The increasing population of the world is a point often discussed in media and even on this site. As the population is now 7.8 billion and quickly heading for 8 billion it appears the world is overrun with people. It is clear when you look at some of the biggest cities in China, Mexico, and India that the world is overcrowded. Yet when you go to countries like New Zealand or cities like Montana you can’t help but feel there is still quite a lot of space. One researcher recently made the point that the world is in fact not overcrowded at all, just badly planned. It would actually be possible to fit the entire population of the world in Los Angeles. Read on and I will explain.
For anyone who has sat in a traffic jam in Los Angeles the idea of fitting 7.8 billion people in the city may sound crazy, and it is. This is just a thought experiment, not a migration plan. The area of Los Angeles is 1,302km squared or 14 billion square feet. If we assume that every person took up 1.75 square feet that would only come to 13.65 billion square feet. We could, therefore, fit everyone standing shoulder to shoulder in Los Angeles, with room to spare.
While this example is ridiculous it brings a bit of reality to the sometimes hard to understand 7.8 billion population figure. While that number is huge and bigger than ever before. There is no reason to think it is our limit. We could easily fit many more people on the planet if we needed or wanted to, we would just need to properly manage resources and use creative solutions to ensure all those people could be well catered for. The problem today is not overpopulation it is the balance of wealth. Today too much wealth resides in 1% of the population. If we got rid of that 1% and distributed their wealth, there would be plenty of space for everyone.