Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 15, 2006
WAR/POLITICS: A Little Demographics

I've been playing around lately with the CIA Factbook, which has, among other things, reasonably up-to-date population and demographic data for every country on earth, and I thought I'd pull together a chart that hopefully can serve as the basis for some interesting analysis. Looking to narrow the list to major/significant countries, I focused on the 53 countries of 20 million or more people. I started with the CIA's figures for existing population density (expressed in people per square kilometer - yes, the data uses the metric system) and birthrate per 1000 people, and combined those two to come up with a rate of births per square kilometer - a truer measure of the potential for future population density (although of course future population density is also affected by infant/child mortality, adult life expectancy, and net immigration rates). I present here my results and just a few observations, leaving a more extensive analysis (including the consequences of this data for debates about abortion, immigration, entitlement reform, the environment and the War on Terror) to others or to another day:

CountryPopulationArea (Sq Km)Pop/SqB/1000BirthsB/SqKm
Bangladesh147,365,352144,000102329.80439148730.50
Taiwan23,036,08735,98064012.562893338.04
Philippines89,468,677300,00029824.8922268757.42
India1,095,351,9953,287,59033322.01241086977.33
Nepal28,287,147140,80020130.988763366.22
Pakistan165,803,560803,94020629.7449309986.13
Nigeria131,859,731923,76814340.4353310895.77
Uganda28,195,754236,04011947.3513350695.66
S.Korea48,846,82398,48049610.004884684.96
Sri Lanka20,222,24065,61030815.513136474.78
Vietnam84,402,966329,56025616.8614230344.32
Japan127,463,611377,8353379.3711943343.16
N.Korea23,113,019120,54019215.543591762.98
Ghana22,409,572239,4609430.526839402.86
U.K.60,609,153244,82024810.716491242.65
Indonesia245,452,7391,919,44012820.3449925092.60
Ethiopia74,777,9811,127,1276637.9828400682.52
Kenya34,707,817582,6506039.7213785942.37
Afghanistan31,056,997647,5004846.6014472562.24
Iraq26,783,383437,0726131.988565331.96
Germany82,422,299357,0212318.256799841.90
China1,313,973,7139,596,96013713.25174101521.81
Egypt78,887,0071,001,4507922.9418096681.81
Thailand64,631,595514,00012613.878964401.74
Yemen21,456,188527,9704142.899202561.74
Malaysia24,385,858329,7507422.865574611.69
Italy58,133,509301,2301938.725069241.68
Morocco33,241,259446,5507421.987306431.64
Uzbekistan27,307,134447,4006126.367198161.61
Turkey70,413,958780,5809016.6211702801.50
Tanzania37,445,392945,0874037.7114120661.49
France60,876,136547,03011111.997299051.33
Burma47,382,633678,5007017.918486231.25
Congo62,660,5512,345,4102743.6927376391.17
Poland38,536,869329,5601179.853795881.15
Mexico107,449,5251,972,5505420.6922231311.13
Romania22,303,552237,5009410.702386481.00
Spain40,397,842504,7828010.064064020.81
Colombia43,593,0351,138,9103820.488927850.78
Iran68,688,4331,648,0004217.0011677030.71
Ukraine46,710,816603,700778.824119890.68
S.Africa44,187,6371,219,9123618.208042150.66
Sudan41,236,3782,505,8101634.5314238920.57
Venezuela25,730,435912,0502818.714814160.53
Peru28,302,6031,285,2202220.485796370.45
United States298,444,2159,631,4203114.1442200010.44
Saudi Arabia27,019,7311,960,5821429.347927590.40
Brazil188,078,2278,511,9652216.5631145750.37
Argentina39,921,8332,766,8901416.736678920.24
Algeria32,930,0912,381,7401417.145644220.24
Russia142,893,54017,075,20089.9514217910.08
Canada33,098,9329,984,670310.783568060.04
Australia20,264,0827,686,850312.142460060.03
Averages5,782,219,612103,238,46156111,640,0861.08

Thoughts:

1. For the most part, countries are grouped here by region - trends in population tend to be more regional than national.

2. The eye-popping figures for Bangladesh really stick out - there's no country on earth close to Bangladesh's overpopulation problem. Bangladesh squeezes half the population of the United States into a land mass smaller than Iowa.

3. Russia is well on its way to being uninhabited. By contrast, the fairly high rate of births per sq km for a number of the developed countries like Japan, Germany and the UK, suggesting that (a) their falling populations are a reasonable and natural correction for excessive population density and (b) they are, Steynian doomsaying to the contrary, in no danger of being depopulated. The real problem those countries have is not too few young people but too many old people, especially in light of their public pension systems. I should stress that I'm not at all questioning the reasoning of Mark Steyn and other demographic doomsayers, especially as to the consequences for Europe's and Japan's economies and welfare states and the resulting economic pressure to take on immigrants without being choosy about who. But the data suggests a little caution in extrapolating to sweeping generalizations about those countries ending up depopulated.

4. The U.S., Canada and Australia are in no danger any time soon of having the kind of crowding that Europe and Japan face. Wide open spaces should remain the norm here for some time.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:25 AM | Politics 2006 • | War 2006 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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