I'm sure you've heard of overpopulation. And if you have heard it *debated*
at all, then you've probably heard the claim that everyone on earth could fit into
the state of Texas. As skeptical as I am about overpopulation (I'm pretty sure
it's a myth),I'm equally skeptical about the Texas claim. It's something I've
heard repeated over and over again but never substantiated.

So I decided to find out, once and for all, whether it's true or not. The first time
I ran the numbers, screwed up by converting *linear* instead of *square*
units, and wound up with the badly inaccurate figure of 2.5-ish square inches per
person. It's actually closer to *1,100 feet*.

Here are the data I used to reach this calculation:

- 268,820 mi
^{2}= area of Texas (according to Wikipedia) - 6.7 billion ≈ rough estimate of world population that I used the first time around
- 6,818,760,074 ≈ world population based on the U.S. Census Bureau's ever-increasing estimate
- 27,878,400 = number of square feet in a square mile

So far, so good. Now for the actual math. For which I will of course be using a calculator. Okay, here goes:

- Convert square miles to square feet.
*Correctly*this time.

268,820 mi^{2}x 27,878,400 mi^{2}/ft^{2}= 7,494,271,488,000 ft^{2}(Yup, that's over seven*trillion*.) - Take the total area and divide it by the number of people:

7,494,271,488,000 ft^{2}/ 6,818,760,074 people = 1099.0666054633204857942329765568 ft^{2}/person

Round off those unnecessary decimal places, and there you have it. Using readily available numbers and math so simple even I can do it, we've proven that the area of Texas is enough room for everyone on the planet to have over a thousand square feet. Now we just have to turn the entire Lonestar state into one giant suburb, and we're golden! (I kid, of course!)

And I'm not done. See, before I caught my math error, I did some more math (with the
same error) and concluded that the entire landmass of the earth was only
enough for everyone to have about 45 square feet. So I wondered, with all the space on
Earth that's used for things *other* than housing, how do we all fit? The answer:
build *up*.

I've heard versions of the Texas claim (and similar claims about various U.S.
*cities*) that are qualified with something along the lines of "if it were as
densely populated as Beijing." Figuring that a city full of high-rises could contain
more people than a flat, Texas-sized parking lot, I turned once again to Wikipedia to
find a list of the
most densely populated cities. The top spot went to Manila, in the Philippines,
with a density of 111,576 people per square mile.

Multiply that by the area of Texas, and you get 29,993,860,320 people. Almost thirty billion people could squeeze into Texas if it were as densely populated as the most densely populated city in the world.

The Population Research Institute has a site called Overpopulation is a Myth that demonstrates pretty much the same thing. In fact, part of what made me want to write this post was seeing an ad for the site that read, "All of humanity fits in Texas. That's right. Texas." I guess I could have just posted the link, but I wanted to check it for myself.