4 votes

Is Earth Really Overpopulated?

How many of us on one side or the other have actually even done the math on this equation? Well... like many things I have been led to believe I finally got around to looking this one up too.


196,939,900 miles

It's widely accepted that earth is covered by 70% water so now we subtract 70% =

59,081,970 square miles of land.

We are told by "governments" that there are now 7 billion people.

Let's divy up the land equally:

.00844 square miles


= 5 acres per being

Now how much of the land is desert?


Now we're down to 3.3 acres.

We can probably eliminate Antarctica from the equation:


2.9 acres

So there are currently 2.9 acres of "arid" land per human being on the planet. Now granted some folks will want to live together. Let's average that out at 3 per household worldwide.

Can you support a family of 3 on 8.7 acres? You can have a garden, some farm animals... and so on. Now this is taking into account nobody lives in the desert and nobody lives in the frozen tundra of Antarctica. This is all the best possible land earth has to offer.

Some will have bigger families and some people would want to live alone. I think however this might be a good average. Now this is also making the WILD assumption that the 7 billion... provided by "governments" - many of which seem to subscribe to the "overpopulation" agenda... is correct. Having traveled around however and seen so many open spaces... I'm beginning to wonder.

Just figured folks here might like to see the math since I was doing it anyway :)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

It isn't just land, its

It isn't just land, its resources. The often quotes study that less than one billion people could sustainably live the quality of life that the average American lives.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

Walter Block Says No

See the end of this lecture, before the audience questions:

"Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket."-Rothbard

Yes; the planet is overpopulated with elitist psychopaths.

They are the ones that should be culled.

I tell anyone that complains about overpopulation

that they can immediately reduce the problem by one, if they feel so strongly about it.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

Of course I agree.

The first step in solving any problem is to not contribute to it.

Try your math a little differently ...

... assume that the average houshold has 4 people (in many parts of the world, this is still a small household).

Then, assume that each household lived in a house (no condos, apartment buildings, etc.), and each house was on a quarter-acre lot (standard lot size in many cities and towns).

Then see just how little space it would take up on planet Earth.

That backs up the

well traveled theory that the entire 7 billion could live in the state of Texas. Without doing the math it's quite reasonable to off the top of your head look at the numbers and make that top-of-the-head estimate.

Having seen the math I can now see how they got those numbers. However keep in mind that the quarter acre lot needs to support the food needs of the 4 people - do-able with some ingenuity but probably not do-able by the standards of say... 1920's living in America.

We sure aren't using our land wisely.

Especially when a lot of arable land is being paved over with concrete and ashphalt.

I believe in the freedom to be what we choose to be.

I don't know who "we" are.....

Perhaps you're trying to say that markets aren't really free and therefore the pricing mechanism of the "free hand" is not operating correctly or that there are market externalities as a result of private property rights and individual rights not being properly recognized and protected by laissez faire governments.

I rebutt the presumption

that markets are free.

If that were true... I would be able to go to the store... buy some lemonade mix and cups... mix with water... put up a sign "50 cents" grab a fold up table - sit at the curb by the driveway and go into business for myself.

Then even cops would stop by on a hot day and buy some lemonade from me and not even ask me one question about my business other than "How's business friend?"

Nor are we using our fresh water wisely

If we are to maintain a large population, we should work with the natural ecosystem to allow sustainability.

This is just one example of how it can be done profitability.

This system has been in operation for 20 years will no ill effects. It uses duckweed, natural beneficial bacteria (nitrogen cycle) to clean water, produce fish and irrigate fertile land for agriculture. IMHO it beats flushing waste water into rivers and streams.



Drive through west texas and

Drive through west texas and tell me the earth is overpopulated...50 miles between towns. The entire state of New Mexico only has a million people(or did ten years ago). Overpopulated only by people intent on destroying our freedom. Its not just western states...next time you are on a plane at night look down and see the truth.

Yes, and fly over

Wyoming! And take the train across Siberia. Empty!

Yes. Overpopulated by Neocons

Otherwise it is not. There are plenty of unused and misused resources to support the current and future population.

