I read an article by some wild-eyed expert who listed all the dangers of overpopulation of the planet citing carbon footprints, people in developed countries having some ridiculous tonnage of carbon emissions over their life-times, and so on.
At a currently estimated number of people on the planet of about 6.6 billion people (some estimated 6.8 billion but without the U.S. government's census workers out in Africa, Mongolia and Peru to count all the newborn babies last night, who would know what the real number is, but I digress) I tried to calculate and put in perspective the magnitude of the problem.
As other people already did, I also used the state of Texas as an example and divided its area by 6.6 billion people to see how much acreage one person could count on getting when push comes to shove.
Numbers are fascinating, so let's play with them a little bit. Texas consists of an area of about 269,681 square miles. A square mile is exactly 27,878,400 square feet, so Texas covers 7,487,608,550,400 square feet. If we divide the area of Texas by the number of people (6.6 billion) we get 1,134 square feet for every man, woman and child on the planet. That means, a family of four would get either 4,537 square feet of living space, which is huge in terms of necessary living space as opposed to desired living space, or more than one person would live together. So, we should play with the numbers again.
If 80% of all the people on the planet live with someone else, it means that 5.28 billion people would live with one other person leaving 2.64 billion spaces in Texas vacant. If 50% of those 5.28 billion people have one other person living with them, that makes it three people per every 1,134 square feet, another 1.36 billion spaces would be vacant. And, one last time, if another 20% has one other person moving in with them to make that number a four-person family, another 1 billion spaces would be vacant. So, of the 6.6 billion spaces required in Texas, the entire world's population can be accommodated in 1.6 billion spaces of 1,134 square feet each.
The remaining 5 billion spaces represent an area of 204,121 square miles in Texas that remains unoccupied - including the entire planet. Nobody, not a single soul lives anywhere else; not in Africa, Asia, Europe, Russia, Australia - nowhere not a soul.
The vacant space in Texas would be larger than Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey twice, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Maine combined.
Who will feed all these people in one location and where will they work? Well, more spaces will be left vacant as some people would have to move to adjacent states, which will be used for food production and other industry to accommodate this mega-mega city, but we will leave them vacant in case some of them wishes to come "home" to visit family. The rest will all work from home on their computers eliminating the need for mass transportation.
If we should fill up the state of Texas and use all the other surrounding states as production facilities to keep the Texas World going, we can accommodate another 21 billion people. If we should build these spaces as high-rise complexes, and build every space up to 10 stories, we can accommodate 270 billion people before we have to think about the rest of the U.S. or Africa or Australia, or Europe. That should last us for another thousand or so years.
What about the carbon footprint when the people's presence is currently dispersed across the entire globe but in this scenario it becomes a concentrated exhaust stack of waste and pollution?
With all the people of the world concentrated in such a relatively small area, one can build a wall around Texas, slap a roof over it and scrub all the air and water of impurities and dispose of the waste in one concentrated plant.
But you started it.