US Population Distribution

I am always amazed at how unequally populations are distributed across various regions of the world. India, as one would expect, is immensely densely populated. The US relative to India, averaged across the whole country, is very sparsely populated.

On average, the population numbers per square kilometer in India and the US are 428 and 35 respectively. India is of course very densely populated but Bangladesh takes the cake among 100+ million population countries at a staggering 1,141 people per square kilometer. The US is an order of magnitude less dense than India, and Bangladesh is about three times denser than India.

I don’t like crowded places. Therefore, I would rather live in the US than in India, and would prefer to live in India than in Bangladesh. I live in the US though I was born in India, and my ancestors came from what’s Bangladesh today. I escaped.

But that is not my primary concern here. What I want to highlight here is that in the case of the US, the averages conceal a lot (as averages usually do.) The US population is highly unevenly distributed. The bit that I find most amazing is this.

LA county has around 9.9 million people. The population density is 940 per square km. That’s 37 times the US population density mentioned above.

That’s amazing. The US has 50 states (plus Washington, DC) which together have a population of around 340 million. Therefore around 3 percent of the entire population of the US lives in that one county in one of the 50 states of the US.

Of the 50 states (plus Washington DC), only 10 states of the US have a population larger than the population of just that one county in California! Even the state of New Jersey — you may have heard of it — has fewer people than the one bloody county of the State of California!

This blows my mind. Let me repeat that: there are 40 genuine states in the US which have fewer people than that one county in California: Los Angeles County. I am a citizen of the State of Delaware which has a tenth of the population of the county of Los Angeles!

The US is large in area and the population is relatively small. I love that. The population is concentrated along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and the middle is largely empty. The empty bits are as interesting as the populated bits but they are less well-known. I have lived only on the two coasts but I think I would have preferred living in the middle.

I love America but I hate the American government with a passion that only rivals my hatred of the Indian government. What saves America is that Americans have made America so prosperous that even its government could not ruin it even though the government has been trying its best to ruin it for the last half century. Indians, unfortunately, were not able to overcome the government oppression to that same degree, and they continue to suffer.

It’s all karma, neh?

 

 

Author: Atanu Dey

Economist.

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