Technological advantages

This would be great if you took into account that we use nothing but horses and shovels to work the land. I dont see the advent of Hydroponics or the use of bio-diesel in your equation. certainly industrial cannabis adds a lot of Capital to support this over population dilemma. not to mention many advancements in energy technology that can support life in these hostile areas such as Thorium energy. Now, if we were to be pushed back 100 years before hydrocarbons were discovered...eerily there would be a massive over population problem which IMO leads to the objective of Agenda 21.

His name is Edward Snowden

What is Capitalism?

I don't think

that overpopulation is a problem per-se. I saw somewhere recently that the entire world could fit in a state of Texas and it would be the density of New York city. And that would take just one state - surely there is still plenty of room.

However, the real problem is the resource consumption. World-wide debt-based economy has created a system in which there is a constant need for infinite growth within the world that has finite resources. This is getting worse as the economy of other countries grows (or in other words as more debt is being created there, that then needs to be repaid by taking out more resources and so forth). In order for economy to constantly grow and for debt to be repaid we have the system in which we are conditioned to buy new furniture every few years, not because it's not useful anymore, but because we want new. We are almost assumed to buy a new car after the old one is paid off, even though the old one still works just fine, etc.

So you could probably have a world in which there's half the people than we have now, but in which , say China and India are already at the level of consumption and waste that the US has and that world would be worse off than this one. Remember - we're only 5% of population here and we use some 20-25% of the world's energy reserves. So technically you only need a planet 5-6 times the size of the USA (which would be only about 1.5 billion people) consuming and wasting as we do and we'd be worse off than today.

There are actually 5.5 arable acres per person.

For some reason it is unpopular to have the logical viewpoint that there are too many people.

With the lifestyle of an American there is no way we survive on 5.5 acres. Food production is not the only use of land we require. What about all the building materials that your home is comprised of? The roads, energy, commercial space, parking lots, open space, landfills, gravel mines, wildlife habitat, forests, parks, utilities, and schools all take up space. And the population is increasing exponentially. So by 2030 there will be only half that space if we extrapolate the previous population growth. And even if the earth can handle it, I think it is inconvenient and frankly irresponsible. It is too bad a dialogue about is so offensive to most people.


I think this whole overpopulation argument is a subliminal brainwashing that it's OK to have wars, which naturally reduce population. I think that the debt-driven economy and the lifestyle of constantly buying new things even though the old ones are just fine is the real problem. Overpopulation is an argument to distract from the real issue.

I am fond of solitude.

So people can be really inconvenient for me. It's a personal problem. But I think it won't be so personal if it is not addressed soon. An open conversation would be nice, but not creepy old white men convening in Park Avenue private clubs conjuring up sneaky inhumane and sick ideas on how they can play God by controlling the size and scope of the human race.

Nice post.

Question everything and know what is in front of you.


I try to change people every day. Do You?

You've only calculated for

You've only calculated for HUMANS. What about all the OTHER animals of planet Earth?

"Ehhh, What's ups Doc?" B.Bunny "Scwewy Wabbit!"E. Fudd
People's Awareness Coalition: Deprogramming Sequence

Imagine a jar full of golf

Imagine a jar full of golf balls... is there room for sand?
Imagine a jar full of golf balls and sand... is there room for water?


I actually tried that

I actually tried that today...the golf balls, although they fit in the jar, they consumed nothing. The golf balls and the sand, though they fit in the jar, still they consumed nothing. Even the golf balls, the sand and still the WAS room for water...and still they consumed nothing. Well actually they did consume something, they consumed all the space. And with all the space consumed, there was no room remaining for SOMETHING that could be consumed.

"Ehhh, What's ups Doc?" B.Bunny "Scwewy Wabbit!"E. Fudd
People's Awareness Coalition: Deprogramming Sequence


in a utopian world

In a utopian world of free markets with the non aggression principle at play, there would not be 'overpopulation per square acre' as you called it.

If we really did run out of farmland (completely plausible), people would start building upwards (or underground hydro-gardens)

They already have greenhouses which are multiple stories. Imagine clusters of skyscrapers that only take up a few city blocks being the equivalent of several dozen acres of dense vegetation that can be harvested more than once a year.

