Ivan Lenin at May 28, 2004 at 2:48 pm

there’s another issue that no one brought up – while the earth may be able to handle 100 times our current population, how are we going to feed them all and provide them with day to day necesseties? i love living in NYC and if i had my way, all other cities would be like this too, but its not for everyone, and as the suburbs expand, our farmland is disappearing. and as the population increases, more people need water, as do the crops. its not just an issue of the physical population density.

Posted by: dahl at May 28, 2004 at 3:50 pm

The problem is other people having kids. It is a concept call externalities. If everyone has a lot of kids, the world gets too crowded. And if everyone who wants to emigrate to the U.S. is allowed to come to America, the country will get too crowded.
Since Americans are not having enough kids to reproduce themselves, America can avoid overcrowding by simply halting immigration without any sorts of population controls on its own citizens.

Posted by: Dan at May 28, 2004 at 4:18 pm

I’ve noticed you’re a big fan of not letting people in here. Well, I am here, and I’m sorry if it bothers you. I don’t know about other immigrants, but for me it was hard enough to come here, so I don’t really see why making immigration laws stricter would help. I don’t know how many illegal immigrants are coming from Mexico. To an extent, I share Huntington’s concern about immigrants who don’t learn English and don’t integrate.
That, however, has nothing to do with the planet’s over/under population. If you think America is too crowded, you ain’t seen nothing. America’s territory is huge, and its population is a tiny portion of that of the world.
As far as NYC is concerned, you realize it is crowded because a lot of people want to live here, precisely because it’s so big and has so much to offer. In order to live here, you have to compete really hard – and that’s what makes this city great, because everybody works so hard.

Posted by: Ivan Lenin at May 28, 2004 at 6:52 pm

Like you, I don’t like seeing farmlands and wild areas disappear. However, the more civilized people are, the better care they take of their environment. The worst devastation brought to this planet by humans happened in pre-historic times, when people would burn an area to live there, and then move on to the next area, burn it, etc. Civilization means better use of resources. And civilization, in turn, flourishes only when population increases.

Posted by: Ivan Lenin at May 28, 2004 at 6:58 pm

People in the US voice their worry about overpopulation when either of two things occur;
1. When they see pictures of starving third-world babies on TV; and
2. When the parking lot at Home Depot is packed solid.

Posted by: lauraw at May 30, 2004 at 6:44 pm

So True!

Posted by: PAUL at May 30, 2004 at 10:10 pm

The best things you can do for the environment are move to a city and consume less.

Posted by: Steven at June 11, 2004 at 9:26 pm
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