Friday, February 5, 2010

The Peril of Overcrowding?

"The next big population bogeyman" debunked by Vincenzina Santoro — Monaco to Mongolia: population density and prosperity. The international economist who represents the American Family Association of New York at the United Nations writes:
    Which is the most densely populated country on earth? It happens to be Monaco – that wonderful principality bordering France on the Mediterranean. Monaco is by far the most densely populated country, with a population of only 32,140 but a population density of 41,971 per square mile. Singapore is the distant second, followed by Malta.

    What is life like in Monaco? Certainly not what the population doomsayers would predict. The tiny country has one of the highest standards of living, quality of life and personal wealth anywhere on earth. Per capita income is the 20th highest in the world, according to the World Bank. Monaco’s population density is 2.5 times that of next ranking Singapore, which is also among the most prosperous countries, and life in Malta is equally pleasant.
She concludes by noting that "if all the 6.8 billion people currently on earth were to move to the United States... the U.S. population density would become the same as that of the Netherlands." My ancestral homeland has a density even lower than that of the country in which I reside, South Korea, which has plenty of land on which to farm and hike.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, can't resist posting a half-joking, half-serious comment:

(1) According to the link:

There are no arable lands or other agriculturally suited areas in the principality; virtually 100 percent of the Monaco territory is heavily urbanized. Accordingly, there is no commercial agriculture in the country. All foods are imported [...]

A USA-sized Monaco may be possible, but an Earth-sized one very probably isn't.

(2) According to Wikipedia, Vatican City has one of the world's highest crime rates per capita. This is because of her small population (compared to visitors) and because of the porous border at St. Peter's square, where some short-time temporary immigrants pick pockets of other short-time temporary immigrants (tourists), before slipping over the border back to Italy.

So, gotta be careful when relying on statistical outliers. :-)

2:24 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

You're right. Monaco, Singapore, and Malta do not prove anything; they just call into question the idea that overcrowding is always disastrous.

I like the Vatican stats. Thanks.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous m.z. said...

Urban densities have been declining in the 1st world for well over 50 years. NYC is less crowded today than it was in the 1800s.

8:08 AM  

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