Coupled with free market green/renewable energy, there would almost be no limit of how many people this earth could sustain.

The only limit I can imagine would be to how much space the natural ecosystem can survive in (as in not cementing over the whole world, extincting every species)

Alas, this is only plausible in a utopian type society where government didn't milk the productivity from the people to the point where we still have fossil fuel driven cars for the last century. You'd think technology would have advanced at least a little bit.

In this current paradigm? I see the world starving and choking on our pollution once we hit that critical 'mass'. That is if there is no real progression of the technologies I mentioned.

John Brunner (1934-1995)

Was one of the great science fiction authors ever (IMHO):


Back in the late Sixties-early Seventies he wrote a number of
novels that dealt with over-population (Stand on Zanzibar, 1968),
genetic manipulation and environmental degradation (The Sheep Look Up, 1972)
and privacy and information technology (The Shockwave Rider, 1975).

All of these anticipated (as it turns out) trends in those areas that
have been born out to a great extent in reality. Brunner got some things
wrong, but his futures of back then look a lot like the reality of now,
or where we seem to be heading.

The point being though, if you look at how people saw the futures
he was describing *then* (when he was writing), they were pretty
much universally seen as very dark and dystopian, and people tended
to think things couldn't or wouldn't be that grim.

But they *did* and now, even people who have lived long enough to
remember the world otherwise (hey, Granger) tend to think that the
state of the world now (which resembles or sometimes surpasses
Brunner's dark futures) is somehow normal or got this way naturally
and that population won't be a problem, the environment will be fine...

People look at something like Syria and just write it off as people
killing each other off for no rational reason - without even considering
that the population of Syrian is something like 25 times what
it was a hundred years ago (under 1 million in 1910 to 22-24 million now)
and maybe that could be affecting things just a bit?

Sorry folks, this *is* dystopia (with some better gadgets and tastier coffee)
and it will get worse unless we manage to make it otherwise.

Any of you drive by downvoters

have something substantive to *say*?

rpscallion's picture

In a word: Yes.

It is overpopulated. If you think every individual can survive self sufficiently off 5 or even 8.7 acres, you are gravely mistaken. Every plot of those 5 or 8.7 acres is not necessarily farmable, huntable, mineral laden, or most often does not have its own water source. Average that all out according to availability per acre and you will find it is not possible.

If governments would just do what I did... Leave!

At times, I am lonely on Halley's Comet. Population = 1. There is no government here. No fools, save one. I am scheduled to rendezvous with Earth in another 60 years or so. I hope you have ridden Earth of "over population" experts by then.

That reminds me a another place in need of your troublesome "over population."

      THE AMERICAN CLAIMANT, by Mark Twain, 1891

    This book is peppered with references to Siberia and Russian tyranny. In chapter 18 Twain's protagonist Colonel Sellers proposes to buy Siberia:

    Where is the place where there is twenty-five times more manhood, pluck, true heroism, unselfishness, devotion to high and noble ideals, adoration of liberty, wide education, and brains, per thousand of population, than any other domain in the whole world can show?"



    "It is true; it certainly is true, but I never thought of it before."

    "Nobody ever thinks of it. But it's so, just the same. In those mines and prisons are gathered together the very finest and noblest and capablest multitude of human beings that God is able to create. Now if you had that kind of a population to sell, would you offer it to a despotism? No, the despotism has no use for it; you would lose money. A despotism has no use for anything but human cattle. But suppose you want to start a republic?"

    "Yes, I see. It's just, the material for it."

    "Well, I should say so! There's Siberia with just the very finest and choicest material on the globe for a republic, and more coming -- more coming all the time, don't you see! It is being daily, weekly, monthly recruited by the most perfectly devised system that has ever been invented, perhaps. By this system the whole of the hundred millions of Russia are being constantly and patiently sifted, sifted, sifted, by myriads of trained experts, spies appointed by the Emperor personally; and whenever they catch a man, woman or child that has got any brains or education or character, they ship that person straight to Siberia. It is admirable, it is wonderful. It is so searching and so effective that it keeps the general level of Russian intellect and education down to that of the Czar"

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul